Imagine the work that’s entailed when you’re the head honcho of your own PR Biz. Add not one, but two sets of twins to the equation and its enough to make you go, well, a little bit nuts. Though the scenario may seem like an impossibility for some, Dallas denizen Joanne Yurich bounces from mom to boss with enviable fluidity. Owner of public relations firm, The Y Group, and mom of four—Jack and Emma, age 5; Matthew and Jonathan, 7 months old—she opens up about her role as mom, her work and what really makes her tick.
WHAT’S ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU? I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. My family moved to Dallas when I was five.
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED FOUR KIDS? Actually, yes. I feel very fortunate. The age gap between the twins helps a lot. Jack and Emma take care of a lot of things themselves. Somehow it just works.
YOU SEEM TO WEAR QUITE A FEW HATS FOR ONE PERSON. HOW DO YOU MANAGE IT ALL? My life is very busy, but it’s relative—everyone feels busy. I’m amazed at how as a mom, you can just function and go. It’s a mental thing … your children need you, your job needs you, your husband needs you. Fortunately, I don’t get overwhelmed easily—like last night, Jack and Emma were running around, not wanting to get in the shower, one of the babies was crying … but why get stressed? It is what it is. I enjoy life so much more when I have a good attitude … it can change your world. Like when one of my kids wakes me up in the middle of the night. Yes, I’m tired, but I’m so happy to see their sweet face.
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW? Of course there are days where I’d rather be at the park with the kids, but I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. I know myself and I really need the stimulation that my work provides: interacting with clients, brainstorming, exchanging creative ideas … it brings inspiration. My clients are awesome. Some of them I’ve been with for years and know well. I hope to always have the business, but I don’t want it to grow into a large firm. That would take away from my family and my clients, too. We try to give them very personal service. I hope all our clients feel like they’re our only client.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT? Making a difference in other peoples’ lives—my family, the people I do business with, friends, the community. If I didn’t own my own firm and have a flexible schedule, I wouldn’t be able to get involved with volunteer work as much as I do. Additionally, I also do pro-bono work for Hunger Busters—one of the charities that I hold dear. We try to tie them in with our other clients. Just last August, Sprinkles [cupcake shop] partnered with Hunger Busters, not only to provided a third meal to Dallas students enrolled in subsidized meal plans but also raised $5000 for the charity through cupcake sales.
HOW HAS MOTHERHOOD CHANGED YOU? My kids are the reason I started The Y Group—now I have great flexibility and can be more involved in their lives. I’m much more laid back with the kids and really try to enjoy the time I have with them. … Weekends are treasured times with them and Joe [my husband]. I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches. When it comes to parenting, my priorities have changed. I’m not as anal as I used to be. I’m still a neat freak with a Type-A personality, but I’ve learned to let that go at home.
DO YOU HAVE A RECIPE FOR BANISHING STRESS? Volunteering at Greenhill, where Jack and Emma go to school—it’s refreshing and a nice change of pace from my busy schedule.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? To get back into yoga. I used to go on a regular basis and I’ve never felt better than when I was consistent with it. I’d get up early before Jack and Emma woke up and be home from class in time to spend the morning with them.