Rebecca Kerper, Chief Digital Officer at HSN and mother of four boys, believes that living with purpose and being fulfilled have made her a better mom. In this conversation with Cherissa Kell, she discusses a common tendency to second guess decisions along the way. Regardless, both of these successful women recognize the importance of being present and being a role model for your family and your teams.
Introducing Rebecca Kerper, Chief Digital Officer HSN
Rebecca Kerper is an insightful digital transformation expert and multi-platform marketer who has successfully driven billion-dollar eCommerce retail businesses over the past two decades. A passionate storyteller, Rebecca has a knack for setting trends in topics such as eCommerce video and content strategies that drive both earned and paid traffic.
She also excels at building strategic partnerships in order to exceed sales, acquisition, and efficiency goals. Through her role as an influential communicator, Rebecca additionally loves empowering young leaders and furthering the success of a cross-functional digital team.
Having spent many years gaining invaluable experience in various departments at Qurate Retail Group — including eCommerce, Marketing, and Broadcasting — she currently serves as their Chief Digital Officer for HSN. She has previous held a variety of roles, including as the VP Commerce Platforms at QVC Italy in Milan in 2015 and VP Digital and Creative in Tampa FL in 2018.
Rebecca is a mother of four boys ranging from 13 to 18 years of age! As if that weren’t enough, Rebecca is also Executive Sponsor of Qurate’s Women’s Initiative Network (Team Member Resource Group), regularly volunteers time at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and is a Member Women In Retail Leadership Circle.
This episode of Pearls onBoards was produced by Mix Theory Studios, a music and multimedia studio located in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. This show features original music written, mixed and mastered by Punchboi and DJ PM, the music production team of Mix Theory Studios.
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heaven is right in front of you. So it’s like you, keep thinking of I can’t wait until, I can’t wait until, but like, It’s here, it’s it’s happening right now. Or I do try to keep that in mind of can’t keep waiting for something amazing to happen. It, it, it’s possible that this is all amazing, you know, it’s happening here
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Pearls on Boards. . Today… We’ll be sitting down with Rebecca Kerper. She is the Chief Digital Officer at HSN. She started at QVC 22 years ago and that took her through several different positions and to Italy and then when QVC purchased HSN in 2018, she switched over to their team and now lives in Tampa with her family.
She has a mom of four boys. . Hey, Rebecca. How are you today?
I’m good. Yeah.
Thanks for chatting with me. you’ve been at HSN for 20 years, and Well, actually no. So I started at Q V C us for I don’t know, 10, 15 years. And then I went to Q V C Italy. I was there for three years. And then I was in Italy when Q V C bought H S N, so that’s what brought me here. So I’ve been here for five years. I have four boys and right now, they are 18, 16, 14, and 13.
Okay, so how did you do Four boys?
When people are like, how do you do four? And I always go back to. Remember before you had kids and you said, I don’t have enough time and I don’t have enough money, and then you have one and you’re like, I don’t have enough time and I don’t have enough money.
It doesn’t matter where you are in life, you don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. So having four versus one or having zero, it’s it’s all the same stress, especially if you’re working full-time and your spouses or partners working or not. It’s just nonstop stress. My husband and I both worked full-time, and he’s a nurse. He was working in an emergency department, so he worked, 12 hour shifts. And had an hour and a half commute too, both ways.
So like the days that he was working, he was out, we didn’t see him. But then it was great that on the days he wasn’t working, he had the kids. So we had a village and the village helped and fed the village too.
But Yeah. it I think that part of my story is the fact that it was so crazy, but it was also what brought me the most joy,
Of just being able to escape, and go to work was my joy. It really was. and then also being able to be home with them. I mean, it was a great balance for me. Not balance. It was a great Juggle Great struggle. And at times I was like, what am I doing? The village absolutely helped.
I feel like that’s the consistent thing that I hear from people. Like Some people have that built-in village of like family that lives near them. Like I don’t, I didn’t ever have that, but it’s that tribal thing, like you’re all doing it together and you throw babies at each other and you’re like, hot potato wing kids and doing dinner and you just do it.
