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Mama Entrepreneur: Ex-NY Times Editor Turns Media Mogul

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I'm really into the term "Work-Life Integration" right now, having given up on "Work-Live Balance." So I've been talking to some entrepreneur mommies in my Brooklyn neighborhood to find how they get through the day while building a business and family.

Here's a profile of Holly Epstein Ojalvo. She is founder and editor-in-chief of a new news site called Kicker. The idea behind Kicker is to present news in plain language for younger people or just those of us who don't have time to read our Twitter feed all day every day.

Holly Epstein Ojalvo, Editor-in Chief of Kicker: I'm Holly. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Jason, and our 7-year-old daughter. Jason works full-time for Audible. I was a high school English and journalism teacher for 10 years, and I left teaching to edit for the New York Times Learning Network, which provides ways for teachers to use the Times in the classroom. For a couple of years, I found myself strongly wishing there were a great resource that made current events accessible, engaging and relevant for young people. Finally I decided to create one myself, so I left the Times six months ago and launched Kicker in mid-September.

MZ: Why/when did you decide to leave a "real" job and start out on your own?

HEO: Having a vision that I'm very passionate about is the number one reason. It's both exciting and scary to take such a risk, but I really believe in the mission of engaging young people in what's going on in the world and empowering them to make a difference. It's a great challenge to stretch myself professionally by entering the start-up world.

MZ: What's been the best/worst thing about being a lone operator?

HEO:The best thing is that I'm really excited to get to work every day. Each day I make a bit of progress toward making a long-standing dream of mine a reality. The worst part is that it can be lonely. I have an amazing group of freelancers and advisers, but I also wish I had a full-time partner or small team to work alongside.

MZ: How did you deal with your biz during Hurricane Sandy? Did Daddy take care of the kids or did work get put on the backburner?

HEO: We were incredibly fortunate that we didn't lose power at home. Internet was spotty at times, but generally we could get online. I work at home most days, so I'm already in that groove. Jason and I tag-teamed the first couple of days -- having a playdate helped! -- and luckily, our daughter was able to go to school starting on Wednesday. Fortunately, too, all of Kicker's contributors were not only fine, but also able to work.

MZ: Is your biz paying the bills or is your work part of a longer-term strategy to build up a bigger (more lucrative) company? Or is $ not really the point?

HEO:We haven't started generating revenue quite yet, but I'm working on executing a strategy.

Know a mama whose working it in an unusual way? Leave me a comment here or tweet me @manoushz...

As always, please check out my multimedia handbook, Camera Ready, on making quality video and being great on camera.
And listen to my segment on WNYC, New Tech City.

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