One of our favorite things to do at PH is brag about our talented freelancers and employees. This month’s star is PH’s Nicole Keeny. Nicole is one of our Quality Assurance Specialists, which she says sounds more impressive than what she actually does. But we say it is no less heroic than ensuring our clients’ messages are “consistent, professional, and polished.” Nicole also describes her job as that of story shaper and detective. She thinks “detective” is stretching it a little, but since she fact checks and combs through documents for misplaced modifiers and such, we think “detective” fits perfectly.
Nicole has been with PH for almost three years, not so coincidentally since about the same time as her son Preston came into her family. She was looking to get out of the classroom where she was a full-time middle school teacher and into a profession where she could create the work/life balance she desired. PH came as a blessing. Not only does Nicole have the flexibility she needs to work and stay at home to homeschool Preston, but she can work in her yoga pants. Yep, we’re totally with Nicole on this one!
Since we’re focusing on work/life balance this month at PH, we asked Nicole how she maintains the right balance for her. “With organization, boundaries, and grace (for myself),” she replied. Being more organized makes her less stressed and more effective at both work and home. She sets rules and follows them. For instance, she takes one day a week and doesn’t do any work, including laundry (or making her bed). Instead, she spends the day intentionally resting and restoring her spirit. She finds that by doing this she is a better employee and a better wife and mother. As Nicole says, “Balance requires intentionality.” So creating a good work/life balance means taking some time to reflect on what’s important to you, what your professional and personal goals are, and then working toward them in a way that works best for you. Maybe that’s by creating lists or establishing boundaries, maybe it’s coming up with a mission statement and then shaping your life around it. Nicole even advocates for taking a day and putting your smartphone away. Not just face-down-on-the-table away, but in a different room on silent. It helps you to be present in the moment. She doesn’t recommend letting your toddler hide it, though. Personal experience, perhaps?
As we’ve mentioned, Nicole is mama to Preston. She is also the wife of Jeff, a pastor who founded his own church in the fall of 2016. With Jeff also working from home, the family has the flexibility to spend lots of time together going on adventures, learning together, or just dancing around their kitchen as they prepare their favorite Mexican dishes. This is key to that work/life balance as Nicole also serves as the children’s and women’s ministry coordinator at their church. It doesn’t leave her with a lot of free time, but when she has it she loves nothing more than curling up with her (ever-present) coffee and a good book or a Jane Austen film. To set the mood, add some ’40s music, the luxury of a nap or walk in the woods, or a journal and some colored pencils. Sounds relaxing and uplifting!
Nicole has loved the growth PH has experienced in the last couple of years and sees herself as part of the PH team for years to come. We’re pretty sure we’re not letting her go anywhere! She’s an open book to anyone who asks her a question, but few know that she is the first woman on either side of her family to attend and graduate from college. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to inspire someone, including dyeing her hair purple one year when all of her students passed their state test. She’s also an avid advocate for adoption. She and Jeff adopted Preston when he was 10 days old. She says she had to learn that “motherhood isn’t a given or a right, but a privilege.” She feels privileged to guide Preston through life and hopes that others come to realize that “being a mother is more than blood and genetics.”
Families come in all different shapes and sizes. And we’re so glad Nicole decided to become part of the PH family!