It’s the same for me, like we had family close by I think we probably depended more on our neighbors, the people that we kind of all raised our kids together and it was just like, who needs to be in the car? Everyone get in. Dinners, all of that stuff because it’s just one, it’s just exhausting.
And then two, I think you need community.
I think like moving the way that we did and being more isolated from people that we knew it’s made me really realize that I. Community in any sense, is so important not just to get help with your kids, but also to feel like you have a place of connection, even if your community is work.
Because, It’s just without that, you can just get so sucked into the grind and it’s, exhausting.
Have you seen that new, Blue Zone Netflix special or like the how to live to a hundred or something like that?
Oh, my husband’s watching that.
It’s good. It’s, so, we lived in Japan, so I was super excited to watch the, Okinawa part. But that was the theme for all these people that live, they all had community, they had like a sense of purpose and community and I think that that’s in America.
We like forget that. That’s okay. I totally believe it, because we had such a circle.
And then like our circles have just changed Everywhere that we’ve moved. I, can feel it. I can see it, I can feel it. And again, not just with kids, just for myself, for my own sanity. Yeah.
Do you think that learning to rely on like that community is what helped you excel in business? ’cause you had to learn how to like delegate and let go a little bit. Probably, I never thought about it like that, but Yeah.
I mean, I think that, when you’re in the midst of parenting mothering, becomes this all hands on deck or how do you take time for yourself now, or do you carve out time for yourself now?
I do, I wake up early and I meditate. And then I like do a little journaling, like this whole thing. So that’s, that’s how I like to start my mornings off. And then spend a lot of time walking. Like I’ll walk the dogs during the day.
That’s really great break for me. I do my best thinking when I’m outside. So even if I’m . Struggling with something or I have a bad meeting and I’m just like, in my mind, you have to go outside.
Okay. So I wanna ask how you trained yourself not to feel guilty. I feel guilty sometimes. And so I would love to know . How long did it take you to train yourself and how did you do it?
I don’t even know how long it took me. It was just something that I adopted. Um, When I was home on maternity with my first, I realized how much I loved working not just that I loved working, but like the purpose that I felt. And so I really focused on that in that I can tell that I’m a better mom when I’m doing something that fulfills me.
And like for me, my work, it’s just always fulfilled me because I’ve always really enjoyed what I’ve, So that was part of it, is that I I think, I hope that my kids. See me as I show up as a better mom because I’m working and I think that
they see me, putting in the hours hustling. Like I love that now that, that I’m home. They’re not supposed to be in here, but they can hear me, you they know what’s going on and they um, see what I do. And so I think that instead of feeling guilty about that, I let that fuel me
My weekends are so much sweeter because I get to spend time with them. And because I’ve been working so hard, instead of I have to get everything in the weekends ’cause I have to go back to work and also I think that I just looked at it from the perspective of if I have to leave work to go to a doctor’s appointment or whatever, or to a school play, like I, I would always think about if someone that I know and that I work with goes on vacation. I’ve never been like, oh, that person’s gone now.
What are we gonna do? But it’s oh, that person’s on vacation. Okay, we move on.
And so I think that approaching it with perspective, approaching it with humor for me It helps to release that guilt because not that I don’t have any of it because I have a lot, I just think that we have to take it easy on ourselves I feel like my guilt maybe doesn’t come from work. ’cause I work from home so I see them and stuff like that. But I think my guilt comes from feeling like I didn’t savor enough I had a memory pop up and they were in Japan and we were at this beautiful shrine and they were cute and chubby and that whole time felt like that was the beginning of my business. When I had the idea, I was training 30 plus hours a week in triathlon. I had no childcare help. I really had to rely on this community of women there that didn’t really speak English very well.
And I didn’t speak Japanese, and so I felt like it was chaos. In the moment, in, that time. And now looking back, I’m like, oh my gosh, it was so easy, I was just training for a triathlon and not speaking the native language. That’s just what was so hard. but that is interesting. I never thought about it like that. I do have guilt about did I do enough they don’t want me to read to them anymore.
