This week, our Meet a Mom interview is with NYC-based mom Amy Shoenthal. She’s a social media marketing pro who also writes a column for Forbes—including the recent spotlight on The Local Moms Network! We spoke to Amy, whose daughter is 2.5, about her career (including the biggest misconception about social media management as a job!), what she’s learned from interviewing successful entrepreneurs, her working mom strategies and more!
Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself and where you live?
My family and I live in Sunnyside, Queens. Local officials call it the small town in the big city and that’s exactly what it is. Everyone knows each other (and likes each other from what I can tell) and though it’s 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan the neighborhood is fairly quiet and full of trees, greenery and parks. My friend who lives in the suburbs recently visited and said walking down the street with me reminded her of Belle’s little village in Beauty and the Beast where everyone’s yelling “Bonjour! Bonjour!” It was the most accurate description of my neighborhood I’ve ever heard.
Can you please share what you do in social media marketing?
I work in social media marketing, at an agency called M Booth where I spend most of my time running the Google for Small Business account. Years before I ever had a child of my own, I was affectionately called “team mom,” partially because I was the oldest and most senior woman on the team, and partially because I was always making sure everyone had enough to eat throughout the day. I was the first one on the team to become a mom, but not the only parent (we have two dads.)
What is the biggest misconception of social media as a job/career?
That it’s only for Gen Z or a side project for the intern to take on.
How has it changed since you started out?
Social media didn’t exist when I started out. I graduated college with a degree in journalism and then went into public relations since it primarily involved working with journalists. I didn’t start doing social media marketing until around 2009 when brands finally started realizing that they needed to pay attention to bloggers and having a presence on Facebook. So I like to say I’ve been working in social media since it was even a thing.
In addition to M Booth, you’re also a columnist for Forbes. What do you love about telling people’s stories?
Meeting new people and hearing their stories is what that lights me up. Plus I find writing to be so cathartic. I think it’s what kept me sane, especially during those first few months of fear and uncertainty. Also, during the pandemic I wasn’t out and about meeting new people as I always had been, so I got restless. That’s when I scaled up my writing and started profiling some of the most interesting founders I could find. Marketing is all about storytelling too, just telling a brand’s story instead of a person. So I guess my favorite kind of project is storytelling.
For Forbes Women, you’ve focused on entrepreneurs and female founders. What have been some of the highlights or stories that have stayed with you, and why?
Oh there are so many. My favorites are the founders who see glaring problems in society and make it their mission to fix them. Nana Agyemang of EveryStylishGirl was sick of hearing that media and advertising agencies “just couldn’t find Black or Brown talent” so she created a fully vetted HR directory for them. Amanda Goetz, Samantha Ettus, Nicole Hartwig and others are all building companies that offer various products and services but at their core are helping women attain financial independence. And don’t forget, women-founded companies receive less than 3% of VC funding. So keeping that in mind, what these founders have created especially over the past year has been nothing short of incredible.
Are there any commonalities you’ve noticed in the successful entrepreneurs you’ve interviewed?
The ones who stay true to their original mission and never veer from it are the ones who see the most success. I hear that all the time. Being a founder and building a company is incredibly taxing. Everyone I interview says there are so many days where they just want to throw in the towel, but it’s the original mission and the reminder of why they started doing this in the first place that gets them through. We Are Rosie founder Stephanie Olson even put her daughter into her company name, because she wanted her mission—her why—built right into the name so she would have a constant reminder of why she powers through even the most chaotic days.
Love that! You’re an advisor to nonprofits including She’s the First and The Adventure Project. Why is that important to you
Similar to the women I write about in my column, people like She’s the First founders Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt, and The Adventure Project founder Becky Straw are doing the work of building a better, more inclusive society. She’s the First breaks down barriers to education around the world and The Adventure Project creates jobs in local communities that allow them to prosper. I help them in small ways, like advising on marketing and giving small monthly donations. I feel like the least I can do is contribute in small ways to those who are doing the work to make this world better for my daughter’s generation.
Who is someone you’d love to interview?
Gloria Steinem or Joni Mitchell
As a working mom, what is your biggest challenge, particularly during the pandemic?
This is so cliche, but time. We’re all pulled in so many different directions and there are so many things competing for our time each day. But time is not a renewable resource. How we spend it every single day matters and making small choices about how to spend every waking minute, every hour, is difficult. When you have a half hour in between meetings, how do you spend it? What about a precious five minutes? For me it’s writing, exercising, going downstairs to say hi to my kid (if she’s home – she has a very active social life) or literally just staring out the window because I just need a break from that day’s marathon of meetings.
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite place the Sunnyside, Queens, area to:
Go for date night: Solid State
Go out to dinner as a family: The Alcove
Get coffee: Aubergine Cafe
Grab a drink with a girlfriend/girls’ night: Claret
Get your hair done: Muze Salon (this is not in my neighborhood but I have been going here for years and will stay loyal to Alex Matiz until she retires)
Get your nails done: Nana Nails
Have fun as a family: Any of the local parks
Go shopping for yourself: Stray Vintage
Go shopping for your kids: Bliss Vintage and Handmade