October is both National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month – two causes that require courage, tenacity and a will to overcome obstacles. Those affected by these challenges are women Molly Maid President Meg Roberts holds on a pedestal, and she approaches her professional life inspired by the traits demonstrated by survivors.
Roberts grew up dreaming of an advertising career, and by age 24, she achieved that goal at the BBDO agency in Chicago, Ill. working on high-profile campaigns for Wrigley, Kahlua and many other brands. With a desire to return to her Ann Arbor, Mich. roots to raise her sons close to family, Roberts transferred her experience to leading Molly Maid’s national marketing efforts. In 2012, she was promoted to take the helm of Molly Maid, a $208 million brand who completes over 1.7 million cleans a year. She leads the Home Office team to support Molly Maid’s franchise owners to provide high-quality professional house cleaning service and deliver excellent customer service while giving back to their local communities through the Ms. Molly Foundation.
Q: What is it like to be a woman in business?
Meg: This is a familiar and unusual question to be asked, and would never be asked to a male business leader. I don’t want to be treated differently as the president of a national brand because of my gender. At the same time, as a woman, I have a unique opportunity to breakthrough to a female audience. Molly Maid customers wear a lot of hats and many are the CEOs of their households – some are raising children, juggling jobs and To Do lists while helping their aging parents. I know many female business leaders can relate and I see it as our responsibility to use our voice to represent issues important to our peers. The late John F. Kennedy said it well, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Q: What advice would you have for women getting started in business?
Meg: I had a shirt I wore when growing up that said, “Girls can do anything boys can do better.” That idea really propelled me to just focus on accomplishments and not be distracted with gender. It has always been my mindset that I have to work hard and can accomplish anything I want to, so that is my key takeaway to anyone, male or female, who get started in business. I have aligned myself with great mentors, co-workers and team members throughout my career and continue to do so – this is a lifelong best practice!
Q: Do you foresee any trends for women in business?
Meg: In the 1950s, women were more limited in their career choices until home-based businesses were created by entrepreneurial pioneers like Mary Kay and Tupperware with their in-home parties. This creative trend has skyrocketed and continues as women who once worked inside of the home transition to using their talents, hobbies and interests to enter the business world as the CEO of Etsy, creating a blog or leading a team to provide a professional service by starting a small business.
With so much creativity and so many amazing role models for young women to aspire to, it is an exciting time to be a woman in business.