And I, we used to read to them every night, and I’m just like, should I have pushed for that to go on longer? because I, miss that so much. And so I don’t know if it’s guilt as much as it is, second guessing some of my choices, or if I had done this, would it have turned out differently? But I just have to just keep thinking I’m doing what I can
It is incredible to see them start to, number one, become Men, boys that you know, that I molded with my husband. But at the same time for them to start to be themselves. And it’s absolutely every day I go, I can’t believe this. Because a lot of people who have two will go, they’re really different from each other. One’s black, one’s white one’s up, one’s down. And it’s amazing to me that four can be so different from each other. Like, It doesn’t seem mathematically possible, but like they are completely. Different. like, I got two introverts and two extroverts, so there’s that. But they’re just all their own people. And so I just, I think it’s in incredible to watch that. it’s, it’s tiring. We cannot keep enough food in the house. There’s always, a friend over someone. Something’s always, something’s getting broken. They’re riling up the dogs like, But at the end of the day, I do look at them and go, oh my gosh, I cannot believe that I made you like, I can’t believe my oldest, who is in the Air Force now.
Like, I can’t believe he made that decision. I, I had nothing to do with it. He did it. He researched it, he figured out what branch he wanted to go to. He figured out he wanted to do the special warfare program. I didn’t even know what that was. And then, I was just like, I can’t, I literally can’t believe you’re doing this. I can’t believe that I raised somebody who. Wants to raise their hand to do it. Like I, it literally, it blew my mind when I was there for training, graduation. I was like, I can’t believe you did that. You got up out of bed and you walked and you did all these scary things, and now you wanna keep going. For me, when I was growing up, it was assumed that I was going to go to college it wasn’t even a question. And so I think it’s cool that we raised him to know that, options. ’cause he does want to go to college eventually, but he said Why should I go to college if I don’t know what I wanna do yet? And I’m like, you go to college to party. Like, What, what whatcha talking about? like, I dunno what you don’t go to study, you go to make friends and hang out.
Um, but it was just such like this rational, mature, I was just like, I was really proud of him. And so they all are becoming their own people, which. Again, is maddening and infuriating. ’cause you can’t, you know, parent them all the same way, but at the same time it is like, okay, that’s, that’s pretty cool that really figuring out who they are, what they want, what they don’t want.
So really proud of them for all that, proud of us.
I feel like that has to feel like when you look back on the things that you did in your career and maybe wondering should I have taken this advancement or moved them to this country or done this thing and then you see your son like swear in to serve his country at 18. That probably had to be like, well, shit, I did it all.
Okay. like you. Yeah, I mean, we.
I didn’t break them. I do not yet. At least I know. ‘ I have second guessed a lot of the decisions that we’ve made. Um, like I said, we lived before outside of Philadelphia, had that community. We had a tight-knit group. We had my sisters, my family, like my in-laws, they all lived within, you a half hour of us. And we, we took that away from them, essentially. But then it’s also well if we hadn’t done that What they have been as scrappy and as, you you know, able to walk into a room and kind of know how to manage it. And so there’s, those things that I think were really influential in making them who they are. some video that we watched the other day talking about how heaven is right in front of you. So it’s like you, keep thinking of I can’t wait until, I can’t wait until, but like, It’s here, it’s it’s happening right now. Or
I do try to keep that in mind of can’t keep waiting for something amazing to happen. It, it, it’s possible that this is all amazing, you know, it’s happening here. And At the end. Whatever we choose, if we choose to be home and fully devoted to that, if we choose to work and also juggle, like being a parent. I think ultimately what I have seen consistently is like being present when you’re with your children.
Making them feel safe and loved and heard, that’s it. with them, I’m playing games and I’m drawing, and I’m shark teeth hunting or doing riding bikes or whatever it is.
But I don’t, I’m fully . Present with them. I feel like those hours are so much more like impactful, yeah, I think that in a best case scenario, you’re fully present. And I also think that realistically, when you are. Sitting next to them and they’re playing a video game and you’re on your phone like you’re still sitting next to ’em. So, I think it’s
Being there. it’s Being there.
Yeah. It’s a really big deal.
Did you ever video games with your boys? I just started, I hate video
I hate it so much. I hate it so much.
They love some basketball N B A something, something two k, I dunno. But when they ask me, I’m just like, oh, yes, I’ll play. I, I hate it so much, but I’m like, they wanna hang out with me. Or the other day they were, two of them were playing in, one of the kids in one of their rooms and he was like, mama, you wanna come and sit in here and watch us?
