Ketner Group Remote Work Day in the life SAE

A Day in the Life of a Senior Account Executive: Working Remotely

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been five years since I joined Ketner Group! I’ve grown a lot during my time here — from a new graduate entering the world of PR to a senior account executive embracing the fun and exciting challenges the industry brings.

A lot has changed in my personal life as well. Due to family circumstances, my husband and I recently decided it was time for us to move from Austin back to the suburbs of Dallas. Ketner Group was incredibly understanding and flexible, allowing me to continue working remotely.

So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a senior account executive (SAE) at Ketner Group, here is a peek into the day in my life — remote work edition!

Emails, meetings and a smoothie break

Today is Monday, so I started off the week by catching up on emails and newsletters. I also put together weekly tasks and assignments for the client accounts I’ve started project managing. Ketner Group is great about providing these types of opportunities for us to step up and take on new responsibilities.

Ketner Group Day in the Life SAE

As my other teammates have pointed out, there’s not a dull day in PR. Every day, we are working on different pitches, content and campaigns.

This week, my calendar is filled with client update meetings, webinars to attend, and a client’s quarterly marketing sync. After getting organized for the week, I worked on scheduling a media briefing, reviewing blogs and bylines and following up on pitches.

It’s been a busy day, so in the afternoon, I decided to get a little pick-me-up. Ketner Group offers a snack budget each month. Today, I used the budget to pick up a smoothie from a Tropical Smoothie Café that just opened near my house — just what I needed as I write this blog!

Welcome to my home office

Where do I spend my day working? My husband and I put together a home office where I spend the majority of my time.

We painted the room a dark and moody color to create a space that feels separate from the rest of the house. It’s also one of the rooms that get the most natural light in the house, so my desk is surrounded with plants!

Ketner Group Day in the Life Remote Work

Since I share the office with my husband, we’ve also put together a “conference room” where I can go and take meetings throughout the day. Today, the weather was particularly nice, so I decided to go work outside on my patio for a bit. It’s always nice to have a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air.

Tips on working remotely

Now that I work remotely, here are a few lessons I’ve learned that are helpful to stay connected:

  1. Zoom meeting are still important – We may all have Zoom fatigue, but really, Zoom is still a powerful tool to help me collaborate and stay connected with my team!
  2. Slack is key to connecting – Our team stays active on Slack. Not only do we discuss projects on there, but we also have fun sharing funny TikTok trends.
  3. In-person events are valuable – Even though I live remotely, I still love getting to see the Austin office every so often for events, client meetings, etc. We also had a Ketner Group get-together in Austin recently so that the whole team could bond!
Ketner Group Day in the Life Zoom

If you’re looking for a place to grow professionally while living your life your way, then visit our career page for opportunities to join our team! We’d love to meet you!

Ketner Group Domain ATX

Deep in the Heart of Retail: Ketner Group’s New Home

Moving into a new home is a lot of work—boxes to pack, movers to coordinate, juggling a seemingly endless array of details. However, it’s also a cause for celebration, full of excitement and new possibilities.

That’s certainly the case at Ketner Group these days. We moved to a new office in Austin last month, and it already feels like home. Our Austin team feels we’re right where we belong, in the middle of one of the best retail developments in the country.

Ketner Group’s Austin office is located in the Domain, the landmark mixed-use retail development that has helped make Austin one of the most desirable retail markets in the country.

With Ketner Group’s focus on retail technology PR for 20+ years, it’s the ideal location. Our clients have been on the forefront of retail tech trends for over two decades, and many of the most innovative brands in the business are right outside our door.

Austin’s Domain is retail at its best

Remember how the so-called retail apocalypse was supposed to put an end to physical retail? The Domain is a prime example of why that prediction never came true. Experiential or destination retail has been all the rage in the industry the past few years, and the Domain is a case study of experiential retail at its best. People actually love to work shop, dine and live here.

Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers:

  • 38,000 residents, making the Domain its own mini-city.
  • Well over 2 million square feet of office space, with major employers such as Meta, Amazon, Indeed,  Vrbo and hundreds of smaller companies.
  • Over 50 restaurants and nearly 200 luxury and exclusive retail stores and brands, with more on the way.

Austin is on every list of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, and retailers are paying attention. Last month Gucci opened a store at the Domain, joining other top retail brands including Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, a flagship Restoration Hardware, and many more­—running the gamut from A (Apple) to Z (Zara).

