Life Lessons: Sandy Gerber

Make your business fit your life, not the other way round

Sandy Gerber, CEO, Next Marketing Agency

In 2006, Sandy Gerber was a busy working mom based in Vancouver. She was in the midst of a high-flying career as a marketer who had worked with such high-profile clients as Molson Canadian (the “I am Canadian” campaign) and the British Columbia Lottery Corp. (PlayNow.com website).

“I was making six figures; I was flying all over the world,” Gerber said.

Then she had what she calls her “Rachel moment.” While on a family vacation, her son fell. Gerber ran to help him, but instead of reaching for her, he asked for Rachel – the family’s nanny.

“I was so blown away that that actually happened,” Gerber recalled.

Gerber had never seen herself as a stay-at-home mom – “When I was on mat leave I alphabetized cans of soup, I was so bored,” she said – but she felt she had to make a change.

She left her job and started her own company, Next Marketing Agency. She designed the company so that she could both spend time caring for her two children and run a business.

It required business-not-as-usual.

“I would just be different … I looked at how I could provide services for my clients,” she said.

Instead of hiring employees, Gerber “Next-certified” marketing consultants she already knew and trusted.

“These were people who had their own businesses. They became my extended team.”

She had to set up client meetings at times that worked for her, but she has yet to lose a customer because of it.

“I structured and prioritized my day,” she said. “I was very transparent with my clients, and told them what was going on.”

“A good friend of mine, Alyson Jones, she’s a renowned psychiatrist. She has this philosophy called ‘more.’ She says you don’t have to be a perfectionist; you have to be an exceptionalist. And I love that. I’ve always found ways to be the exception.”