Branding Expert &
Owner of Creative Impressions, Inc.
Debbie Mann - mother, wife, business owner, friend, daughter, sister, and volunteer - has learned firsthand the meaning of sacrifice. After losing her father suddenly, she stepped up to help her mother run the family business, leaving behind a job and community she loved. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle, she found a way to successfully run her family business, while also staying committed to her passion.
LIR: So Debbie, what is Creative Impressions?
DMJ: Creative Impressions is a second generation family and woman owned business that sells promotional products to companies large and small. My parents owned the business and worked together for many years until my dad passed suddenly in 2010.
LIR: Wow. I am so sorry to hear that. Is that when you got involved?
DMJ: At the time I was a Social Worker in a nursing home and decided to leave my position and assist my mom and other members of the Creative Impressions' family. I quickly grew to love the business, my clients, and the fun environment of finding the perfect product for companies to showcase their logo, so I decided to stay full time. Then in 2013 my mom retired from the business and I assumed role of President.
LIR: That's incredible. What a sacrifice. Was it hard to leave your job?
DMJ: It was tough. I have a passion for the elderly and really missed working with them when I joined Creative Impressions. So I wanted to find a way in which I could still help. I had interned at Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) while I was getting my Masters in Social Work and loved their mission but also the residents who lived there and the staff.
LIR: That's great. So what did you do?
DMJ: I started by helping with the annual gala and last year I co-chaired the event. As a mom to a 9-month old, I am now organizing a music class at JCHE for the residents and other moms and babies. I think it's wonderful to have an intergenerational program. It also keeps me connected to JCHE while showing my son at a young age how important it is to volunteer.
LIR: I love it! Where do you get your inspiration?
DMJ: My dad. He always gave great advice when I was growing up, though I didn't always take it, especially when I was younger. But looking back I realized he had lived life and knew what he was talking about! He always said to me, "Debbie, life is a game so play and enjoy it! It is just too short to stress about everything or worry too much. Don't sweat the small stuff."
LIR: That's good advice. Wise man...
DMJ: In the moment, I sometimes forget to sit back and take a breath, but when I do, I thank my dad for giving me this advice. I am very fortunate because my husband Josh is very good at not sweating the small stuff, and he also reminds me of this. Although he never had the fortune of meeting my dad, they seem to be similar in personality which is lucky for me!
LIR: Aw, that is! How do you maintain your work/life balance? Especially wearing all the hats that you do.
DMJ: I think this is something that is ever changing. I was happy to work long days, weekends, nights, and anything else that was needed before I became a mom to Jackson. If a client emailed me at 10pm, I responded and never left work, at work. I found it too difficult with technology being always at my fingertips, and I pride myself on the customer service that we provide to our clients. So, I made myself available whenever needed. However, so much has changed since I became a mom. I don't want Jackson to see me staring at my phone and I don't want to miss anything that he is doing. His abilities are changing daily and I love watching it all! So I try my hardest when I come home to spend time with Jackson (and not my phone or my laptop). It is our time and I wouldn't change it for anything. We then eat dinner as a family (without any phones) so Jackson learns early on the importance of family dinner. It is not always easy to just shut off from work from the time I get home until Jackson goes to bed, but I try very hard. I will then go back on the computer, as needed, after he is asleep. It is a work in progress, but I try hard to be a mom, wife, business owner, friend, daughter, sister, and volunteer. Jackson has really taught me the importance of work/life balance.