As a local real estate analyst said, “if you’re a retailer I don’t know of a place you’d rather be than in Austin.”

An ever-changing retail innovation lab

For Ketner Group’s Austin team, the Domain is a retail innovation lab that showcases the best in  modern retail, and it’s right outside our door. As an agency that lives and breathes retail technology PR, it’s the ideal location.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon I visited the Herman Miller store at the Domain and was immediately greeted by an employee who was busily sketching store layouts and designs. She’s a staff architect at Herman Miller and is using as the store as inspiration to study and imagine new store concepts.

Herman Miller calls its Domain Store an “experiential retail concept,” one of only a handful of company branded stores. The staff was friendly, accommodating and excited to work at the Domain. One associate I talked to has lived at the Domain for several years and is glad to be able to walk to work.

With thousands of high-tech office workers within walking distance, it’s a smart location for the iconic office furnishings designer and retailer.

Herman Miller Domain ATX

Directly across the street is the first Texas location of The RealReal, the popular online marketplace for authenticated, resale luxury goods.

The RealReal exemplifies one of the retail trends that are most prominent at the Domain—online brands that have opened physical stores. It’s a colorful, well merchandised boutique that invites shoppers to stick around and browse.

Harmonized retail with an Austin vibe

The best retailers today are moving beyond omnichannel to what our friend Steve Dennis calls “harmonized retail,” putting the customer at the center of the experience regardless of where and how they shop.

The Domain is a successful case study in harmonized retail—a totally immersive experience where you can work, live, shop and dine.

No wonder it’s on the radar screen for the best retailers in the business. Even as it’s grown, though, the Domain has managed to retain an “Austin vibe,” even offering its own version of Austin’s famed Sixth Street entertainment district.

Our team loves the opportunity to explore great restaurants and retailers that are just a short walk from our office. Like many PR agencies and professional services firms, we’ve adopted a hybrid office model that gives everyone an opportunity to work from home, a coffee shop, the office—whatever works best for them.

However, there’s an extra incentive to show up at the office now. Ketner Group’s Austin team is thrilled to be in our new home at the Domain. Reach out to schedule a time to come see us and we’ll show you around!

Stacee Collins Day in the Life KG Blog Image

A Day in the Life of an Account Executive (aka PR Power Ranger)

A day in the life of a PR professional is, by nature, unpredictable. And that’s what I love most about being an account executive (AE) at Ketner Group.

Every day is a new day. The news cycle is fluid and every client need is different. So while it’s tough to pinpoint a concrete 9-5 experience, I’ll dive into some of the best parts of my day as a PR Power Ranger – my official unofficial title. 

A typical day as an AE

I start my day by checking my inbox, listening to NPR News Now and catching up on the latest trends via newsletters from Retail Dive and Retail Brew.

Since I lead media relations for several accounts, it’s important to keep a pulse on the retail space and weave client perspectives into the mix. For example, I might notice fashion reporters are focusing on red carpet looks at the Oscars, and then deliver a tailored pitch to Women’s Wear Daily leveraging relevant insights from a fashion market intelligence client. 

Depending on the day of the week, I attend a few client check-in Zoom calls to align on active projects. This could include brainstorming the media strategy for an upcoming product launch, finalizing an award submission in real time or solidifying next steps for onsite conference interviews with press. 

Stacee Collins Day in the Life AAE

Regardless of the internal or external project that I’m working on, one thing stays the same. We’re in the business of relationships, and that’s one of the most rewarding parts of PR.

Whether I’m bringing a reporter helpful sources for stories or catching up with a client about the latest Wordle, nurturing relationships is key in my day-to-day life as an account executive.

Developing great friendships in Austin

Speaking of relationships, one of my favorite parts about my job is that its allowed me to develop great friendships with the Austin-based team. Transitioning from a fully remote job to Ketner Group’s hybrid environment has been so fulfilling.

When I’m not working from home alongside my favorite furry co-worker Odie, it’s nice to make the short 15-minute commute to our WeWork space and experience real human interaction. Everyone else has full length conversations with their pets… right? 

