Tina Sharkey is the Global President and Chairman for BabyCenter, LLC based in San Francisco, California. She is a mom of a five-year-old and an eight-year-old boy. In this interview, Tina shares her thoughts on work/life balance, or rather integration, why it is important for her to have a career and what kind of example she wants to set for her children. Tina also talks about how she stays involved in her children’s school and how having children and a family morphed her into a better executive.
Can you tell us a little bit about your job -– what does it entail, how long have you been in this industry and position?
I’ve been in the evolving new media industry for over 20 years. I joined BabyCenter in January and as a Chairman, I’m responsible for the oversight of all BabyCenter global businesses, including Babycenter.com-- the leading online commerce, community, and content destination for new and expectant parents-- and popular BabyCenter sites around the globe. We are going through a turnaround stage and I’m in the process of building a great team and shifting the strategy and vision of the company.
Prior to joining BabyCenter, I was a senior executive at America Online, and led all of AOL’s social networking initiatives, overseeing the Instant Messaging and Social Media groups. Previously, I oversaw AOL’s move onto the open web with the build and launch of AOL.com and led Network Programming across AOL’s Network of 116 million monthly unique visitors. Also at AOL, I created the Original Coaches Series and the annual AOL Chief Everything Officer awards, an honor that celebrates today’s heroes of the modern family household.
Prior to joining AOL, I served as Group President of Sesame Workshop’s Online Services, creating their award-winning Internet business, and in 1995, coined the phrase “Social Media” as co-founder and Chief Community Architect of iVillage.com. iVillage was my second start up and it was an amazing experience. It was very rewarding starting something with a group of colleagues and building a great community.
Can you briefly describe your usual day?
I get up at 5:15 a.m. and from 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m., I workout. At 6:30am, I wake up my eight-year-old son, make him breakfast and get ready for work. My youngest son, with the help of my husband or baby sitter, gets up when I leave and keeps a later school schedule. At 7:31 a.m., my older son and I are out the door so that he is ready to be picked up at his bus stop by 7:35 a.m.
As soon as I drop him off, I jump on my first morning conference call while in the car on my way to work. I drive to the office in San Francisco, a 30 minute commute from Marin, and I’m usually at work by 8:30 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., I meet with my assistant, review the day’s game plan and add/revise the day as needed. The day continues with a flurry of conference calls and meetings and I try to end the day by 5:30 p.m. Some days, I do squeeze in a conference call on the drive home at 5:45 p.m. By 6:30 p.m, the family enjoys a sit-down dinner where we have time to recap the boys’ day. If they haven’t had their bath yet, my husband and I give them a bath and put them to bed by 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I unintentionally fall asleep with them for a little while. I get up at 9:30 p.m. and usually do email till about 11 p.m. After I’m done with that, I usually go to bed.