in good company // issue no. 02 // tara parker tait
Tara Parker Tait has spent most of her career building successful businesses. Just a few short years ago, she was a well-known Vancouver fixture who was seen at all the hip, glamorous parties in town. She was the co-founder of the successful online lifestyle magazine, VitaminDaily.com in addition to founding her own hugely successful PR agency, Tara Parker Tait PR. To put it mildly, she was a force to reckon with. But then she gave it all up for a new, simple life in Southern California, where she could focus on the less cosmopolitan and place more focus on her family, well-being and passion projects.
After turning 40, having her son, Alexander then suffering from post-partum depression, she realized this was a sign to make some changes. BIG changes.
Fast-forward to 2016, she has found what makes her tick and has launched a lifestyle blog for adventurous mamas and their precocious offspring, appropriately called modernnomadlife.com. This past May, she had the first of what will be many retreats called The Great Jane. Inspiring, ambitious and bold, this lady knows how to make s*** happen.
I'm so very pleased to feature Tara Parker Tait in Issue No. 02 of In Good Company. Read all about what she's been up to, her adventures and projects to come!
You’ve had quite the impressive career in editorial, fashion and PR. Give us the Cole’s note version of how you got started.
The creative energy of my hometown (Montreal, Quebec) sparked my wanderlust and inspired me to travel and work throughout North and South America as a journalist, publicist and programmer on cruise ships. Eventually I landed in Vancouver, BC and got my entrepreneur on co-founding VitaminDaily.com, an online lifestyle magazine for women, which sold to Glacier Media Group in 2013. Simultaneously, I launched Tara Parker Tait PR, a fashion and lifestyle public relations firm that serviced all the biggies including Gap, Michael Kors, Cartier, Brooks Brothers, Joe Fresh and many more.
In your words, what is a modern nomad?
Someone who is looking to get out of their comfort zone be it through travel or self-exploration. I think it's all about creating a 'new normal' and to be OK with discomfort - because out of that comes great change and evolution - something I value immensely.
Where do you see Modern Nomad in 5 years?
I see us traveling more and exploring other cultures. Our family is at our best when we are on an adventure and we all want to visit the world together and keep learning and growing our community. I love that about us and really want to nurture that and then share what I have experienced through Modern Nomad. For me, it's more of a personal expression - a way for me to share creatively and in my own voice which has been very fulfilling for me.
So, you packed up your bags, changed course in life and moved the family from Vancouver to California. What triggered the start of that journey?
There are many things from the rain in Vancouver to my feeling like I had accomplished what I wanted to and needed a big shift after my son was born. I suffered from post-partum depression combined with a whack of "what the hell am I doing with my life?" after the birth of Alexander and knew I needed to be bold and brave if I was going to find joy again. At my core, I love big cities and exploration and sun! So we tested it out a few times and knew California was the place for us - which has been incredibly difficult but worth all of the struggle to get here and feel the love and gratitude we have for our home and our community.
In your video, you say that once you had your son Alexander, you felt like there was no meaning in what you were doing anymore. What did his mean to you?
I think it was such an incredible shift in consciousness for me when my son was born. I was this power-hungry raging capitalist with a passion for fashion (pardon the rhyme!) and then when Alexander was born, my core values shifted dramatically and I could no longer be that person. It was such a challenging time for me. I was so in love with my son and only wanted to be with him yet felt pulled in a million directions and really quite alone. I tried to still be who I was before he came along but it didn't work and in the end, I knew I had to make some changes so I could really explore what was next for us as a family and me as a woman and mama.
You started another amazing venture called The GREAT Jane, a wellness retreat for (new) moms where they can seek mentorship, a place for them to rejuvenate and to discover what their next chapter is in life. Did your own life changes inspire TGJ? What do you hope to accomplish?
Yes it definitely inspired this new movement! My co-founders and I really wanted to create something that would fulfill all of the amazing mamas in our lives as well as ourselves. There is a huge demand for community here and really magical things happen when women come together with a combined intention and it can be very powerful. We had the first retreat in Ojai, CA and it was one of the best weekends of my life just knowing how much love there was present and how needed this was for everyone. It was really fulfilling on such a deep level and we can't wait to do the next one this coming fall on the east coast.
Where does The GREAT Jane name come from?
