The MNY Spotlight

Meet Judith Maloy, Director and CEO of Polaris Direct

Introduce yourself!

My name is Judith Maloy, I'm Director and CEO of Polaris Direct, a nationally-acclaimed direct marketing services and printing company located in Hooksett, NH, about an hour north of Boston.  We specialize in creating highly personalized multi-channel marketing campaigns for Fortune 100 companies.  We help them create, print and mail customer communications.  I spent my early career in NYC working in advertising. I paused my career when my husband Joe and I started a family.   In 2000, we moved to New Hampshire to embark on a new adventure and ended up starting our own company.  I became pregnant with our third child in 2003– the year we started Polaris Direct.  So, I had two new babies to raise!  Fast forward to today, I have three beautiful grown children and a beloved soft coated wheaten terrier named Bridget.

Judith Maloy CEO of Polaris Direct

Judith twirls in the signature Mestiza style, the Shimmy Tassel Dress

What characteristics (cultural, personality etc) make you unique?

I haven't thought about this in a while, but I was a first generation college student in my family.  I think having to discover college and higher learning without advice from those before me, made it a challenge that made me stronger, more independent and in some ways “gritty and tenacious”.   I do have a competitive spirit and am very boastful on the rare occasion when I beat my son at Scrabble. In The Shire, as we like to call it, you have to love the outdoors.  I ski and hike in the winter and while I don’t get to play as often as I like, I love golf and tennis and my newfound sport Pickleball.

What motivated you to start your business, Polaris Direct?

We came to New Hampshire with the intention of buying a company and ended up starting Polaris – which means Northstar.  Polaris is the most stationary celestial point in the night sky and one relied on to navigate by. We believe we are a guiding light for marketers in search of effective and efficient solutions  to their marketing challenges. In some ways the motivation to start Polaris was a cross between necessity and opportunity.  We moved to New Hampshire with the intention to buy a company and ended up not buying it. Rather than leave, we decided to plant ourselves and bloom in the Granite State. 

What is inspiring you at the moment as a business owner?

In 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned, that percentage is even less for women of color.   Over 40% of women business owners start a business to work for themselves because of inequality in pay. This was not my reason for starting my business.  However,  I am driven to advocate for and support women business owners by being a mentor and a role model.  I serve on the NH Advisory Council for the Center for Women and Enterprise, where we support women who are looking to start or grow their business.  I also serve on the Board of Directors for Ledyard National Bank, recognized nationwide as one of the top ten community banks with the highest percentage of women directors.   In my work, I am inspired by the women I serve with and want to work to bring more young women forward. 

How do you interpret “invest in yourself?” and what are the types of things you do to invest in/ empower yourself?

Time is like money.  You need to invest your time to enrich yourself.  The work life balance especially for women today is a blurred line between home and office which makes it challenging to carve out quiet time for creative thought. I try my best to create quiet moments in my day or week for investing in myself. 

Judith as the "Best Dressed Wedding Guest" in the Canary Sequin version of the Flora Mini Dress

What has been your proudest career achievement thus far?

There have been moments through the years that have made me proud.  I think it is the milestone anniversaries that have made me stop and take that proud pause.  When Polaris turned 5, it was a relief – here’s a daunting stat – 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years!  At 10 years old, we were building traction. At 15, we were on a steep incline ramping up our capacity.   I am most proud of our team’s dedication and commitment over the last two years.  We really proved our mettle!   Throughout the pandemic, we kept our doors open and were there for our clients.  Like so many businesses, our employees pulled together and we proved that we could shoulder the burden of the pandemic and beyond, in more ways than we ever thought possible!  

Why is it important to you to empower women?

Have you heard of the multiplier effect?  It’s a factor that amplifies or increases the value of something else.  Women stand at the center of this.  I believe when you empower women they are able to impact change that brings a multitude of good things to businesses, the economy, the community and family. As we work to lessen the gap of gender inequality, women today will forge a smoother path for those that follow.  I think about this when I think of my daughter and her career accomplishments. I want women in business to bypass some of the road blocks that my generation faced. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I've gotten through the years is to “ just show up”.  It's that simple.  There may be times when you are faced with making a choice about attending a trade show, going to a meeting or maybe applying for an award or giving a speech.  Make sure your inner voice says “ just show up and do it!”  You won’t ever regret putting yourself out there and being part of the conversation.  But if you don't, you may regret missing an opportunity to win business or just learn something new from others in your network.  I have a community of women business owners from the Women’s Business National Council (WBENC) Forum that I network with.  This collective group of fabulously  successful and energetic women give me inspiration and are a resource that helps to bring clarity to my business and my career.  

How do you like your Mestiza pieces?! Any details on how it fits or makes you feel?

I have a few Mestiza pieces that I absolutely love.  Every time I wear my Shimmy Tassel Dress I get so many compliments.  It is a perfect silhouette that is flattering and flirty yet hides certain areas.  It truly makes me shimmer and shine! It is an important piece in my wardrobe and a go-to when I want to feel special.

Judith in the Shimmy Tassel Dress

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Look for a mentor that you can rely on to give you sound advice and guidance.  It does not have to be someone in your industry, just someone you value for their expertise or knowledge.  If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program, do it!  Most women entrepreneurs feel isolated at some point in their career.  Having a mentor connects you to the bigger universe and makes you accountable to set certain goals for yourself and work on aspects of your business that need your focus. Be brave and have courage!

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