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Thriving Through Growth

A City Lifestyle Publisher’s Journey to Discovering Her Calling

Article by Elle Bridge

Photography by Liz Polo, Havana Photography

Originally published in Greenwich Lifestyle

As a woman business owner, Tiffany Slowinski knows success comes from constantly evolving.

Over her journey from college student to young earner to motherhood to successful entrepreneur, she has forged new identities and reinvented herself many times over.

Recently, as she embarked on her latest venture—Team Spark Advisors, which employs data analytics to help businesses hire the right people in positions where they will be most effective—she reflects on how the experience that she has built over her decades as a professional informs the work she does today.

Where she started is far from where she is now, but in a way she has come full-circle, challenging herself and learning as she went. She earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and media studies with a minor in counseling from Rutgers University, which is where she met her husband, Jake. Although she initially pursued broadcast journalism, she earned a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University.

“I was fascinated by the developing mind and with a love for working with children, I became a high school counselor,” she says. “Although it was a safe career with perks, there was no upward

When she was on maternity leave after the birth of her youngest daughter, Violet, she felt it was time to start pursuing her dreams, but she wasn’t sure what they were. She felt pigeonholed in a specific career path and didn’t see how her skillset would translate to something else.

“While scrolling through Facebook, I saw an ad for a managing editor at a hyperlocal parents' website. The description seemed tailored to me: a local mom with kids under 12 who was active in the community and had strong communication skills,” she says.

She applied but was initially passed over due to the fact they didn’t think she would have the time. Her husband convinced her to call and tell them why she would be successful. Filled with renewed
confidence, she did and was hired as a “mommy blogger.”

It didn’t take long for Slowinski to recognize the potential for increased earnings through selling advertising space on her website. However, there was a catch: She had absolutely no experience in
sales. Undeterred, she decided to teach herself. Early in the morning, on weekends and during Violet’s nap time, she dedicated herself to reaching out to prospective clients, driven by the goal of generating enough income from the website to match her current counselor salary. The ultimate aspiration? To transition to working from the comfort of her home. After one year, her dream became a reality. She quit her job in December 2018 and focused on building her site.

As she was settling into her new routine, her husband dropped some unexpected news: He had sold his business. Though it came as a shock, it was the right move. Seeking new business ventures, Jake learned about City Lifestyle, a national magazine franchise. “I think you’d be really good at this,” he told her. “What if we went into business together?”

“As we looked closer at the opportunity, I fell in love,” she says. “Owning a magazine combined my love of journalism, passion for my community and desire for helping local businesses get their message out.”

People have inquired what it is like working with a spouse. “In our case, working together has made us closer,” she says. “We discovered we are the perfect partners: We are aligned, trust each other and know the other is always acting in our collective best interest. Working together also allows us to better balance family life.”

They launched their first magazine, Bridgewater City Lifestyle in August 2019. “Our children were young and kept me busy. I’d rise at 4 a.m. on the weekends to edit articles and get a jump on the day before the girls woke up. In our first six months, I did not take a day off,” she says. Their hard work was rewarded. They grew quickly, and the corporate office named them “Rookies of the Year.”

In 2020, City Lifestyle headquarters invited Slowinski to join the corporate team to help other magazines in the franchise of about 190 markets nationwide achieve the same success. As she rose through the ranks to Vice President of Sales, Jake was busy launching their second publication, Somerset Hills City Lifestyle, and growing their local team.

“Our success continued, but at headquarters, our CEO was looking for a way to recruit stronger publishers. We wondered: Why were some people experiencing incredible success while other smart,
capable people struggled?” she says. They enrolled her in training of a system that used a diagnostic tool that could tell them in about seven minutes who had the internal makings of a good publisher, one who naturally had the drive, vision and follow-through skills.

Using this system, they also could easily identify who would be the right support staff for each publisher, people who could fill in their weaknesses. She started working closely with the recruiting department and the publishers on building their teams.

“I realized: When you put the right people in the right seats, they shine. Everyone deserves to be in the right job for them. That is when the magic happens,” she says.

“Then, I realized something else: I was not in the right seat. Although I loved my job, corporate life was taking me away from what I wanted. I had started my own business to be an entrepreneur, work with my husband and be involved with local businesses. I decided to make another adjustment in my life, while still continuing to help grow and build local magazines in New Jersey,” she says.

Inspired by the personnel analytics and team building she did at the corporate office, Slowinski founded Team Spark Advisors to bring these benefits to local businesses. “I feel like I’ve come full-circle: I’m a counselor again, only now for business owners. I apply the diagnostic tools to the business’ team to give them insights on their strengths and weaknesses. This will help them place the right people for precise positions based on the current dynamic,” she says.

Sales is a part of every business, and with her background, Slowinski particularly loves working with sales teams. “It’s impactful to see their numbers skyrocket once they make the right hires,” she says. “I also particularly love working with female leaders. When a talented woman is surrounded by the right team, she can be her best self.”

What she is most proud of is that her four daughters can witness their mom pursuing her passion. “We talk a lot about business and entrepreneurship. They see how heavily involved I am in the business community: I am a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization NJ, Patriots BNI and the Somerset County Business Partnership,” she says.

“I lead by example. I want my girls to know that they are only limited by themselves. They do not have to follow societal norms of what is expected of them,” she says. “They should put in the hard work and
never feel that opportunities are limited. I want them to grow and have a life like I have forged, one driven by passion where they wake up every day excited about the work they have chosen to do.”

What lies ahead? “Only time can reveal that, but currently, I take great pleasure in helping businesses build their teams. Furthermore, I derive immense satisfaction from contributing to the launch of new
City Lifestyle publications throughout New Jersey,” she says. “I am eager to explore and seize the untapped opportunities present in both of these endeavors. My story isn’t over.”

Discover how Team Spark Advisors can help your business grow at

Businesses featured in this article