The notion of "having it all" is something that many modern women grapple with — Google the term and countless op-ed pieces will show up. Juggling a big career, raising children, maintaining (and enjoying!) marriage, and a social life can feel like a daunting task, especially in an era where the Internet allows us to be connected all the time, for better or for worse.
Aliza Licht, the SVP of Global Communications at Donna Karan International, seems to have accomplished the feat with aplomb. Licht, better known as DKNY PR GIRL (@DKNY on Twitter), let us in on how she rose to the top at Donna Karan, all while raising two young kids, staying happily married to her husband, and taking the Twitterverse by storm.
Elizabeth Street: Tell us a little about your career trajectory.
"I've been at Donna Karan for 15 years. I started my career on the editorial side in magazines. I always loved Donna Karan as a brand. I grew up in Long Island, as did Donna, and I went to a neighboring high school so I always knew of her. Growing up in the '90s, all you wanted was DKNY, so I felt a sense of familiarity with Donna and the brand. It was serendipitous when I heard there was a job open — I joined the company as accessories assistant coordinator. "
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You have a huge job and two kids (her son is 8 and her daughter is 5). How do you manage it all?
"There are so many cracks that things slip through. You have to have an amazing support system, whether it's friends, neighbors. Anyone who says they do it themselves is lying. I do try to do it all: I want to be the one who's home to welcome my kids from school and put them to bed. On average, I come home around 6:30 p.m. for kids-slash-husband time. I'm big on quality time. I'm the person who says, 'All devices away!' (Licht's kids have hand-me-down iPhones that only have kids Netflix and games like Minecraft.) Once my kids are in bed, I get back to work. I answer emails and get on Twitter, but I save all that for when they've gone to bed. The truth is, I know it will all get done if I sacrifice an hour of sleep."
What is your go-to recipe that you know your kids will eat?
"My turkey burger — it's pretty fool-proof. Mix white meat with breadcrumbs, garlic powder, one egg white, and pop it in the skillet. Add steamed broccoli, and a side of rice and you've got a 15-minute meal that the whole family will eat."
What's your secret to a successful marriage?
"My husband and I have been married since 1997. I try to do everything, but I don't do it perfectly. We juggle: Sometimes he takes on more, sometimes I take on more.
"I'm very selective with my time. I used to go out for work a ton in the beginning when I was single and without kids. Then, you start to realize that you don't need to be everywhere. In fact, my rule of thumb is to 'Just say no.' I would rather be home with family."
Most people know you best as @DKNY. How do you explain social media to your kids?
"My kids are getting the hang of social media. They know that I'm tweeting what they say. My eight-year-old son has a blog, and it's all him. It's totally curated by him with his voice. He doesn't write that much, but what he's getting out of it is learning about himself."
You're known for your signature red hair and bold lipstick. What are your go-to products?
"I've always worn red lipstick — even at my prom. I take it off the moment I get home to avoid getting it all over my kids! I always wear sunscreen under my foundation (Aveeno SPF 100), except if I'm taking pictures. Lipstick is Maybelline Red Revival in the winter; this summer was Sephora cream lipstain, plus Maybelline Neon Red."
Aliza's advice to working moms: "You can do it. But at any given point of the day, the priorities have to shift. Not everything needs all of your attention, all the time."
Sure, everything changes once you become a mom, but that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Elizabeth Street, an international collective of mothers who understand what it’s like to do everything one-handed, is here to help you discover everything from the newest green-friendly beauty products to the chicest home decor ideas — whether you’re raising a little one or not.