The Love, Mom team has known Katie Green, a Montreal-based PR and marketing dynamo, for a long time (since the aughts). We witnessed her move up the ranks at L’Oréal Canada where she became the Director of Communications for Maybelline New York, Ombrelle, Garnier and Essie. Then in 2015 she made the switch to an equally global and exciting brand, Aldo, as their Senior Director – Global Communications. She just went back to work 7 weeks ago after her mat leave, so we thought it was the perfect time to ask her if she feels she can still show as much love to her career since becoming a first-time mama to her daughter Bella.
“I’m nostalgic for the year that passed. It’s a little bittersweet to be back at work. I really loved my time at home and yet it’s juxtaposed with being back at work, sitting at my desk, grabbing my morning coffee and putting on my boss pants again. I’m not finding it hard to be back at work, so much as I’m letting myself look back fondly at the past year, which I think is healthy and natural.
The process of getting back to work hasn’t been that difficult for me. I took an untraditional mat leave and always kept one foot in the door. This arrangement evolved in a fluid way. I naturally kept in touch with my team and for bigger activities, they came to me for strategic guidance and I was happy to give it. Aldo let me be involved as much and as little as I wanted to; they let me set the pace. There was no set plan on what I would do. My involvement really happened organically. With open communication and transparency, I was able to determine how much or how little I would work so it didn’t affect my time off with Bella.
It was wonderful because nothing was black and white. I was able to bring the baby into the office when we had meetings with my CEO and head of brands; there were times Bella was even sleeping in my arms. Even though we are big global brand, Aldo is a family-run business and day-to-day, I can feel what a difference it makes in how we operate. Also, being able to step in and out of my role, let me feel in touch and aware at work in a satisfying way during my mat leave. I have vey senior level responsibilities, so my work isn’t something I could’ve imagined blacking out for an entire year. And because I wasn’t completely absent, it was nice to come back and have zero unread emails in my in-box. The whole process felt really good for me.
Even being at home with Bella went smoother than thought it would. I’ve always had a strong maternal instinct. Mentoring and developing team spirit is one of my strengths and joys at work. I really love my team and am always wrapped up in their success and their growth. With my own baby, I feel like this part of my personality has just been amplified. Of course, I had days when I was dying for my husband to come home and take the baby for a minute but even with its challenges, the whole experience was special. I think it was because I knew my mat leave was a finite period of time. I knew I had to absorb and enjoy it as much as possible while it was in front of me.
Motherhood always changes you and I was surprised at how present I am with my daughter. It’s not that I wasn’t present before in my life but I was on social media and my phone considerably more and my mind was always racing a million miles an hour. When I’m with her, I try to disconnect, put away my phone and put all my energy and focus on her. I was also surprised at how much she has taught me to slow down. I learned quickly that you can’t fight how long things take when you have a baby. I made up my mind early on to adopt a chill attitude and maintain a sense of calm around her whenver possible.
She was less than 2 or 3 months old when I went to Ikea for the first time after giving birth. I was by myself and I thought ‘I can do this no problem and I’m not going to let a baby slow me down’. One quarter through the crazy maze that is Ikea, she didn’t want to be in her car seat anymore. While pushing her stroller, I was holding her and then she wanted to be breastfed and then she needed to eat and then have a diaper change. I think we stopped for a break at least 5 times and I was worried about other people noticing how fussy she ways. The whole endeavour took 4 to 5 hours. It was one of those days where I needed to get out of the house and at the same time I learned I can never make it in an out of Ikea in an hour anymore. Now I plan for enough time whether we’re shopping or travelling or going to the park and most importantly, I’ve learned to let go about what other people think. I’ve learned to take it slow and enjoy it; I feel like giving up that sense of control and hurried attitude has made me better and has fostered her relaxed personality .
It’s a lesson that’s played out since coming back to work too. I’m leaving the office at a time so I can be home for 6pm, which is wild for me. Now I take it easy during my 30-minute commute home. I will call a girlfriend or listen to classical music so I’m in the right state of mind when I walk through the door. After she goes to bed is when I’ll catch up on loose ends and get ready for the next day. I love what I do and enjoy dedicating myself to my work. Now it’s about venturing into the next step of combining my career with motherhood and exploring my love for both of them. I’m lucky I have a partner who also has a busy career and together we give each other the bandwidth to enjoy work and family with zero guilt.
From the beginning we knew we would make the financial commitment to have a nanny to make our work-live groove as seamless as possible. My brother is the CEO of careguide.com which operates canadiannanny.com, so finding the right help was easy for me. There’s definitely a sense of rigour that goes into finding a nanny because this person is taking on a special and intimate role in your family. I took a multi-step approach: I narrowed my list to 3 top candidates, then I met with all of them and checked their references by speaking to their previous employers. That part of the process really gave me confidence that we were making the right decision with our final hire.
Even with all this help and support, the biggest hurdle I still have to get over is my inefficiency. Everyone says you become more efficient when you become a mom and I’m still waiting for that moment. I find myself fatigued by 3pm and it’s still a challenge for me to manage my schedule so I leave the office on time. I try not to get stressed about it though. I feel like my career has taught me how to possess this conscious sense of calm. PR is all about crisis management: Staying poised in chaos, situation analysis and finding the best way forward in the face of challenges.”
Her brand new home is still taking shape. About it’s future and finished look she says: “I really love a midcentury modern aesthetic. I’m drawn to clean lines, form as function and playing with textiles. My dream home décor would emulate The Parker in Palm Springs designed by Jonathan Adler.”
Naturally, the expert who’s in the business of style (and high heels) keeps her healthy collection of shoes in tip top shape.
Formerly in beauty PR for various L’Oréal brands, Katie designed her bathroom to be a sanctuary with a maximum Zen impact. “I wanted something serene to hang above the bathtub and discovered this Picasso print of Face & Dove. It just felt right as soon as I saw it. I was looking for a sketch or something modern in black and white to keep the colours neutral but the dove symbolizing peace seemed fitting for this space.”
“I have recently fallen in love with Tatcha skincare and I’m finishing up a jar of their Water Cream. It has an incredible texture. I am also a die hard fan of Skinceuticals and La Roche Posay. Since having Bella, I really focus on a simple routine that pays attention to my skin [reducing signs of aging, dehydration and hyper-pigmentation). My one must cosmetic hero is IT Cosmetics CC cream to help hide my fatigue but I love that it also protects with SPF50.”