WeWork Ketner Group Day in the Life

Our WeWork building is located near The Domain, a shopping hub with all the best local lunch spots. My sources say that every now and then, after the Austin team collaborates to drive client success at the office, you can most definitely find them eating way too many pretzels at Culinary Dropout. 

Whether we’re putting our heads together to craft a new business proposal or debating whether there are more doors or wheels in the world via our #WaterCooler Slack channel, the Ketner Group team is full of collaborative, fun and curious minds that I’m so thrilled to work with every day.

Three valuable lessons

My time as an account executive at Ketner Group has taught me three very valuable lessons:

  1. Don’t ask questions, just eat the bell pepper – At my first official Ketner Group team dinner, I learned of a very odd company-wide tradition, in which new employees have to take a bite of a bell pepper. So that’s why they say, keep Austin weird!
  2. Collaboration is king – Every account structure is designed with collaboration at the core. As an account executive, I can always depend on my directors for strategic guidance and assistant account executives (like my lovely friend Jenny) for support. 
  3. PR is a highway – Much like the Rascal Flatts hit from critically-acclaimed blockbuster film “Cars,” something new and exciting always lies ahead in the world of PR. I knew I loved the industry before, but my time at KG has made me love it even more.
Ketner Group Team Day in the Life

Kachow,

Stacee Collins
PR Power Ranger
Ketner Group Communications

P.S. Interested in working with us? We always post our open positions on our website. Check them out!

Andre Lenartowicz KG Blog Image

Meet Our New Content Specialist: Andre Lenartowicz

Hello!

I’m Andre Lenartowicz and I’m thrilled to join Ketner Group (i.e.: Team Awesome) as a content specialist. One thing I get asked a lot is why I chose to write for a living. It’s a bit of a long story so I think the best way to introduce myself is to explain that journey.

There’s beauty everywhere

Words are more than character sequences to me. I always try to find the most impactful way to say something. A client’s brief or style guide may not always lend itself to allowing that. But when possible, I thoroughly enjoy either finding beauty in words or, at the very least, having fun with them. For example, one of my all-time favorite headlines is: “Big rig carrying fruit crashes on 210 Freeway, creates jam.”

One thing I love doing in my spare time is traveling. Everywhere I go, I can always find something so beautiful or different or unique that I realize there’s so much to see and experience in the world. In some ways I experience something similar when I read or write something that’s relatable on some level – it’s like finding beauty in words.

Andre Lenartowcz KG Content Specialist

From journalism to PR (via a dentist office)

It always seemed like journalism was in the cards for me: childhood memories include recording myself reading the newspaper onto my My First Sony and feeling excited about getting the newspaper from the front door every morning. After being told by teachers that I was a good writer I figured I should do something with that skill.

However, journalism never felt right. It wasn’t until a chance encounter with an issue of PR Week – a trade publication about the PR and communications business – at a dentist’s office that it seemed like I found something else to do with that skill. I don’t know why an issue of PRWeek was at a dentist’s office, but perhaps it was simply the the universe nudging me onto this career path.

Andre Lenartowicz KG Public Relations

Fútbol is life!

When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading about, playing and watching soccer. This ranges from watching my favorite player, my daughter, to any match on TV. As mentioned, I love traveling – whether it’s alone or with my favorite partner-in-crime, my partner Jess. We recently got a dog named Harrison who occasionally photo bombs video calls. I’m also always on the hunt for a good espresso, craft beers and exotic potato chip flavors.

Another thing I’ve been asked by friends and family is, why the switch? This one’s simpler to answer: during the interview process, I asked people why they thought so many employees stay at the agency for so long. The answer was universally the same: Jeff and Catherine cultivate a workplace culture laser-focused on work-life balance. After hearing this, I knew if given the chance I had to join.

KG Day in the Life AAE blog

A Day in the Life of an AAE: From Bagels to Broadway

When you ask a PR professional about what they do on a daily basis you almost always get the same frustrating answer, “no two days are ever the same in PR!” At least, that’s what I always heard when I was in college and trying to get a sense of my future in the industry. And if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably looking for a better answer than that.

I plan to do my best to describe an actual day, start to finish, that I’ve had as an assistant account executive (or AAE for short) at Ketner Group Communications – even though it is true… no two days are the same in PR.

