Name: Patty McDonough Kennedy
Business: Kennedy Spencer Marketing Communication
Location: New York, New York, U.S.
Reason for starting: Kennedy Spencer is a marketing consultancy and its subsidiary, Human Works, is a communication training company. I started the company in 2005 with one client, a beat-up laptop and about $400 in my pocket. Today, we have offices in New York and Vienna, Austria, and service clients across the world. In 2014, I started writing a half humorous, half-serious blog, Earning Your Laugh Lines , to empower and inspire women — around the subjects parenting, business & investing. Today, the blog has more than 100,000 readers in 50 countries.
Related: Read about another mompreneur here.
How do you define success? Success is finding your place, voice and purpose in the world. To do this, you must feel engaged, you must like yourself, what you do, and how you do it. I think I stole that last line from Maya Angelou. I wish I had come up with it! Because, as always, she’s beautifully right.
Biggest Success: I have special circumstances where I spend 80% of my time in Vienna, Austria and 20% of my time in New York, and maintain offices in both countries. Certainly starting a business — and keeping that business going — given my circumstances and especially as the mother of two small children can be challenging. It doesn’t work well on all days, but I’m proud — and my family is proud of me — of my ability to make it work. But, I’m most proud that I’ve created a business and life that works together to make me happy, my family happy, and helps empower other women to find their paths as well.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My biggest challenge was keeping the business afloat when we moved to Vienna 4 years ago, when at the time I had a 3-month-old and 4-year-old child. It was an incredibly joyful, full, tiring, chaotic period of my life complete with minute-by-minute challenges. I’d love to give you some wonderful solution or strategy here, but the truth is: I just kept moving forward. One step, one day at a time. Like parenting, I just stayed the course.
Who is your most important role model? I have a lot of role models: mentors, colleagues, even friends who have inspired me to start a business and/or keep it going when the going got tough. My father, for instance, started his own law firm when I was small, so I grew up with an entrepreneur. He and my mother both worked very hard — and were still able to spend a lot of time with their six kids — so hard work and integrating family and business all seemed very normal to me. They were true inspirations.
However, I would have to say, the greatest influences on my business are my husband and two sons. The support my husband provides — emotional and practical — makes it possible to do what I do. He always understood that being an entrepreneur is who I am and has never given up on me, even when I’m discouraged. My sons are a huge influence because they are what drive me — to be a better person, better mom, better business owner. It is also really comical sometimes how involved they are with my business. The other day my 8-year old son said to me, “Mom, I saw this cool website and I think you should do this for one of your clients!” He was right.
Edited by The Story Exchange