Holly Pavlika is the President of MOMentum, a marketing consultant company that helps brands respond more accurately to how mothers would like to see themselves represented in the media.
I recently stopped by MOMeuntum to talk about what Holly does, as well as to be interviewed about my book Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives.
Holly is a highly likable and sincere woman, but also a serious force of nature: quiet and understated, but decisive and doing very bold things with her company. It wasn’t until I was on my way out the door, an hour later, that she finally seemed willing to open up about her own motherhood with me.
According to MOMentum, moms make about 85% of all purchasing decisions, but only 3% of creative directors nationwide are women. Holly, a mother of two, began to notice a major disconnect between how women, particularly moms, were being marketed to, and what they really liked and wanted.
What began as a modest blog morphed into an entire division of Big Fuel, a major NYC social media and branded content agency. The subject of Holly having unique insights into the true desires of women and mothers had come up before at past jobs, but Big Fuel was the first to actually offer her total support in launching a separate division devoted to the idea.
Holly certainly hasn’t always found herself and her visions supported as a woman in the work place. In fact a large amount of energy over the past 30 years in the field has been spent navigating anything from thinly veiled sexist insults to overt sexual proposals from coworkers and higher ups. “Maybe it’s being a redhead,” she jokes. “We always get portrayed as prostitutes and vixens in the movies.”
She was told by one boss that she was “pretty good for a girl,” while another tried to teach her the importance of “acting like a man.” To this day, Holly draws clear lines around herself in terms of PDA with co-workers. “Everyone here knows I’m not the kind to hug.”
So controversy in the work arena isn’t new to Holly. And she has definitely had to use the coping skills she acquired throughout her career now as a “mom blogger.”
Holly notes that because she runs a blog for moms (many of her followers champion Holly as a super hero fighting for their interests), those who wish to diminish her influence use the term “mom blogger” in a derogatory way.
“Using the term ‘mom bloggers’ can be a way to belittle women like me, rather than referring to us as what we are – social media influencers who wield a tremendous amount of power.”
During Fashion Week 2012, MOMentum created something revolutionary; A fashion show at Lincoln Center in which “real moms” of all ages and sizes proudly walked the runway alongside 16 year old size zero models.
Additionally, MOMentum has been involved with Christy Turlington’s organization “Every Mother Counts” and Holly is a United Nations “Shot@Life Champion”. She is traveling in Tanzania with the UN this week and meeting with UNICEF to learn more about issues facing mothers there. She will be blogging and tweeting about the experience as she goes, so tune in to http://momentum.bigfuel.com/ .