In honor of Women's History Month, our founder and President Kym Insana shares for the first time the story of what inspired her to start her business and how she hopes AlwaysOn Digital can benefit other women looking to balance both career and personal life.
I worked after high school at Interep Radio (now defunct). They were basically a rep firm for radio stations and conglomerates. I stayed there through college, then after in my first sales hybrid role, and then went to ValueClick. The thing about Interep was that while there were a lot of men at the top, they did have a few women in equal roles. They also had two things going that I loved.
First, they had a temp agency within the company to service the smaller groups within it such as CBS and Entercom. This was powerful in the sense that it showed how someone could come in and temporarily do your job---all the temps were women. The second, and more important, thing they had was a jobshare program. It was really all moms. Some of them were sales assistants, but others were in sales roles. These women worked in teams of two, working three days each, a shared day usually in the middle. They made salaries that were smaller than the men because of their hours, but they were the highest in sales and, therefore, the most efficient, and probably made so much in commission they didn't care about the salary.
These women shared train tickets, watched each other's kids and were, for the most part, flawless in their sales---all before cellphones and laptops. To me, they were just women who got it done, and I couldn't understand how, when our technology evolved, we couldn't figure that out as a replicable model in the advertising industry.
My honest inspiration came from my last company when the then president stopped the ability to work from home and we lost two great female employees who were moms as a result. I couldn't understand why we gave up loyal, committed people in place of others who saw it as a day job. It wasn't a career, it wasn't important to them to ensure that their client got the best service even if they weren't making commission on it. We had people that would work nights and weekends without complaint, but we couldn't let them be with their kids. I always thought there was a better way to have a flexible environment that allowed for productivity along with time to care for kids, parents or others.
That is what I've attempted to create with AlwaysOn Digital. All of our employees work from home, and most of them have children. They don't have to worry about a four-hour, roundtrip commute to the city in the name of "face time", panic when their kids get sick and need to be picked up from daycare or negotiate taking off spring break because their kids' schools are closed. These are all things I, and my fellow female colleagues, dealt with when I was a working professional in New York City.
The piece of advice to replicate if you are a woman looking to start your own company and want one of its pillars to be work-life balance is to find people that love their family. Find the people that cherish those moments with their kids, because they will be grateful to you for the flexibility and give you 10x the return. If you trust people and help them find what that is that makes them happy and feel fulfilled, they will be loyal. I always found that understanding what motivates someone is the best way to manage them, and it's the same with business.
Any business needs their squad, and it's the same for me. Having people cheer and help you be successful is key in staying motivated and making it work!
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