Atlas Shrugged, Mothers Don't
- Working Women
- 02 Jul 2016
Helen Issar - Founder, PennyLaneSocial, told us her story as a woman who juggles it all and knows that life ain’t perfect, nor should it be, to be a good one!
I started my career in advertising and moved into the online space in 2006. I have worked in the social media arena now for most of my career.
My husband and I wanted to move out of India for a bit, and I got a short-term job in Denmark, which turned into a long-term job in Norway. In 2012 we decided to move back to India. I continued to consult with my Norwegian company and in 2013 I decided to start my own social media practice - PennyLaneSocial. So, I never really took a break, professionally.
“Penny Lane” is a road in Liverpool, and there is a bus shelter in the middle of the roundabout where John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to meet; it was central to their lives.
Social Media is today’s “Penny Lane Bus Station”. That central meeting point for brands, business & consumers. The analogy holds good even when you think of the customer and the business. They come together on social media to navigate through the noise and discover a mutually beneficial and meaningful relationship. The song is also a huge favourite at our office!
In May 2015, last year, I had a baby, and by Week 3 I was back at work twice a week, and have slowly increased to now being back at work a full day and working on starting my next company, inspired by my “being a mum” experience!
My husband and I work out of the same office so we have been taking our baby to work together, and we co-babysit her, while we work. We have to sync our calendars very closely, plan our days almost to a T, juggle a million things to be able to make it all work smoothly… but it's all so totally worth the effort! We're still learning, and realize almost every 2 months that we need to rework the schedules and how we manage things because our daughter’s needs change so fast given her age right now.
Given I run my business and I have a 1-year-old – days can be challenging. I have an extremely amazing team that supports me and helps keep the ship afloat. My baby took her first steps in our office with the entire team cheering her on – It's thrilling that I get to witness these magical moments while doing what I also love.
Our days are tough. We have to have a strict schedule. That said I have an amazingly supportive spouse who from Day 1 said that it was most important that I keep my career, and has helped in every way he can. We work out of the same office so we take our 4-month-old into work and we co-babysit her, while we work. We have to sync our calendars very closely so that I can still do meetings.
To be able to do it all you need to have support, and that can come in any form - a husband, a co-worker, or colleagues at work. They all help to make life a little bit easier and make that transition back to work life so much better.
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she's in a play
She is anyway
In Penny Lane ...
JFH often showcases women who manage to don multiple hats with apparent ease, while being honest about the daily hurdles that they have to navigate. It gives us hope for second careers, and the possible continuation of our first ones, too! #IfSheCanSoCanYou
Find YOUR second career at JobsForHer! Visit, create a profile, upload a resume, browse & follow companies, organize your dashboard, and basically enjoy the ride back to your professional life, with us!
Helen Issar has over 8 years of experience in the Communications & Internet business. She started in advertising with J. Walter Thomson (JWT), and was responsible for managing global brands like Levis, and national brands like Kirtilals. She then moved to the online marketing & social media side as one of the first employees at Minglebox.com and then moved to Scandinavia to work with Komfo. Her last stint was with Fanbooster, a CMS tool for managing brands’ pages on Facebook.