A day in the life at the NYC office

So a little bit about me – I joined Ketner Group as an intern in the spring of 2020 and upon my graduation from Marist College in May of 2021 I became a full-time AAE! (Check out my previous blog entries to learn more about what I do outside of the 9:00-5:00.)

aae day in the life ketner group office

I work in Ketner Group’s NYC office which sits right across from Lincoln Center and is even closer to the set of Live with Kelly and Ryan on ABC. I work from the office about two times a week and the other days I work from my apartment or a local coffee shop.

On this cold winter Monday, I started my day as every New Yorker should, with a bagel (paid for by KG’s monthly snack budget – we all get to spend $15 a month on snacks!).

Starting the workday

One of my favorite things about working for Ketner Group is that my role changes on every client account.

For example, sometimes I am primarily in charge of media relations while other times I lead content development, and other times I support my more senior team members with miscellaneous tasks as they come up. My account managers send weekly tasks lists on Mondays and are always one email or Slack message away for any questions I may have.

aae day in the life ketner group account

After checking my email and reading up on retail tech news, which I do every day, I began my first item on my to-do list: sending out a pitch. I used Cision to help build the media list with relevant editorial contacts at both trade and top-tier publications.

Then I switched hats, so to speak, and drafted a bylined article for another client based on an e-book they created. Bylines are my favorite projects. I really love working with our client thought leaders and compiling their ideas into a compelling story.

My after lunch to-do’s

After lunch, the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee met to discuss our plans for a company survey. Our committee works with The Courage Collective to make sure we are creating a supportive space for everyone and are living up to our company values. The committee is open to anyone so everyone has the chance to have their voices heard.

After the DEI meeting, I attended a client PR Update call. These calls occur regularly with each client as a way to catch up on ongoing tasks and strategy. My colleagues and I met with our client on Zoom and discussed current and future PR initiatives. After the call, our internal Ketner Group team met to make sure everyone knew their roles and responsibilities for the week.

Finally, I signed off at the end of the day and went to see a Broadway show (thanks to the Broadway lottery!).

What two years at Ketner Group taught me

While no two days are the same, there are certainly a few overarching takeaways from my time at Ketner Group. These include:

  1. The title change from ‘intern’ to ‘AAE’ is a big deal – Since I joined full time, my responsibilities have grown tremendously. But, my previous intern experience (both at KG and elsewhere) set me up for success.
  2. My team is always there to support me – Whether it’s on a project or with a personal matter, I can always count on my KG team to help.
  3. Reading the news is essential – I listen to a news podcast every morning and spend about twenty minutes each day perusing the industry newsletters in my inbox. This helps me stay up to date on the happenings in retail tech!
  4. Fun is just as important as work – At Ketner Group, we know how to have fun. We go to lunches and happy hours, take part in virtual celebrations like Halloween pumpkin painting and hold some great pop culture conversations in our #watercooler channel in Slack.
aae day in the life ketner group team

I couldn’t imagine a better place to have started my full-time career in PR and I would recommend Ketner Group to anyone.

If you’re interested in an AAE role, check out our hiring page or reach out to us today. I hope to work with you one day!

Get to Know Elizabeth Wiltshire: The Spring 2022 NYC Intern

Hello everyone! My name is Elizabeth Wiltshire and I’m a senior media studies student at Fordham University in New York City.

I was born in New Jersey but spent most of my time growing up in a suburb about 30 minutes south of Boston. When I’m not on my campus in the Bronx, I split my time between New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

A little about me

Ever since I started high school, I knew I wanted to go to college in a big city. I had always been drawn to the hecticness and opportunity of New York and made it my mission to go to a university here.

Although my college experience hasn’t been nearly what I expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities and adventures that I’ve had during my time in NYC.

When I’m not in class or working, one of my favorite things to do is to go to concerts! I’ve done concert photography and journalism since 2017 and it’s one of my biggest passions as it combines my love for music and photography. I’ve photographed over 100 shows, but some of my most memorable ones were Kiss, Green Day, and Billie Eilish.

Aside from photography, I love to read. My most recent book that I’ve finished is Dave Grohl’s “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.”

elizabeth wiltshire ketner group intern photography (1)

My previous experience

Prior to interning at Ketner Group, I mainly worked in the entertainment side of media and public relations.

I’ve interned at two music management agencies, worked with a renowned live music and portrait photographer, and spent a year at a larger PR agency working in the sports and entertainment sector before moving to the tech and finance team.

