We Love You, Too, Working Mother!

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Mary Zambri, Vice President, Ad Sales for Music and Entertainment with (from left) husband Jake and their two sons, Shane (4) and Montana (18 months)

Thanks so much to all our moms here and to Working Mother Magazine for recognizing Viacom as one of its 100 Best Companies this year. Based on more than 500 questions on workforce representation, child care, flexibility programs, leave policies and more, the list highlights companies that not only offer flexibility and nurture leadership potential, but also create innovative programs for working moms.

Among the reasons Working Mother said it loves us? Our annual Kids Day, ParentHood Affinity Group, and the on-site daycare at our LA headquarters.

We do it for you, moms – for all of you with jobs that start well before business hours – getting the kids off to school or daycare – jobs that never really end. In celebration of this honor, we’re spotlighting Mary Zambri, vice president of Ad Sales for Music and Entertainment, and a model mom here whom we feel embodies (and furthers) our efforts to make Viacom a supportive and inclusive place where working moms can thrive.

Working her way from sales planner to exec over the past decade, Mary now works on an account list that generates $1 billion in revenue across MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike and TV Land. At home she’s got two beautiful boys who are the light of her and husband’s lives – 4-year-old Shane and 18-month-old Montana.

Here’s why we love Mary – and what we can learn from her approach to work and motherhood (and life):

Be there. Of course, Mary says she can’t always be where she’d like to be – with two young boys, the demands of being an ad sales exec (which often involves off-hours time with clients), and over the past two years, her husband’s health issues. But Mary has found a tactic that works for her.

“I try to be present – when I’m at the office, I’m present and focused on work. When I’m home, I’m present and focused on my kids.”

She’s got great sight – she can see from other perspectives. It’s true at the negotiating table and in managing others. When it comes to being a working mom, she recognizes that the system that works for her may not work for everyone else. Although it requires extra coordination and communication on her part, Mary supports a job-share between two women on her team.

Honesty is her policy. “I think building trust is not only meaningful in negotiations, but perhaps more importantly in managing a team,” Mary said. “I’m honest with my team and I expect that in return. Building trust is key to creating a positive culture and achieving success together.”

She’s unwaveringly optimistic. Even when it’s hard to find good, her colleagues say Mary can find it. Adding to the demands of being a working mom, Mary’s husband was diagnosed with cancer during her second pregnancy. But while it’s the hardest thing her family has encountered, Mary spins adversity into strength.

“Like anything else,” she said, “it’s what you do with what you are dealt. I believe the perspective I have gained and the positivity both my husband and I have maintained, has changed my approach in all I do for the better.”

She’s calm. “Mary has a calming presence and is able to balance the needs of her subordinates and her family – and she does it with grace, ease and positivity that is truly inspiring to everyone she encounters,” said Wendy Charest, Vice President of Human Resources at Viacom.

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  1. This woman is truly inspiring. Her dedication to her family and her work is extremely admirable to say the least. I love her perspective, especially given her situation – she certainly embodies a severe strength and positivity that makes her a special person indeed!

  2. Couldn’t agree more, Jessica!

  3. mary used to be my boss. she’s an amazing role model both personally and professionally. xo mary!

  4. Mary is an incredible colleague who inspires so many of us here. Thanks for sharing a bit of her story.

  5. Jake is a lucky man despite his illness, which I’m hoping he will overcome. More people should have Mary’s perspective. She is spot on. What a wonderful wife, mother and role model.

  6. They are a beautiful family – hoping her husband beats cancer! Bravo to her for her positive attitude – it makes all the difference. She’s an inspiration to working moms everywhere.

  7. Congratulations Mary! You guys are the best! What a lucky couple to have each other and what lucky little boys to have such devoted, caring and nurturing parents. Mary is proof positive that you can have it all – you go girl!

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