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How to work remotely like a boss

An interview with the remote-working VP of Marketing at HootSuite.

How to work remotely like a boss

Dee Anna McPherson is the VP of Marketing at HootSuite, a title she also held at the Yammer where her growth strategy helped lead to a 1.2 billion acquisition by Microsoft.


McPherson manages Hootsuite’s global brand (and a 90-plus-person team) from her home in the Bay Area.

She shared with PowerToFly some of her favorite things about remote work, why she developed a ruthless approach to time management, and her advice on staying ahead of social media trends.

Can you tell us a little more about your role at Hootsuite?

I lead marketing at Hootsuite, the most widely used platform for managing social media. Hootsuite is used by 11 million people and our customers include 744 of the Fortune 1000. I have a team of over 90 people around the world. Most of the team is based in Vancouver, but I am based in the Bay Area.


How do you juggle being on the executive team of such a fast-growing company and working remotely?

There are a few advantages to working remotely. First, you can really get [things] done with fewer distractions. I also find that the physical distance helps me gain perspective when thinking about challenges or opportunities in the business. As an introvert, spending time alone is very energizing. To maintain strong connections with my team and colleagues, I practically live on Google Hangouts and certainly rack up the frequent-flier miles.


Do you have any favorite apps/tools to stay organized?

I love Yammer because I can see what’s happening in every corner of the organization and spend an hour weighing in on various projects and providing encouragement and feedback to the team. It’s like a digital water cooler that lets me stay connected when I am away. I also recently started using a product called Hexigo for email prioritization, which has been fantastic.


What are your strategies for managing a remote team?

It’s important to create a strong rhythm to your business. I have weekly 1:1s with my direct reports, weekly open office hours, a monthly all-hands meeting, quarterly planning meetings and quarterly business reviews. Using an Enterprise Social Network such as Yammer and encouraging the team to “work out loud” keeps everyone informed and aligned.


Any tips for staying balanced in your work and home life?

Simplify, simplify, simplify. I’m part of the “sandwich generation” raising a young child and helping look after an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. So, I don’t have much time for anything other than family, work and close friends. I am ruthless in how I prioritize my time. Since I travel a lot, I have a specific travel wardrobe that I pack each time so I don’t have to think about it. At home we use an app called Cozi to manage our family calendar.


Any predictions about the future of social networking? Do you have advice for companies who want to stay on the cutting edge?

We’ll continue to see the rise of specialized social networks and visual content, and social commerce will become mainstream. For businesses, social media will shift from being something that is managed by a social media team to a core skill set that is used in every department. Invest in training and education for employees to help modernize their skills sets.


Power to Fly is a company connecting accomplished women with remote-work jobs that actually lead to work-life balance!


Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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