One COO/CFO says to listen to what other working moms are doing, but at the end of the day, do what works for you.
By Ronette Kite (COO & CFO, Adly Inc)
Anything is possible. I always knew that I wanted to be an accountant, get my CPA, land a job at a Big 4 Firm, and work my way up to partner. I would have told you that you were crazy if you told me I would become the COO/CFO of Adly Inc., the leading social advertising technology platform working with celebrities to connect brands with consumers.
I have been at Adly for three years, over which time we have grown the company from three to twelve employees and raised almost $3 million in funding. Building and maintaining relationships with over 2,000 celebrities is one of my responsibilities. However, I also run day-to-day operations including sales, non-profit areas, finance and human resources, in addition to working closely with the executive team to further refine the company’s strategy.
Creating a work environment where people understand their roles and how they contribute is important to me. I strive to be open and create a place where employees enjoy coming to work everyday. Over the years, I have learned that I love working at start-up and emerging growth technology companies. It is inspiring and motivating to build a team, a company, and a product or service that people are genuinely passionate about.
When I am not spending time on my 405 commute to the office or at work, I am a mommy – which is by far the hardest job I have ever had. I have a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter (who is going on 14!). Being a mom can be physically and mentally exhausting; continually balancing career and personal life is always a challenge. Knowing your limitations, however, is the key.
I do not try to be all things to all people. I am a professional career mother who does her best to be involved in her children’s school, to attend little league games, and to connect with other parents in our community. It’s about making sacrifices; not being able to attend networking events on some nights and school events on others. I know that most nights my kids will not have a homemade meal for dinner, but I am ok with that. I don’t really enjoy cooking – so I am really ok with that.
Finding a female mentor was difficult throughout my career. I had many male mentors whom I admired, but no female mentors that provided an example of how to juggle it all. I became quite comfortable being the highest level woman in every company that I worked – because that’s really all I knew. I knew that I had a unique voice, that I was bringing something different to the table and wasn’t afraid to speak up. This allowed me to stand out amongst my peers.
The advice that I would give myself 17 years ago, as I stepped out of college, would be to work hard, no matter what – eventually, the right person will notice. Know that anything is possible. Keep it simple. And, listen to all the stories of all the wonderful women out there that are making a “working mom” possible. But at the end of the day - do what works for you.
Do you know your limitations?
About the guest blogger: Ronette Kite (@ronettekite) is the COO/CFO of Adly Inc who manages Talent & Non-Profit Relations, Sales Operations, Finance & Accounting and HR & Administration of the Company. Previous to Adly, she was the VP of Finance and Controller at PriceGrabber.com, an on-line shopping comparison company, joining just prior to the company getting acquired by Experian and played a key role in the integration of the finance and accounting operations.