Kass Lazerow: The Startup Mama

Kass Lazerow: The Startup Mama

WHO SHE IS: Kass Lazerow

LOCATION: New York City

SUCCESS STORY: Working with my husband the past 16 years, building Golf.com, Buddy Media, Lazerow Ventures

WORK SCHEDULE: Early morning, afternoon and late night!

KIDS: Myles (12), Cole (9.5) and Vivian (6.5)

SANITY VICE: Hillstone’s spinach and artichoke dip at least once per week

RECENT SMART READ: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, and Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World

BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Have baskets on staircases and in hallways so that you have a place for everything, even the junk, and always take something with you when you walk in and out of a room!

GO-TO TECH: www.teuxdeux.com

WORK-LIFE BALANCE? (scale of 1-10): 6

5 Questions for Kass

lazerows-family1. You’ve started two companies with your husband, Mike. For many people this would be very challenging! What makes it work so well for you all?

First, it’s definitely not for everyone. I have to say that. Second, I think Mike and I were able to make it work for the last 15 years because we complimented our skill sets. There was no crossover. Third, we trusted each other to get our jobs done implicitly.

2. Joanne Wilson, aka Gotham Gal, wrote a piece about you a few years ago and said you enjoy “the “aha” moments of being a mentor with younger women and teaching them what to sweat and what to let go.” What should women sweat and what should they let go?

That’s a tough one. I think one thing is to support other women, and women should concentrate by surrounding themselves with people, friends, mom-friends, associates, colleagues who make them a better version of themselves. Remove the draining people. Don’t be intimidated by smarter women.

3. When you launched Buddy Media, you had three children, and I know balance is important to you personally. How did this inform how you designed the company from an operations perspective?

Balance is tough. Not sure it entirely exists for working moms, not to mention moms who don’t work outside the home. However, when I started my companies, I wanted to make sure that I had the chance to not miss big milestones and get home early enough on Fridays!

I also wanted to create a culture where people were loyal, felt accountable to each other (not just to management) and liked coming to work more than not. (Note: In the 50+ years we will all have to work, creating a place where people want to get up in the morning to come to most of the time was important to me, and also the perspective I wanted to teach.) To create this culture, I believed and implemented the following:
  • Every voice counts and is heard. This doesn’t mean at every opportunity or whenever someone wants, but it does mean that everyone can learn from everyone else, no matter the experience level or “hierarchy” within the company. As such, this especially meant for me that Mike and I needed to be able to listen as much as possible and make time to listen — and not just during “office hours” — but at other times, not necessarily during work hours.
  • Bonding events, especially very personalized ones, help employees see each other in different lights. Holding these events allows people to see their managers or teammates or colleagues from other departments in ways unseen before. This in turn helps deconstruct obstacles and barriers between people, allows them to laugh together in a similar situation, and ultimately creates unity that encourages people to show up for each other/get their job done/not let someone else down. I created annual bonding events that people knew to look forward to as well — scavenger hunts, kickball games, holiday gift-giving exchanges, Halloween celebrations (whole company dressed up with awards). I think what was special at Buddy Media is that these events all had a community service aspect to them so that all employees felt how to give back. And all of management showed up and participated as well.

4. I love that you work really hard and then re-charge. What’s catching your attention these days?

Pilates and yoga. I am not very advanced at either, but it does force me to think of nothing but my breathing and connecting with my body. Easy for women, especially moms, to do everything for everyone else and lose the feeling of their connection with their own self/self-care.

5. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?

That it’s EASIER to go to work outside the home every day than being at home and raising, nurturing, caring for, loving, worrying about other (little monster) human beings!

5+. What advice do you live by as a working mom? (could be advice someone gave you, or could be something you learned along the way)

You don’t have to do everything yourself — yes, there are some things you must do yourself, but all of the little things… take any help you can get — from your sitter, mother-in-law, friends. There are no awards given out for being the most exhausted.

 

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