That was my first experience working in anything other than entertainment, and while it was a challenge to pivot to a completely different industry, I loved it.

Why I choose Ketner Group

Because of my experience at a previous PR agency, I was incredibly interested in working at Ketner Group. I was a bit nervous due to not having much experience in technology PR, let alone retail tech. But after interviewing for the intern position and learning more about both retail tech PR and the company, I knew that Ketner Group was the place to be for me!

elizabeth wiltshire intern

I’ve only been here for three weeks and already feel that I have learned so much about the industry and how conducting public relations for retail technology companies differs from other industries.

With all of that being said, I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the wonderful team at Ketner Group! I know that being surrounded by such a strong, knowledgeable group of people that I’m bound to challenge myself and grow as a PR professional.

I am very excited to be here and can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship holds for me!

ketner group momentum 2021

Ketner Group Communications Highlights 20% Revenue Growth in 2021, Emphasizes Focus on Retail Technology

AUSTIN and NEW YORK CITY – Feb. 3, 2022 – Ketner Group Communications, the leading public relations agency for innovative retail technology companies, today announced significant growth in 2021, culminating in 20% year-over-year revenue growth for the agency, the creation of a net-new leadership role and multiple industry recognitions throughout 2021. Ketner Group’s momentum this past year is a result of the agency’s continued specialization in retail technology, which resulted in the onboarding of nine new clients in the retail technology ecosystem. 

Specializing in retail technology has allowed Ketner Group to play a continued role in retail’s fast-paced evolution by representing a wide range of innovative clients, from omnichannel commerce to online marketplaces, hospitality, adtech and supply chain solutions. Moving into 2022, Ketner Group is expanding its portfolio of clients, offering its depth and breadth of experience and leadership in retail technology PR and adding additional services including lead generation to its current PR and content development offerings. 

“The retail industry came roaring back in 2021, setting a YOY record in holiday spending,” said Jeff Ketner, CEO, Ketner Group Communications. “Ketner Group experienced a very strong year as well, as we supported our retail technology clients. Retail innovation has accelerated rapidly in the wake of COVID-19, creating significant opportunities for retail tech companies to tell their stories. Ketner Group is the only U.S. PR agency focused exclusively on retail tech, and we have the domain expertise and team to help our clients succeed.”

Adrienne Newcomb Is Promoted to VP of Operations

Following its notable momentum as an agency in 2021, Ketner has created a new executive position, vice president of operations, promoting  Adrienne Newcomb to fulfill this position. She has been with Ketner Group since 2015, serving as account manager and supervisor, and most recently as director of New York. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing and supporting all aspects of Ketner Group operations and HR, continuing to manage the agency’s New York City office, and supporting new business and market development, marketing and more. Additionally, Newcomb will continue to contribute to the overall strategic direction of the agency.

“As a part of our senior leadership team, Adrienne has done an amazing job strengthening our operating and HR procedures as well as providing invaluable support for our new business and marketing teams,” said Catherine Seeds, president, Ketner Group. “She is a strong and results-oriented leader, and as VP of operations, will help drive further process improvement and increased revenue for the agency. This is an exciting time for Ketner Group with the expansion of our executive team, our focus on retail tech, and a rebrand we plan to launch in Q4.”

Ketner Group Receives Industry Recognition 

In 2021, Ketner Group was ranked as one of Ragan’s Top Places to Work: Class of 2021, which recognizes organizations with great company cultures that are true to their mission and vision and provide a top working environment for each of its employees. As well, the agency was named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list, which recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the state of Texas and is an extension of the Inc. 5000 nationals list. These accolades followed the agency’s celebration of its 30th anniversary at the beginning of 2021. 

Most recently, Ketner Group’s director of media relations, Mariana Fischbach, was recognized in Qwoted 100’s Best of the Best in Public Relations, a live quarterly ranking of PR professionals with the best stories to tell and the most compelling way of telling them.

To learn more about Ketner Group’s services and career opportunities, visit ketnergroup.com.

