Alisa Sleep, Madison Moms Blog

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Alisa Sleep, owner & founder, Madison Moms Blog.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

Balance. Ironically, balance is the most challenging and more rewarding aspect of my business. It’s challenging because I so often blur the lines between work and home life, but it’s rewarding because I am able to work remotely and for the most part set my own hours so that I can be present for my family when they need me. I’ve been told that not knowing how to unplug from my work is both my virtue and my vice. In the past year I have made more of a concerted effort to compartmentalize my work — though it has been challenging to achieve. I suppose what they say is true — when you love your work, it doesn't actually feel like work, and in my case it makes it harder for me to shut it off!

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

There are so many people who inspire and push me every single day, and who I view as innovative path pavers. I admire people who aren’t afraid to fail and who are able to think futuristically to stay ahead of constantly changing trends. Currently, I cannot get enough of Jaclyn Johnson, the founder of Create & Cultivate and the WorkParty podcast (and author of the book WorkParty). WorkParty explores topics for entrepreneurial women who are redefining the meaning of working for themselves and building their brands. She has revolutionized content marketing and events, and she has developed a highly sought-after brand. In the age of websites and digital marketing, it is critical to constantly evolve in order to stay relevant. I admire what Jaclyn has accomplished and she challenges me to continuously think outside of the box.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

We have seen significant growth since our launch in 2013. Building community has always been at the heart of what we do, so the opportunity to connect with so many local families and businesses in the Madison community has certainly been the most rewarding. In addition to our online content, we also host events for our readers to connect, and this has allowed us to build those lasting connections offline. As a self-proclaimed introvert (who loves people), I always feel so relieved and accomplished at the conclusion of each event!

Madison Moms Blog became my full time job in 2014, and we have since grown our executive team to eight and our team of writers to 30. Being able to work alongside such a talented and diverse group of parents from all over Madison has also been a big high point. They have all taught me so much about community and leadership, and I feel truly fortunate to be in a career I love!

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

I had the opportunity to attend a conference and listen to Brene Brown speak last spring, and something she said really resonated with me: “The people who criticize the most are barely hanging on. We don’t judge other people in ways that we feel confident about.” This is so true. It has helped me understand that there is no need to worry about what others think of you, so long as you are true to yourself. I spent too many years worrying about what others would think, but once I was able to let go of that burden, I was able to grow both personally and professionally. At the root of it all it’s important to be a kind person and to always understand your own intent. That way, if someone does criticize or question you, you can be introspective and objective rather than defensive.

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What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

My family moved to Madison six years ago after living in five cities in five years. Madison is truly a hidden gem! Aside from the fact that the people here are so wonderful, Madison is very progressive and forward-thinking and we love that there is SO much to do year round. We are fortunate to have access to some of the best schools in the country and cutting-edge technology and health care. Not only that, but Madison offers UW athletics, an incredible farmers market, a top-notch culinary scene, endless trails and running paths, and a clean, safe community to call home. It truly is the best place to raise our family (even in the winter).

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

Oh gosh, I’m not sure if this is a secret talent, but most people are surprised at how analytical I am! I remember specific dates from elementary school and can solve most math problems without a calculator. My team jokes about it when we are prepping for a large event and need a quick equation solved — they know to just ask me! So those who know me know I’m a closeted math whiz, but those who don’t might be surprised to learn that.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Most people would not consider running to be a guilty pleasure, but I seriously LOVE running. My friends joke that running is like my coffee  — I need it in the morning to energize and function! Aside from that, my ideal relaxation would be a glass of moscato, sushi, and Bloom Bake Shop cupcakes while watching Netflix or Dateline. Any time we host a Madison Moms Blog event, you can bet that later in the evening I’m doing exactly those things at home!

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