Storytime. Coloring. Snacks. A nap if you need it. Just another day at Hunter PR’s New York City office? Not exactly.

July 6, 2018 // By: // No Comments

Hunter Public Relations      Uncategorized

On Thursday, June 28th, Hunter hosted its inaugural “Hunter Playdate,” a fun and festive “work day” to introduce Hunter kids to the world in which Hunter adults work. Thirty children – ranging in age from eight months to 18 years – were invited to Hunter HQ to learn what their parents (and aunts and uncles and “aunts” and “uncles”) do at the office every day. And 100 plus agency staff got to join in the fun, too.

So, what really happens at a Hunter Playdate you ask? We asked two Hunter moms to share their favorite Hunter Playdate moments and why this day was important to them as working parents.

As told by Dena Martini Toms, Senior Vice President and soon-to-be mom of three:

On the fourth Thursday of every April, an entourage of children find themselves aboard NJ Transit and other metro public transportation to head to the office with mom or dad, as working parents celebrate national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. And every year on that day, I commute solo, met on the other side with daylong meetings, back-to-back conference calls, and presentation deadlines. Any public relations practitioner knows that clients tend to come alive in springtime, launching into heavy execution, weekly media, and consumer events, and for those who bless us by preparing ahead, the start to integrated brand planning – this is certainly no time for my three and six-year-old sons to grace the halls of Hunter PR.

Nevertheless, the troupe of mini commuters annually warms my heart and with our agency’s history of welcoming family into the office to experience all that we do from 9-5 (err, 9-7) a la the 2014 Hunter PR Take Your Parents to Work Day, it was due time to host the first-ever Hunter Playdate to which agency moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and more would be invited to officially kick off summer at 41 Madison Avenue with the children that they love. Based on crowdsourcing and casual conversations, I knew a day of play, creativity, and a peek into the world of marketing would be a hit with the 30 kids slated to attend; what I didn’t realize was what an enriching experience Hunter Playdate would turn into for the entire organization of 100 plus agency staff.

Like any good marketer, I love a bulleted list of reasons to believe. So, here you have my personal RTBs for why Hunter touched an entire company of professionals with its inaugural Playdate:

• More than 50% of the Playdate committee who were responsible for planning and executing the event did not have children of their own, but simply loved the idea of sharing their passion for PR with the next generation.

• Hunter delighted all staff in a desk drop of bubbles and a note outlining the Playdate activities so that everyone would feel like a kid again. (Needless to say, most hungry and social media-savvy Hunters – with kids in tow or not – made time to enjoy an agency-wide New York bagel breakfast and an interactive photo booth.)

• A published author, illustrator and Hunter’s very own design guru, Eric Losh, read his children’s book “Wonders of the Annamites” to attendees six and under, exposing them to the vast and unexpected talents of PR agency professionals.

• Select Hunter partners led a client brainstorm of the mini-minds, showing attendees ages seven and up how to approach strategic challenges and voice their creative ideas.

• Long-term staff described the event as one of their favorite Hunter days at the office in years and agency rookies manned interactive stations to give kids a touch and a taste of what clients from candy brands to personal care items offer consumers.

With the above in mind, I’m looking forward to next year’s summer gathering – not only to share my professional life with the two boys who mean so much to me personally, but also to introduce my soon-to-be baby girl to the incredible rewards of working motherhood and the fantastic and intelligent people I get to be surrounded by each workday.

As told by Erin Hanson, Partner, and mom of energetic twin boys and one sassy daughter:

As a mom, you can spend a lot of time trying to get into the complex brains of your young kids and figuring out what they think about the world around them. If you’re lucky, sometimes they even invite you in: “Mama, why do they call hot dogs ‘hot dogs’?” “Why do all the dangerous animals live in Australia?” “What’s caramel made of?” Thankfully, for most of these questions, “Alexa” or “OK, Google” can save the day.

But for one of the most important questions of all: “Mama, what do you do all day when you’re at work?” I’m pretty sure my two five-year-old sons and two-year-old daughter aren’t up for a lengthy explanation on the nuances of public relations and marketing. So, the only way to truly help them understand is to show them in person.

On Thursday, June 28th, my husband and I loaded our kids into the car and trekked into the City to show them the building they had only seen before as a square box on the skyline. Hunter’s first-ever “Hunter Playdate” came at a perfect time, as my sons are just starting to take an interest in what Mama does and my daughter is more aware of the fact that I’m not home five days of the week.

What I loved the most about our day at the office was just how much my kids made themselves at home. From hugs with colleagues they’d met before, to fast friendships with their mini-Hunter counterparts; meeting their favorite author/illustrator in person (“he drew us a lizard, Mama!”) or running up and down the halls like they owned the joint, my kids made 41 Madison their own. And I saw the synapses firing, as they took in the sights and sounds of my office. All of a sudden it made sense why Mama came home with all the Star Wars Band-Aids. And why Dad jokingly referred to family discussions as “brainstorms.”

I also learned a little bit about them, as soon after we arrived they were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One son wants to be a deep-sea diver. One wants to be a “robot archeologist.” It amuses me that neither are desk jobs and when I asked them if they wanted to come to work every day instead of school, I got a resounding “NO!” “Work,” per usual, has pretty terrible PR. But hopefully, their day at Hunter helped them see it a little bit differently.

By the end of the day, their big takeaways were that I have a lot of candy in the office, I work with nice people, and I am surrounded by a bunch of radiators that are fun to jump off and on. That Mama has photos of them all over and her office is full of colored Post-it Notes. That they “found” the little orange glitter calming jar we made together and that it’s displayed proudly on my desk.

So, when I wave goodbye in the morning and head up the hill to the train, hopefully they have a better idea of what I’ll be doing all day. Maybe they think I’m eating cupcakes and surrounded by balloons and jumping off my radiators. But hopefully, it makes them smile.

The first Hunter Playdate is officially in the books and we cannot wait to make even more memories at next year’s edition!


About the Author

Erin Hanson and Dena Martini Toms

Erin Hanson is a Partner and Dena Martini Toms is a Senior Vice President at Hunter PR