We’re so proud to again be included on Working Mother’s list of the 100 best companies for working moms. Among its reasons for loving us, Working Mother cited Viacom’s recent move to double paid parental leave in nearly every division, to extend adoption leave and expand subsidized backup care, as well as upgrade infertility coverage and autism benefits. These benefits allow Viacom to be a place where leaders who choose to become parents can thrive. To celebrate the honor, we’d like to shine a spotlight on one of Viacom’s amazingly talented moms, Bronwen O’Keefe, SVP of NickMom. According to Bronwen, Viacom is a place where you don’t hide being a mom. You wear this role proudly.
“Viacom has been great in that opposite of Sheryl Sandberg’s experience, we’ve had a lot of senior exec moms,” Bronwen says. “I’ve been in many meetings with Cyma [Zarghami, President of Nickelodeon], where we’ve started with sharing stories about our kids. I appreciate the fact that your’e not hiding the fact that you’re a mom, you’re proudly displaying it.”
At work, Bronwen is responsible for managing the content creation, editorial and programming development, in addition to overseeing the planning and execution of all linear and digital content for NickMom, a comedy block on the Nick Jr. channel and web site for today’s moms.
Bronwen is also a mother to two young daughters, Grace, 8, and Callan, 6. Balancing the demands of being an executive and a mom requires Bronwen to be scrappy at times – she hasn’t missed a ballet recital, but she has taken redeyes to make superhero capes at 6 in the morning. Her work ethic – always giving 110% – allows her to prioritize her family, while also being a terrific success at her job.
Bronwen strongly believes in the power of multiple perspectives. In building the NICKMOM brand from the ground up, Bronwen says that one thing she did was hire people from different backgrounds, professionally, personally and in terms of taste. “Development is a subjective world, so it’s important to have a lot of different points of view.”
As a leader, Bronwen believes that great ideas come from every pocket, and she has tried to create a non-bureaucratic environment that is conducive to brainstorming. “I think my management style is about collaboration – I believe that every single person on our team is just as vital as the next. We all have a role to play that’s far beyond what’s on a job description for us.”
What’s also inspiring about Bronwen is that she grew up in the company, working her way through Nickelodeon development and programming after starting as an assistant. “The idea of learning on the job and doing jobs higher than your title was incredibly important in my career path. People believed in me, and that support encouraged me to learn and grow. I try to create as many of those opportunities too – your job may be X on paper, but let’s figure out ways to get you experience elsewhere, and maybe you’ll have something to offer in that world.”
She brings an enlightened perspective to the notion of work-life balance. “The balance is that you’re not going to be perfect. Sometimes you’re going to feel like a rock star at work, sometimes at home. And to not beat yourself up about it.”
Thanks to Bronwen, to all of Viacom’s amazing employee moms, and to everyone who makes Viacom a great place to work.