In honour of Mother’s Day, we bring you three Toronto mother-daughter teams who are united biologically but also in business.
Amy Burstyn Fritz & Helen Burstyn
Last month, mother-daughter duo Amy Burstyn Fritz and Helen Burstyn announced their powerhouse partnership with a new communications agency, Burstyn Inc. “My mother and I have always been close, so having an excuse to spend more time with her is always a plus,” says Amy. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work with her on a professional level and really see how her 35 plus years of experience plays out in new business meetings or when hashing out a strategic plan. Seeing her in action has been really impressive, and I feel so lucky to have a partner that delivers such a wealth of experience.”
Helen says that their combined experience complements one another’s. “I’m not as well-versed in how to use social media, for instance, but I’m learning a lot from Amy in how that aspect of media relations and PR works,” says Helen, who says she agreed to team-up with Amy immediately after working together on past projects. “And I think Amy is benefitting from my understanding of corporate and government communications. Some of the differences in perspective are generational, but when it comes to appreciating each other’s perspectives and how that applies to our client’s communications needs, we’re pretty solidly aligned.” Both attribute the success of their partnership to their open level of communication. “There is no better partner than your mother, the person you trust most in the world,” says Amy. “But that strong personal relationship needs to be supported by a mutual respect and skillset on the business side as well.”
Margo Bell and Katelyn Hermant
Peaks & Rafters
Margo Bell and daughter Katelyn Hermant are the co-owners of Peaks & Rafters, a full-service design firm that Margot opened back in 1993 in Muskoka. Katelyn shares her mother’s passion and talent for design and – after some career contemplation – joined forces and the two worked together to open Toronto’s first Peaks & Rafters on Dupont Street. ‘We’re two peas in a pod! We’re able to switch back and forth from personal to business with ease,” says Katelyn. “If you’re a fly on the wall it might make for a confusing conversation.”
Both say that a key element to their partnership is that their values align. “It is very rare that we disagree on how to deal with an issue that may arise. We’re so aligned and therefore our team that surrounds us is as well,” says Katelyn. “They are honest, hard working, genuine and always have our client’s best interests at heart. These are values that we’ve instilled and it’s created an extended family at Peaks & Rafters.” She says that any challenges don’t arise because they are a mother-daughter team, but more in the day-to-day operations and the challenging decisions they make together. “Remember at the end of the day, you’re family,” says Katelyn. “Never allow work to cloud the special mother-daughter connection. Make time together to do mother-daughter “stuff” whether it’s lunch, a trip, or just checking in.”
Courtney and Vyvyan Campbell
Longtime Toronto producer Vyvyan Campbell runs JV Productions – a successful production company – alongside her two daughters and son-in-law.
“The best part of working together is the amount of trust that exists. I know that my mom believes in me and the work that I do, and she never questions my decisions or approach to a task,” says Courtney. Vyvyan also cites this trust as key to their success. “Because I work with two daughters there’s always someone to throw an idea at and to seek advice from. I totally trust them,” she says. Courtney admits that it’s sometimes a challenge to separate professional lives from personal lives. “During family long weekends, for instance, the topic of work will inevitably come up at some point – which can be both positive and negative,” she says.
In terms of advice for other mother-daughter teams, both said that it’s a good idea to work in the field at another company to experience other job environments and how they operate. “You’ll better understand the pros and cons of your working relationship more if you do,” says Courtney. Vyvyan says that doing so will also help you understand potential challenges. “The mom has to be adaptable to the changing world of the electronic media and listen to the younger generation who know their way around this world,” she says.
Did we miss any successful mother-daughter teams in Toronto? Have you ever worked with your mom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.