A mom of two, Jodi Patkin heads up the marketing, communications and celebrity engagement, and video and creative teams for March of Dimes. Her recent work includes the organization’s awareness campaign, Won’t Stop. Jodi filled us in on the campaign, explained why she loves her job, and offered some solid advice for other women considering a career in the nonprofit sector.
Thank you for your work with March of Dimes. What is your favorite part of your job?
I get to fight for the health of all moms and babies by leveraging my creative communications and marketing background. As a mom of a four-year-old daughter and an almost two-year-old son, who happens to be a NICU grad, our mission is my favorite part of my job. If you ask my daughter what I do, she’ll tell you I help the babies. That’s pretty awesome. As a bonus, I get to work with passionate creatives, dedicated fundraisers and the smartest, most innovative maternal child health professionals around.
Can you tell us about your Mother’s Day campaign?
This Mother’s Day, March of Dimes is focused on what moms really want – access to health care, parental leave, working parent benefits and support for mom and her family. We know that flowers and chocolates are nice, but this year we have teamed with The Harris Poll to ask moms in this country what they want and we are excited to be unveiling those results. Along with our partners, March of Dimes is sparking a national conversation around support and empowerment for mom – for mom herself; from one mom to another; and from loved ones to moms and moms-to-be. For more info, you can log onto marchofdimes.org/mothersday.
We’d also like to hear about your Won’t Stop campaign.
Moms and babies in the U.S. are facing an urgent health crisis. Pregnancy-related deaths have more than doubled over the past 25 years and premature birth and its complications remain the largest contributors to infant death in the United States. March of Dimes Won’t Stop fighting for the needs of every mom and baby, and the campaign highlights that.
In addition to a super cool mural in D.C., my favorite piece of our campaign is the female-directed video depicting real, diverse moms-to-be, mothers and babies in a montage of moments showcasing triumph, loss and love. There are no lullabies, the women are not fragile, and the babies are all fighters. It’s a powerful anthem of hope that showcases March of Dimes in action.
Any advice for moms who are interested in working in the nonprofit field but aren’t sure how to pivot their careers?
Don’t be intimidated by never having worked in the industry. Your unique skills and experience are not only needed, but valuable to nonprofit organizations. If you land the interview, focus on how you will leverage those skills to benefit the organization, don’t just talk about wanting to give back. Passion is immensely important, but be confident in all that you have to offer.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Unloading the dishwasher. Unquestionably.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
If I can find time, a manicure pedicure always does the trick. I can’t touch my phone or answer emails and I always feel relaxed and put together when I’m done.
What is your best parenting hack?
When traveling with a baby, a backpack and a baby carrier are game changers. You can be hands-free, and if you’re lucky enough that baby falls asleep on the plane, your arms won’t go numb as a result.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
We told the kids that they have listening ears that we can turn on. My daughter has since told me on more than one occasion that the repairman has hers, but it worked for a glorious period of time.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Our son had been going through a major sleep regression and either not wanting to go to sleep or waking up at various times in the middle of the night. Each time it happened, our daughter ran into his room to comfort him. She would take her pillow and sleeping bag and lie on the floor next to her brother’s crib to ensure he was okay. That display of empathy and love nearly made my heart burst.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Be kind, be silly, be confident, work hard and remember that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. Don’t let it stop you from being you.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Cut yourself some slack and surround yourself with a support network who will understand, listen, trade war stories, build you back up when you’ve fallen down, give you advice and make you laugh. For me, it’s my husband and my mama friends.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I don’t know that there is such a thing, so I try to focus on flexibility and prioritization. I’m often on email way too late at night, but it’s because I’m usually able to leave work early enough to have a dance party with my son and daughter before bedtime.
What was the last book you read?
Where the Sidewalk Ends. It was a childhood favorite of mine and I am loving reading it with my kids.
Favorite Beauty Product: Aquaphor, for basically everything.
Favorite Form of Exercise: Pure Barre or the aforementioned toddler dance party.
What is on your DVR? Sesame Street, PJ Masks, Pinkalicious and PAW Patrol. My husband and I just finished binging on Stranger Things and are on the hunt for a new show.
Favorite App: TeuxDeux. It keeps me organized and somewhat sane.
Favorite Kids Store: I’m currently digging Old Navy for durable, functional and super cute tiny human styles that won’t break the bank.