Making It Work: CEO and Founder of Agent of Change
Rachel Goldstein leads by giving
A visionary is described as someone who plans the future with imagination and wisdom. That word can be used to describe Rachel P. Goldstein, CEO and founder of Agent of Change, an event production and strategic marketing company dedicated to “connecting people who want to change the world to the people that do.”
When it comes to the slogan “Be the Change,” Goldstein is a Solo Mom who is taking it to heart. She has worked with forward-thinking organizations, such as MoveOn.org, Tibet House US, and Equality Now. Adding Solo Mom to her roles, she’s had to make some shifts in her life to make things work so she can spend some time giving cuddles to her son.
Here’s what she shared:
Q: What’s the most successful part of balancing work and family?
A: I am a nurturer and a natural-born giver, so having my son solo was not a surprise to anyone in my life. My son is a lifelong dream come true. I manifested his birth. It has been an incredible learning experience. I wanted more than anything to be able to raise a child and go through the process of child-rearing. Discovering how to do all of the things you need to do for a child is an education—from learning how to be able to provide for him to running my business two weeks after my C-section. I am present each day within this robust process and continue to be that way.
In terms of balancing, at first, I had to slow my role in my business and needed a new model for working; slowing down meant not taking so many clients and stopping outreach for a moment. From a financial perspective, I had to let go of my three full-time staff members and create a whole new life that required a nanny. This financial restructuring was very necessary, as the costs associated with raising a child are high. Now that he’s two years old, I’ve refocused my company from one-off events for a variety of businesses to creating full programs that entail marketing, events, brand strategy, and building for socially conscious companies. Actively looking for partners has been fun and exciting.
Q: It sounds like the process of visioning is very important to you?
A: Absolutely. I have a whiteboard with all of the new ideas I’m actively working on and the goals I’d like to achieve with my business. When I started my company six years ago, obviously my life was very different. It was necessary to make the shifts needed because my son was the biggest event I ever produced. I had to make room for him. I could not have imagined what it would be like to raise him along with running the business. So I had to focus on reshaping my scope of work to align closer to my values, which meant working solely with mission-driven and cause-related business opportunities. This will include my owned branded events, salon series, and eventually a book, which are in motion of being created.
Q: How do you find time for self-care, and what do you do for yourself?
A: Self-care has been the biggest challenge. Before having my son, I used have a consistent 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ritual that included meditation and a consistent yoga practice. I’m a Yoga Shanti–certified yoga instructor as well.
Now, my 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. time is cuddling my son, making him breakfast, and getting him ready for the day. It’s the only time I get to have with him during the workweek. I’ve had bumps in the road [when it has come to] finding “me time” in the last two years, but it’s getting better. I am finding more time for my meditation practice again, which has been a huge help in slowing down and staying focused. Meditation helps with not being reactive or haphazard. I am able to home in on my heart’s desires.
Would I love to go to a daily yoga class? Sure—but getting to a class is not realistic, and I find it easier to incorporate self-care in the natural; but you can find me in the morning doing yoga or Pilates classes in my apartment. I also ride my bike along the West Side Highway back and forth to work and breathe in New York City. I need simpler solutions to stay healthy as long as I live in the city.
Q: If you could improve one thing in your business right now, what would it be?
A: I did not start my business traditionally, where I created a business plan, shopped it around, and received funding. I just had an idea and went to work. And I work hard. I had to make the best of what I had at that time, and now that I have my son, I will continue to do so. If I had the option for a business partner who really believed in Agent of Change’s work, I would welcome the conversation.
Q: What do you want to share with Solo Moms about having a business?
A: If you desire to have a small business like mine (that consists of my assistant, hiring consultants for specific projects, and me), there is one simple solution: you need a village for raising your child. I have my mother, my babysitter, my backup babysitter, my dad, my son’s godmother and godfather, my nanny, and friends who surround him with love when I can’t be there. I am grateful for all of this support because I only get four hours a day with him, and it’s really challenging but I have to provide for us.
For my business, I have a business coach; I am part of a business-coaching platform called Silver Lining and have colleagues who have reached out to me to provide guidance. I didn’t necessarily ask for this help, but I have people whom I have worked with over the years who have put trust in me, and I trust them. They have come to me knowing what I went through in becoming a Solo Mom. These are people whom I have helped, shared with, and nurtured. Like I said, giving is natural to me. This “natural support” that I have given to others is karma coming back to me. I am thankful and have a lot of hope for the future.
Tanisha Christie is an interdisciplinary performing artist and filmmaker. After years of working at the nexus of arts, media, social justice, and healing, she is currently finishing her master of social work (clinical specialization) at Hunter College in New York City. A child of a Solo Mom, she loves to ride her bike to the beach.
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