About Ketner Group Communications

For more than 20 years, Ketner Group has helped retail technology companies build brand, drive demand and grow shareholder value through strategic PR programs. We’re widely recognized as one of the leading PR agencies in retail technology. With a range of clients, from omni-channel commerce to AdTech, CPG and supply chain solution providers, our team knows and understands retail technology like no other PR agency. Core services include media and analyst relations, content development, PR messaging and communications strategy, demand generation, social media management and more. Ketner Group has offices in Austin, Nashville and New York City, working with clients located in North America, UK and Europe. For more information, please visit www.ketnergroup.com 

Media Contact:

Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations
Ketner Group Communications
[email protected] 

jenna gibson - aae - ketner group

Meet Jenna Gibson, Our New Assistant Account Executive

Hi! My name is Jenna Gibson, and I’m so excited to be joining the Ketner Group team as an assistant account executive.

Growing up, I knew that no matter what job I would have, I wanted to do at least one thing: write. When I was little, I wanted to be an author or a journalist, but through experience, I’ve found my niche in PR. 

From journalism to PR: I love to write

In 2019, I graduated from Millsaps College, where I majored in Communication Studies and English Literature. I started writing for the college newspaper and freelancing locally, but I quickly realized that marketing and PR piqued my interest in journalism.

After graduating, I started working as a copywriter at Creative Distillery, a boutique advertising agency in Jackson, Mississippi. My past experience has primarily centered on content development and social media for nonprofits and retail businesses.

From my experience with journalism to my current work in PR, I have loved getting the chance to tell a client’s story, and I’m so happy to put my skills to good use at Ketner Group, diving head first into the retail technology industry. 

From Mississippi to Austin: exploring a new city

I moved to Austin from Mississippi in June 2021, and it’s been so fun getting to explore the city.

Over the last few months, I’ve enjoyed spending time at different parks, visiting the library, taking kickboxing classes, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops.

When I’m not out and about, I’m spending time with my chihuahua Raymond, reading celebrity memoirs and contemporary fiction, or watching late-night sitcoms on TV.

Odie-and-Stacee

Get To Know Our New Account Executive: Stacee Collins

Howdy, I’m Stacee Collins!

I’m thrilled to be joining the Ketner Group team as the newest account executive. I come from an agency background, and am so excited to dive deeper into the world of retail tech. But when I was a freshman in college, I had no idea PR would become my career path. 

At Texas State University, I pursued a degree in journalism — reporting, copy editing and running social for the university’s newspaper. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I was introduced to PR, and when I took my first intro class, I knew I was passionate about it. So, I transferred to The University of Texas at Austin as a junior and began building up my experience in the field.

Throughout my internships, I learned more about PR for sustainable energy, food and beverage and advertising technology. I ultimately landed a full-time role after graduation at Blast PR, where I spent the last three years driving success for adtech clients through media relations, speaking and awards and content management. 

Making client stories come to life

What I learned throughout all of those experiences is that I absolutely love making client stories come to life.

Whether it’s sifting through mounds of data to find the most compelling pieces of the puzzle, crafting engaging award nominations to establish clients as thought leaders or simply cultivating relationships with clients and reporters alike — I love the world of PR and am beyond happy and thankful I get to do this work every day. 

Enjoying my spare time

Other things that make me happy include: growing my frog collection, hiking with my sweet dog Odie, playing Donkey Kong on my Super Nintendo, discovering new music, taking care of my succulents, exploring Austin’s best happy hour spots and spending the weekend working on a good puzzle.

I may or may not be a grandma trapped inside a 24-year-old body, but at least I’m a grandma who is a part of Team Awesome now!

ketner group parent culture

Parenthood at Ketner Group: Creating an Inclusive Environment for Working Parents

I’m just going to say it, being a working parent is not always easy. No matter what age our kids are, the juggling act that we as full-time working moms and dads perform is not for the faint of heart. We must figure out how to coordinate and balance countless doctor appointments, dance practices, baseball games and various school functions with our work priorities. We sometimes have to be two places at once, all the while worrying how we are going to get it all done.

Life happens, which is why at Ketner Group, we do all that we can to make the surprising and wonderful world of parenthood a little bit easier for our team.

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, as I was the first employee in the agency to go through the maternity leave process (twice), and I know first-hand what it is like to be a working parent at Ketner Group. We put a huge emphasis on being a family-first agency, making sure that all employees have a healthy work-life balance.

That’s not always the case in this country. According to Small Business Trends, 66% of full-time employees do not have a good work-life balance and 33% of Americans are working on weekends and holidays.