And I was like, yes, I do. And I sat on that stupid Papa is on chair and I watched them play a video game for 20 minutes. And I was like, they want me in here. And. I had no idea what was going on. I was so uninterested in it and I was itching to, take my phone out. But I didn’t, ’cause I just was like, it’s happening. They want me here.
You must know the Haverford school being in Pennsylvania. So I was like researching them. ’cause I’ve on this hunt for like, how to raise good boys lately, and I found a book How to Raise Boys, how to Raise a Boy. Recommended by them.
And so I was listening to it the other day while I was driving actually here to the studio and it was talking about like even if it’s just 20 minutes, just 10 minutes, just doing something they don’t need like hours and hours. They need like just 10 minutes of you doing this thing that they love. And so I started doing that and they all know I don’t like video games, but I ordered myself a pink video game controller and they like.
It’s been transformative, and I don’t use that word lightly, like I’ve been doing it for the last month and one day a week I just sit down with them for 30 minutes and they teach me everything. But they, they’re so excited and engaged and they’re like, my mom does not like video games and know, and like they get
So excited and they wanna share this thing ’cause I’m the one teaching them all the time and now they have this thing they get to teach me and it’s been huge. Like, I actually feel like I get more work done now because I’ve given them this gift of like intentional concentrated time with them that was meaningful instead of me picking the activity or whatever.
Like it’s been huge.
Oh, I love it so much. I wanna go get a controller. we lived in Europe like every city you went to, there was church you had to go to or like an art museum. ’cause we’re really into art. My husband and I are and like We were somewhere and one of the kids was like, I am not going to another church. I am not. And so when we travel now we’re like, okay, if we’re gonna Do something cultural, we’re gonna go to a park too. Or ’cause it’s, it’s like thinking I never thought about it. before. ’cause I’m like, when you’re in, I. I don’t know, Milan, you go to the Duomo and then you go to the opera who doesn’t wanna tour? La Scala Opera House? And then I’m like, oh Yeah. he’s like five. This sticks for him. And so I love the idea of seeing it from their eyes.
I think I go back to what I said earlier, which is being a good mom, It means that you are fulfilled in some way, in whatever way that looks to you. For some people it’s work. For some people it’s hobbies. For some people it’s going for a walk or whatever.
And like even what we were talking about with guilt, you have to take it easy on ourselves and we have to have perspective and we have to realize that, doing what you want. For yourself is, is actually a really, really good thing. And we can’t look to others to build our story for us. So I want what that person has, you have to build what you want to have and, ’cause no one is in the situation that you are in. So that’s a big part of it, is being gentle with yourself. Whether that’s at home or whether that’s at work. , finding something that fulfills you and not feeling guilty about that. Taking time for yourself and just model, be a model, be a model to your kids of
I am a career woman, or I’m starting a career, I’m in a career and like, here’s badass for me.
And then also for the people that you work with to say like, if it’s appropriate like, yeah, I’m leaving. Because I have this thing, or because your employees, your team members, they’re watching you. They’re, they’re looking at you and seeing that I’m not pouring everything into this.
Like I’m pouring myself into what I wanna pour myself into. I think especially as a manager, when you get into management, to model that for other people is really powerful because there’s, there’s a lot of women who are looking for that. There’s a lot of moms. Who are looking for role models like that to go oh, I can have it all because I, I thought that I had to sacrifice one side of my life for the other.
And so I think that if we as women, as moms can really show up for each other in that way and support each other even without saying it like, I support you as a working mother, but just to like show it. I think that that goes a really long way.
yeah. I agree and I think that, as I. Somebody in your position. I think it’s huge that you are modeling that for, you know, people under you. Because I do, I think it gives them then the permission to be like, I, I can be successful in my career and also know my children, I think that, If I’ve learned anything, what you say and what you do, I, I watch what people do.
Right. Like you hear that your whole life, but it really is true. And so when you see women who are bold enough to like model that in the workplace, I think that is huge to give women that permission.
I totally agree. Totally agree.
I love it. Well, thank you for joining me