I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Terrie Goldstein

Putting ideals into practice

“We are all more willing to share our personal issues now, whereas years ago we tended to keep them under wraps.” 

Terrie Goldstein launched Hudson Valley Parent magazine 20 years ago out of her home in Monroe. Goldstein’s various businesses continue to thrive while supporting a team of full- and part-time employees in a family-friendly workplace — proving that women really can “have it all.” 

Stay-at-home mom turned Hudson Valley publishing mogul Terrie Goldstein knows firsthand the challenges of balancing motherhood and work life.

The owner of the Exciting Read Publishing Group — which includes Hudson Valley Parent, Hudson Valley Baby, MyFamilyTripPlanner.com, The Undercover Kids book series —has managed to balance the demands of work and home since launching her first business more than 30 years ago. Perhaps more importantly, she provides ample opportunities for her employees to do the same.

“The fact is for many women, even more than for men, we really want to spend time caring for our families and raising children,” says Goldstein. “But then at a certain point, it’s also important for us to nurture ourselves and make a living. Those two states aren’t always compatible.”

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Goldstein and her first husband relocated to the Hudson Valley from Brooklyn in 1967. At the time, she stayed at home with her sons Paul (now 48 and married with two children of his own) and Eliot, 45. Once the boys were in school full time, Goldstein decided to finish the one year she had left to get her undergraduate degree, attending Empire College in 1974.

Degree in hand, Goldstein went on to earn her masters at Manhattanville College. It was there she learned a valuable lesson that provided the basis for the rest of her career.

“I was able to design my own classes based on what I actually wanted to learn,” Goldstein recalls. “I focused on women in literature and math, and got a teaching certificate. Most of the people in my classes were also women in their late 30s, and I remember one teacher telling us that the ‘problem with us’ was that we want a perfect job from 9 to 3 that allowed us to work and be at home with our children and that those jobs didn’t really exist. I remember being really angry; that comment has stayed with me and has spurred me on for years now.”

After graduation, she worked as marketing director at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Rockland Psychiatric Center and Arc. All the while that one teacher’s statement kept ringing in her ears.

“I can’t tell you how many times one of my sons would call me at the office because they fell off their bike or something else happened,” she says. “I worked 40 minutes away, while their father was a doctor in town, just a few minutes away. I found that the demands of working for a typical corporation didn’t allow me to be the mom I wanted to be, so I decided to start my own firm and operate it in a way that would allow me and the people who worked for me to balance home and work.”

Goldstein launched The Professional Image marketing firm in 1983, deciding almost immediately that in order to make a real difference, it should target specific markets. She and her team discovered that the parenting market, already a natural fit for her, was also a potentially profitable one.

From the beginning, Goldstein aimed to establish a workplace that allows women to fulfill their ambitions at home and at work by being flexible about schedules and allowing women to work from home when necessary.

For the first year, the magazine was called Oodles of Fun, with a parrot mascot that appeared at events throughout the area. “The only problem was that parents thought, based on the name of the publication, that it was a kids magazine,” says Goldstein. “Even though all the articles were for parents, we couldn’t change their minds. So instead of fighting it, we changed our name the following year to Hudson Valley Parent.” 

Goldstein launched Hudson Valley Parent magazine in May of 1994. In the past 20 years, there have been enormous changes in parenting and, more specifically, for working women. But Goldstein believes many of the same inherent issues remain.

“I was looking at old magazines the other day, and I was struck by how the same issues that resonated then resonate now as well,” she says. “We published a story written by a pediatrician about Hillary Clinton’s approach to national healthcare — and we’re still having conversations about the best way to provide healthcare on a national scale today!”

But while many of the same stories still exist, the tone in which they’re told has changed.

“We recently ran a piece about a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Goldstein says. “It was heartbreaking and told in a very straightforward way. I don’t think we would have been able to publish that 20 years ago. We are all more willing to share our personal issues now, whereas years ago we tended to keep them under wraps.”

The first issue of the re-named Hudson Valley Parent featured a portrait of New York’s then- First Lady Libby Pataki, painted by Clayton Buchanan, Goldstein’s husband of 27 years. The portrait currently hangs in the Women’s National Republican Club in New York City. 

Goldstein’s business model has undergone similar shifts, though her modus operandi has remained the same.

“Twenty years ago, everyone worked in our office,” she says. “While we always tried to accommodate everyone’s needs, they still had to be here. Now, technology enables me to have two of my key employees — the editor and graphic designer — work from home.”

Goldstein says she’s had to change her mindset about how workplace communication is conducted, but ultimately it has allowed her to pull from pools of talent that would have been unavailable without those changes.

“The Hudson Valley is a wonderful place to live and run a business,” she says. “At Hudson Valley Parent magazine, we aim to present a local point of view for parents who are interested in really being parents.”

And it’s not just a magazine, of course. Hudson Valley Parent’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 followers. “It’s vibrant, noisy, engaged and very different from the magazine,” she says. “People come to us for different reasons at different stages in their lives.”

Goldstein’s various businesses continue to thrive while supporting a team of full- and part-time employees in a family-friendly workplace — proving, finally, that maybe women really can “have it all.” We just have to work for it.

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