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Maternal Instincts

Katie Hintz-Zambrano, the cofounder of Mother magazine, just drew hundreds of mom acolytes to a conference at Fort Mason. Here's how she did it.


A couple hundred momtrepreneurs descend upon Fort Mason to discuss motherhood, community, and biz at the second annual In Good Company conference.

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In Good Company founder Katie Hintz-Zambrano kicks off the festivities, which include creativity workshops and a keynote by model-activist Christy Turlington Burns.

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Mother-of-one Katie Hintz-Zambrano is working the room. She floats from group to group at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in a hand-painted dress, mingling with friends and soon-to-be friends. Today is the second-ever In Good Company, the one-day, nine-hour conference founded by Hintz-Zambrano, the San Francisco–based cocreator of online parenting magazine Mother.

Although she may not yet be a household name, she clearly aims to be. At this event, Hintz-Zambrano is basically Gwyneth Paltrow. A friend brings her ice cream. A woman from Brazil approaches to shyly profess her admiration. Spotting another attendee, Hintz-Zambrano shouts, “I’ll see you at the bus stop!” (OK, Gwyneth wouldn’t say that.)

In attendance at the sold-out event are over 400 women who have come to listen to model Christy Turlington Burns, artist Justina Blakeney, fashion designer Mara Hoffman, and others talk about motherhood, careers, and motherhood-and-careers. “I’ve always gravitated toward these cool women who have interesting careers and also have kids,” Hintz-Zambrano says.

If Goop, Paltrow’s empire, often elicits shrugs, shopping, or self-doubt, Hintz-Zambrano’s dominion-in-the-making is about empowerment—for herself and others. Her mission? “Connecting different groups of women to create interesting, unexpected communities,” she says. Mother receives hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, drawing them in with slick profiles of, say, a Madewell designer or a North Carolina potter, news on breastfeeding, and guides to playground-friendly jumpsuits. And then there’s Cool Moms Club, a private Facebook group that Hintz-Zambrano created with friend Jeanne Chan in 2013 that now has 510 members—including me. Soon after I moved to the Bay Area in 2015 and became a mom, women began asking me if I was part of her club yet—some starry-eyed, some with an eye roll.

Fast-forward to today and few San Francisco happenings or launches that involve creative, intelligent, wealthy women occur without Hintz-Zambrano’s golden touch. When the Wing, a women-only coworking space, was opening, she consulted with its director of member experience on “getting a good mix of women into their membership ranks,” she says. This led to their hosting a social at Marigold, a charming flower shop in the Mission. Megan Papay, a co-owner of the Bay Area shoe brand Freda Salvador, offers this endorsement of Hintz-Zambrano: “Women trust her and listen to what she has to say.”

“I always try to widen my circle,” Hintz-Zambrano says. “If there’s something you want to get into and you feel like you don’t have access to it, just introduce yourself.” She is well-connected, sure, and she’s unafraid to turn her relationships into monetization opportunities, funneling women to events, brand sponsorships, and profit. She doesn’t see that as a contradiction. “Entrepreneurship is so glamorized, but there’s a realistic side to it,” she says, acknowledging head-on the elephant in the room. “Creative professions are often not taken seriously, but I have to make money, and so do most women I know.”


Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco 

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