We are all Great Jane's - we want this to be a weekend that appealed to all women and we feel the name reflected that. No matter where you are at in your creative or personal journey, there is a common thread and desire for community and connection and that's what The GREAT Jane is all about.
How did you manage to get this amazing line up of women mentors for The GREAT Jane?
I think that so many amazing mentors wanted to be a part of this because they get what we are trying to achieve and feel the same way about wanting to create community in their own lives. Plus my co-founders Bash Please and HeyMama have some incredible relationships here in California and in NYC, so I was lucky to have the opportunity to tap into that.
You dominated PR in your past professional life with Tara Parker Tait PR. How are you leveraging those skills to bring attention to your new, more personal projects?
I think at my core I am and always will be a connector and now I'm just shifting how I use that skill to have more social impact and meaning for me personally. I am about to launch a new consulting service that will help female led businesses and mompreneurs find their authentic voice. I will still be doing what I love - creating meaningful events, mentoring and connecting women with one another to create change and make things happen. I have also really been inspired to help brands reach mamas in a more creative way. Right now everyone is so hyper-focused on millennials that they are forgetting about us and I think there is a ton of benefit being able to connect likeminded brands to all of the amazing women in my networks. It's still about messaging, branding and events but in a much more personal way that represents my core values as a mama and female professional in her mid-40's.
What are three qualities you look for in the tribe of women you surround yourself with?
Love, acceptance, generosity of spirit and curiosity.
How do you balance everything between being a mother, wife and now a blogger, entrepreneur & strategist?
I think balance is really a myth and we try more for integration. There is never a week that is the same in my life so for me it's about being an opportunist and learning to ask for what I want and need when I want and need it. Sometimes it doesn't work out and then it becomes about making that ok and not beating myself up about it.
I am really committed to Taryn Toomey's The Class, which just launched in LA and it has been a life-saver for me both in my mind and body. I think it's so important for me after battling with depression and anxiety to have an outlet like The Class, which is part therapy, part work-out and part moving meditation. And writing is also a great release for me and its why Modern Nomad is so important. Lastly, my tribe of mamas get me through every time - I don't know what I would do if I couldn't cry or vent to them on a weekly basis!
I'm a big believer in 'ah-ha' moments and that timing is everything and things happen for a reason. What has been your biggest ah-ha moment in life?
I really think I have had many at various stages of my life but I do know that reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly was a major turning point in my being able to make the change from Vancouver to LA. That, and having a business relationship with a client in my PR firm go completely sideways and it forcing me into a very uncomfortable financial position. I am someone who keeps going and doesn't like to give up, so learning that failure or things all blowing up in your face can sometimes be the best thing to happen to you is a great lesson for me and is one that I am passionate about passing onto my son.
What does your average day look like?
Right now I am trying to have days where I write more and days where I am out meeting mamas and clients. That being said, summer vacation just started so now it will be all about trying to integrate time with my son and my family, making my work happen, including planning the fall retreat for The GREAT Jane.
What inspires you?
Kids inspire me all the time as they are so able to be present, talk their stuff out quickly and they have no filter, which I really, REALLY love.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
I love where we live and what I do so I feel pretty grateful to be where I am everyday, even on Mondays.
Is the risk really worth the reward?
Yes always in my opinion! But you have to know how much you personally are comfortable risking. I have a high level of risk tolerance but not everyone does. It's best to see how much you personally are comfortable with and go from there.
When have you been the most satisfied in your life?
You currently reside in southern California and live in a little beach house. What’s the one thing you love about living and working there?
The sun and the amazing women I get to meet daily. Seeing my husband bike everywhere and be by the ocean, which he loves is also incredible. And my son's progressive school is all that I hoped it would be. Its a place that is really teaching him to love learning, which is amazing for us to see.
Besides your son, what’s the single biggest achievement in your life so far?
Getting to California, which has been very challenging logistically, but so rewarding on so many levels.
I love food and I love to cook. What’s the one meal you cook that your family loves?
I am an expert quesadilla maker! My husband is our resident chef and I am very lucky that he finds it cathartic and is passing it onto our son, who is a MAJOR Gordon Ramsay fan.
What makes a great leader?
Mentorship, patience and being a good listener. All things I am really working on daily.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Gloria Steinem's On The Road, which is amazing!
What one word best describes you are a mother?
What one word best describes you are a wife?
What one word best describes you are a boss lady?
What one word best describes you are a friend?