Stats: Mother to son Duncan, wife to husband Mac (who happens to be her partner not only in life, but in business as well) and a founding Partner of Click Communications - the entertainment industry's leading digital PR and marketing agency.
Why she's crush worthy: Aside from working in an extremely cut throat industry and succeeding at helping to promote the release of films, she is a mother who not only talks to her son about the endless possibilities that life has to offer - but she leads by example. Not everyone can live, work along side and parent with their husbands, but Dinah has proven that it can be done. She has a very "one day at a time" approach to life and while it is stressful to be a business owner, she tries to find time to laugh with her husband and her son...not to mention throw amazing themed parties to celebrate annual events like the Oscars. Dinah is the type of person you admire because she embraces individuality, teaches her son to do so and never loses sight of her dreams.
Learn how Dinah does it all and get her thoughts on....
Learn how Dinah does it all and get her thoughts on....
- In this moment, my life feels...A little uncertain, if I’m being honest. And I think I should at least start this Q&A honestly. Last year was a rough one for my family and me. I lost my father on November 30, after nearly a yearlong battle with ALS. My grief is still with me, and I don’t know if that ever goes away. At the same time, our business also went through a lot of changes—mostly good things like our new office, but others were challenging. Last year was also about watching my son go from baby to toddler to little boy in just one year, which brought me moments of extreme joy. So in this moment, I think my husband and I are just trying to figure out what we do next. How do we incorporate more joy and balance, and learn from the experiences life has thrown at us so far? Can we create plans and structure that will offer us more security, or can we learn to roll with the punches in a way that allows us to tolerate, if not embrace, an ongoing sense of uncertainty as we continue to pioneer new territories for ourselves?
- I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to…WORRYING. I am the North Hollywood Heavyweight Worrying CHAMPION. Of course, all parents worry, all business owners worry, but I really do that thing where I spend more time in my head over issues than I probably spend on the issues themselves. And that’s just a great way to waste time and give yourself an ulcer.
- My favorite guilty pleasure is…Oh, God. Fine. I’ll tell you. I watch the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Unlike some of my other little relaxation or coping strategies (the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s, dancing to Brit Brit, squeezing in a manicure), this is one that I actually feel guilty about. I mean, there is no way that watching pack of rich women bitch at each other is anything but bad for the world… and I kind of can’t get enough. #sorrynotsorry
- If I had an extra hour in the day, I would...Exercise. In the last year “self care” seems to be the thing that went out the window first, and I really miss having a regular workout schedule. I also miss the endorphins, the time to myself with my own thoughts, and fitting more comfortably into my clothes.
- I always encourage my son to….Try new things, be brave, dust yourself off when you fall, and keep on trying. This started at “tummy time” (which he HATED), and has continued to be true when trying new foods, doing something at the playground he’s never done before, or figuring out a puzzle by himself. If he can learn to experience frustration, failure or even the pain of the occasional scraped knee, and still pick himself up & keep going, then he’ll be a resilient kid, and, hopefully, a resilient adult with a good attitude later.
- I deal with tantrums by… Drinking? ;) I'm only kind of joking. Here’s my confession: I wrote the first draft answer to this question three weeks ago, and had all these smug feelings about how tantrums weren’t really a problem for us because we had this perfect little angel child who only really ever whined occasionally.
- It’s like the universe KNEW. Since writing that draft, we have suddenly found ourselves dealing with tantrums on a regular basis. I…have no idea what to do. There’s no magic bullet. Mac & I agree that our goal with the tantrums is to teach him, "What you're doing is not the way to get what you want." So we try to employ a combination of distraction, compassion, and firm, consistent boundaries. I’ll hear myself calmly (mostly) repeating myself, while offering him options for getting out of whatever situation has him melting down. Sometimes we ride it out, ignore him and let him holler, if we can. Whatever reinforces the message, “This. Is NOT. The Way."
- My favorite mother/son moment is...Playing on the floor with him. We play cars, do puzzles, read books, color, make play food in his little kitchen, whatever he’s feeling. I swear, if I make the time to get down on the floor with him to play, not only do we have a great time, but also his mood absolutely soars for the whole day. Such an easy and fun way to make a happy kid.