We have worked very hard as an agency to keep a family-friendly culture, ensuring that working parents feel supported, heard and understood. Let’s take a closer look at how.

“I’m expecting!”

Telling your company that your family is expecting should be a joyous occasion, not one filled with anxiety and fear.

At Ketner Group, we have always rallied behind our employees anytime there is a birth announcement. (Full transparency, we have had a total of three employees, including me, that have gone on maternity leave while working for Ketner Group.)

ketner group maternity leave

Ketner Group currently provides three months of paid maternity leave to employees. This is a policy that we wanted to provide, ensuring that families do not miss a paycheck during those very special three months and reinforcing our commitment to being a family-first agency.

We feel very fortunate to be able to offer this to our employees, given it is not something many small businesses are willing to do. According to a Department of Labor survey, only 12% of employees at businesses with fewer than 50 employees have access to explicit paid parental or family leave benefits and only 28% have access to paid medical leave.

During the time between the official announcement is made to the team and when an employee goes on maternity leave, we get to the business of planning for that leave. That includes making the announcement official to our clients, making adjustments to team leads and handing off any other agency tasks to other team members.

And of course, Ketner Group loves to celebrate, so we throw baby showers for the parents-to-be! The past year has not slowed us down in that department, either – we have already thrown two virtual baby showers for Amanda Reed and Kirsty Goodlett – complete with sweet treats and fun baby gifts! (For a good laugh, check out the song Jeff wrote celebrating Amanda’s baby.)

During leave, we make sure to only reach out to those employees for important updates and fun company gatherings – otherwise, we want them to enjoy their time with family.

“My kid has strep throat…again!”

Being a parent is truly a full-time job. The needs of children don’t just stop during the 9-5 workday. That is why we have created a culture of flexible work schedules for all employees, but this is a policy that is especially critical for working parents.

When my kids were younger, I felt like I lived at the pediatrician’s office! I can’t tell you how many times I had to email my team early in the morning, and a few times in the middle of the night, to let them know I wouldn’t be in because of a sick child. There were also many, many times I had to stop what I was doing during the middle of the workday to run to the daycare or elementary school to pick up a sick kid or leave work early or come in late because of a special occasion at school.

working family ketner group

Never once, however, did I worry about how these parent errands or last-minute emergencies would affect my job. I knew I had the support of my team and would not be penalized or judged for needing to do what I needed to as a parent.

When it comes to being a parent at Ketner Group, flexibility and support is the name of the game.

During the summer months, my kids often spent time with me at the office when I didn’t have a summer camp planned or childcare available. They always enjoyed those days because it meant getting to draw for hours on the big white board or getting to have a cool “grown up” lunch with Mom! Never once did my team make me feel bad for bringing my children up to the office, they were always kind to them and made them feel welcomed.

“I got a promotion!”

Of course, the elephant in the room when it comes to being a working parent is whether planned and unplanned time away from the office will affect one’s career. In short, at Ketner Group, it doesn’t.

We believe that bringing a new life into the world and putting family first does not mean the end of someone’s long-term career goals. All of our employees are important to us and being a parent doesn’t require anyone to take two steps back.

ketner group parent career

In my time at Ketner Group, while also going through two pregnancies, maternity leaves and the countless times my children needed to come before work priorities, I continued to work hard and was promoted to account manager, director, vice president and most recently as president of the agency. Being a parent at our agency does not put a warning mark on you, and it never will.

2020 and 2021 have been tough years for all working parents, especially mothers, and we continue to do all that we can to make the transition of a being a hybrid remote/in-person company as easy on working parents as possible. There have been plenty of Zoom calls over the past year that have included our kids on the screen, whether it was planned or not!

“I can have it all!”

I’m not going to lie, being a working parent can often be a hard gig, no matter how wonderful your company is – and that is the truth!

There is the ever-present parent guilt combined with the worry that you are never doing enough at the office. But there is a silver lining! Once you get the hang of things, it is the most rewarding experience you could ever have, especially if you work for a supportive and parent-inclusive organization.

At Ketner Group, I get to have the best of both worlds, and my children get to see first-hand the aftereffects of a family and employee-first company. More importantly, they know that it is possible to have a successful career and be there for them no matter what. I am grateful for this and hope this kind of support for working parents will become the norm in the near future, rather than the exception.