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The A.wordsmith Model | A Culture for Work/Life Balance

The A.wordsmith Model

The A.wordsmith model is build to reflect our commitment to not only high-quality client service, but also work/life balance. In the office we are kick-ass communication professionals, with world-class public relations, branding and marketing expertise. At home we are mothers, partners and friends with those we value most.

The firm’s flexible model means our team manages results-driven national thought leadership and reputation management programs for clients, all while putting kids on the bus in the morning, making soccer practices and catching kindergarten graduation. Who says you can’t have it all?

If you’re a communication professional with 10+ years’ experience in agency and/or corporate settings and you’re contemplating how you can move your career forward while raising your kids to be outstanding human beings, give us a shout and learn more about the A.wordsmith model at

From One Working Mother to Another

working mother

A frustrating truth

Today a powerful column appeared on It was written by Katharine Zaleski, a former journalistic powerhouse who held top roles at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post in her mid-20s.  She is open and honest about how she viewed and treated women who were mothers during that time. Honestly recalling how she killed a potential partnership with an online editor because of the number of kid photos the lady had up in her office; also confessing her agreement to fire a woman “before she got pregnant”; sharing that she regularly scheduled meetings at 4:30pm, dismissing the fact that working mothers may need to be leaving to get their kids from daycare; and admitting to looking down on mothers who couldn’t join happy hour functions because of family commitments.  Wow.

Today this same woman is a working mother – with a very different perspective. After having her daughter she resigned from her role in journalism and founded her own business, PowerToFly, a technology company geared at helping mothers find work they can do virtually from home. She readily admits that “mothers are the people you need on your team” and is proud to share that the editor she dissed because of the children photos is now the executive editor at PowerToFly. IMG_4672

Since the column first appeared earlier today the social media world lit up with comments and shares, most overwhelmingly positive toward Katharine for admitting her previous short-comings and furthering the conversation on this controversial topic.

Life as a working mother

What it means to be a working mother is hard to describe. Just because we are mothers does not mean we have lost our will, or ability, or drive to work hard. And just because we want to work does not mean we don’t care about our children. Every mother is different and what feels right in her gut is something that only she can determine. For me, I am proud to be a mother who works. That is what feels right to me. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without sacrifice or challenge. Sometimes it takes a village to coordinate client meetings, make sports practices and still get dinner on the table. But at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and I sit down with a glass of wine, my soul feels fulfilled in a way that it wouldn’t should kids and work not co-exist.

I am continually inspired by the group of working women at A.wordsmith, and I am proud of the model we have in place. A model that has brought out some of the most talented professionals I know, who also happen to be amazing moms. Thank you to Katharine Zaleski for your honestly and candor about being a working mother and for pushing open the door for women just a bit wider.


Jennifer Huston, the “Missing Person”

For the past week I’ve becoming increasingly consumed with the ongoing search for Dundee woman Jennifer Huston.  On the outskirts of Portland, Dundee and neighboring Newberg where she was last seen are quite close to where I live in Tualatin and my kids went to school in Sherwood.

I am not here to speculate or accuse or even try to guess at her whereabouts or what exactly went down after her bank, gas station and Rite-Aid visits (although I may have a few opinions); what I want to comment on is how this case and Jennifer are being depicted in the media.  In fact, some reading this may not have even realized that her name is Jennifer. That is because in nearly every media story, blog post and TV segment, she is referred to as the “Missing Mom.”  And of the photos I’ve seen in the media, the majority are of her with her kids and family. She is described as a “devoted, stay-at-home mother who volunteers at her son’s school.”

The fact that this 38-year-old woman’s entire existence has been condensed down to the fact that she is now a “missing mom” – almost without a name – is something I’ve found strangely aggravating. I too am a “devoted mom” in my mid-30s; however, while I love my children dearly and being a parent is priority number one, it does not solely define me. If she was a stock broker would the papers read “missing stock broker” and if it was a man with children would it say “missing dad” or would it call him by name?

In trying to understand where Jennifer may be today, I struggle with the fact that a clear picture of who she is outside of her role as mom has seemingly not been told: what does she enjoy doing for herself; with who; and where?  As the country clamors around this case and interest continues to build, I wish that we could start calling her by name – to pay attention to who she is in her own right and potentially understand why she is missing. I appreciate that she is a mom and my heart goes out to her boys, but let’s try to find Jennifer Huston, who is not just a “Missing Mom” but a “Missing Person.”

Drew Carney Goes Viral

Portland, Oregon sign

For those of us in Portland, Drew Carney is a bit of a TV superstar. You might get ready in the morning while watching his antics, or catch him emceeing the annual Kells Smoker at the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival; however this week he cemented his place in national, viral infamy.  To try to explain what happened would likely ruin some of its impact, so it’s best to just let the clip speak for itself.  GO USA! GO DREW!


Welcome Kailee!

Welcome Kailee Pence to the A.wordsmith team! Kailee joins as our spring intern and we’re so excited to have her. There’s much about her to like, starting with her love of country music, good Chinese food and visits to both the beach and mountain. Here are 5 more things you might not know about her unless you asked:

  • As a senior in college, I lived 3 months abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy
  • I’ve been a dancer since I was 10, dancing as a Junior Blazer Dancer and a member of the University of Oregon dance team
  • I love to bake! Especially during the holidays I am constantly in the kitchen
  • My favorite music to listen to is country and I rarely listen to anything else
  • I would spend all my time at the beach if I could. I love to be near the ocean eating seafood!

We’re Blogging!

we're blogging

Welcome to the A.wordsmith blog!

After more than four years in business we are taking the leap and starting a blog. As with any blog, the goal is to keep in better touch with all of you in a way that informs, insights and hopefully inspires new thinking on a variety of topics. Since we are communicators we’ll be weighing in on issues facing the public relations and marketing industries as well as sharing key learnings, successes, and our take on current news and trends. You’ll be hearing from a variety of A.wordsmith team members – each with different backgrounds and areas of interest and expertise. So without further adieu, let’s get this thing started!