- The difference between marriage pre and post baby is…Time becomes that much more finite, which impacts everything from how we communicate to how we relax together. We've always been a team, so we teamed up on parenting as well. But now we seem to so a lot more on the fly, fitting moments into the minutes each day offers, especially since time to ourselves—as a couple and as individuals—is that much more precious.
- My husband and I always appreciate… The work the other puts into our marriage, family, home, and/or business. We appreciate it and we acknowledge it as much as we can.
- We always laugh about…How funny Duncan is, mostly. Like, most nights before bath he likes to wait until he’s stripped down, then bolt out of the bathroom & run around the house yelling, “Naked Baby!” Little weirdo.
Working with her husband…
- Working with my husband has allowed us to…Have a very unique shorthand with each other. We understand each other’s tasks, challenges, and triumphs really well, and I think that shorthand allows us to accomplish more at work and at home. It also allows us to spend more time together, which might seem weird because some people think that’s ALL we do. But we divide & conquer at the office—I have my job, he has his, and they’re totally different. Plus working in entertainment PR means meetings, events, travel, you name it. If we weren’t working together so much I think I’d start to miss him, actually.
- The biggest challenge working with my husband is….Drawing the line between home and work. Not talking shop at the dinner table with Duncan there (he really hates it). Both of us working so hard on the same big projects that we’re both drained at the same time for the same reasons, which makes it harder for us to support each other in times of turmoil. I don’t have great tips or solutions for compartmentalizing work and family, or finding balance or calm, because we just let stuff bleed over and deal with it as it comes. It’s good, in a way, because we get to enjoy a certain level of flexibility in both areas. But it can also get very tiring.
- The advice I have for couples that are thinking about working together is to... Promise each other to put your relationship first, and agree that if your business starts to negatively impact your relationship or your family, that you will work together as a team to find solutions that work for both of you. And, that either one of you or both of you can walk away without any resentment.
- I mean, I have other advice along the lines of, Create clear job descriptions/expectations for yourselves; Set goals & expectations as a team; When outside forces threaten your business, fight those forces and not each other. But for me, no matter how much I love Click Communications (and I do, dearly), I love Mac more, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
- The biggest challenge with owning a business is… You're never really off work. Not really. I mean, we've taken trips, we've tried to ignore email on the weekends, and we try our best to keep work from coming home with us. That all helps, but our business was kind of our first baby, so we're always going to have at least one eye on it all the time.
- Moms make the best business owners because... I’m a big believer in the notion that the more moms—and women in general—are in charge of business, the more we can affect change when it comes to setting more realistic expectations and finding a healthier balance between work and family. Just to recap for a second, in the last two years women have been told:
- We can’t really have it all.
- We CAN have it all, but we have to LEAN IN if we want to see any change in the workplace.
- Except, rhetoric about “choosing” work or family is really only for the privileged, because most working moms work out of financial necessity.
- And, saddest of all, studies show that the vast majority of men and women still see the whole “Work/Family Balance” issue as being a problem for women to solve.
- I bring these articles up because I think it’s really important to examine the messages we’ve gotten so far when asked what kind of message I want to send to women about being a mom and a business owner. I think we do need more women business owners and more women in positions of leadership. I also think we women need to talk to each other honestly and openly about how we, collectively, raise the next generation without engaging in “mommy war” foolishness.
- And, finally, I think we need to get our men involved. Because, on the one hand, this recent Harvard Business School study shows that men feel less guilt about spending less time with kids. On the other hand, in a recent book called “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,” the number two regret—particularly in men—was working too much and not spending enough time with their families. I know from my own experience that I am not the only parent in our family who wishes I could have more time with my kid, and I’m so grateful that I get to live and work with a man who’s as committed to figuring out our work/life balance as I am.
- So maybe that’s why moms make the best business owners: because we think and talk about stuff like this when it’s clearly so very much needed.
That saying, "There aren't enough hours in the day" never truly resonated with me until I became a mother and while I think this now almost on a daily basis, it's mother's like Dinah that help me put things into perspective. Being a working mother is tough, being a stay at home mom is just as tough (sometimes I think it's tougher), but we all manage to balance life in our own ways. What may work for one family, may not work for another, but the one thing we can do is admire each other for how we manage to do our best at surviving everyday.