Meet Janice Hamilton,  President of CarrotNewYork in New York, New York – a Woman on a Mission to "Meet Woman on a Mission Janice Hamilton"Make a Difference!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.

I am a teacher, a corporate executive and an entrepreneur who has a goal: to do well by doing good. Currently, I am the President/CEO of CarrotNewYork, a firm I founded 34 years ago that was originally called JMH Marketing. At that time, I was a pioneer in Education Marketing. Today, we create education and outreach programs with the sole purpose of motivating children, parents and communities to adopt healthier behaviors in critical areas like nutrition, safety, financial literacy, the environment, peer relationships, etc. We are passionate about making a difference through the programs we create. I also launched a publishing company, Many Hands Media, which creates multicultural nutrition programs used in Head Start classrooms, pre-school and kindergartens throughout the US and includes everything from teachers’ guides to games, posters, game interactive card games and videos.

CarrotNewYork clients range from the corporate sector (Colgate-Palmolive, Visa, Reckitt-Benckiser (Lysol), Softsoap) to the government (US Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, National Institute on Health, the Department of Education) to associations (Autism Speaks, Family Violence Prevention Fund, The Ad Council, First the Seed Foundation).

What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?

Entrepreneurialism is part of my DNA.  Amazing women in my family dating back to the 1880s exhibited the entrepreneurial, “can do” spirit.  I value the time I spent teaching and working in corporate America, however I really found my true calling when I established my business based upon my values and passions.  Being able to create and work on programs that make a difference in people’s lives is a gift.  I wake up in the morning and realize that I get to do things I’d want to do anyway and I actually get paid for it!

I’m also proud to say that my company was an early adopter of allowing employees to work remotely so they could achieve that elusive work/life balance. This has allowed us to attract and keep the most talented employees in the industry.

Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed).

– Serving Up MyPlate (USDA/Food and Nutrition Service) — Three recent projects addressed the new MyPlate iteration of the old food pyramid.    Kindergarten, 3rd and 4th, as well as 5th and 6th grade children and their families engaged in activities and learning around healthy eating, nutrition and even growing their own fruits and veggies.

– FEMA “Be A Hero” — A week before hurricane Sandy hit the northeast; we were given the challenge by FEMA to develop a disaster preparedness program for children and their families.  Our goal was to help FEMA empower youth with knowledge, awareness, and life-protecting skills. We created “Be a Hero,” an integrated program including a website, interactive games, comic book, and curriculum whereby young people and their families could learn about being prepared through a graphic-novel approach that took an intimidating topic and made kids feel empowered.

– Colgate “Bright Smiles Bright Futures” — Colgate has been a client for 23 years.  We recently created Dr. Rabbit and the Tooth Defenders, a whole new program for the multi-platform, ongoing campaign, “Bright Smiles Bright Futures.” This US and global initiative promotes oral health.  We were challenged to create a core education program that could be adapted into education systems in both developed and developing countries, so we created animated program ambassadors, Dr. Rabbit and Dr. Bushwell. Both characters engage children via an animated journey that serves as a springboard to other classroom components and in-school literacy activities. Today, the Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures kindergarten program is distributed to over 100,000 classrooms, reaching over 3.3 million children and families in the U.S. and 50 million in 80 countries globally each year.

What is a typical day like for you?


There is no typical day – and that is what I enjoy the most.  We work on a variety of projects in different areas from nutrition to disaster preparedness and from oral health to digital citizenship. My team takes responsibility for creating engaging and creative programs and I provide leadership on strategy and marketing.

My day may include corporate goal planning, financial analysis, mentoring staff, and enjoying the role of chief culture officer.  Most importantly, I keep up with latest trends, issues, challenges and opportunities so that we are always able to share these with our clients and guide them with program development.

Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?

I am constantly seeking to mentor others, whether it’s the people who work with me, other women business professionals, or inner city students. A commitment to social responsibility is at the very core of what the business is built upon and I believe it is important to embrace that beyond our everyday work.  I am especially dedicated to areas that support children and youth causes. I do that in many ways: by serving on the, the Foundation Board of St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, and the Advisory Board of Be a Student’s Friend for the Inner City Scholarship Fund and the Advisory Board for Hunter Manhattan High School of Science, Board of Center for Women’s Business Research. I have also developed and launched a mentoring program for Kansas State University College of Human Ecology and I have recently been asked to join their Advisory Board This distinctive program matches outstanding young women with successful alumnae for a two-year program that includes internships at the alumnae’s company and mentoring other students when they return to campus.  Together with the University, we have conducted leadership seminars for larger groups in New York and Washington DC and have done video segments to expand this body of knowledge to additional students.

What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?

The biggest risk was leaving a Fortune 500 company with a multi-million dollar budget and responsibility for over 800 people to start my own company. Then, 6 years later, selling my company to a large agency and 3 years later, buying it back.  Each step helped to make me a savvier businesswoman.

From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

A simple walk in New York City can be an amazing source of inspiration – the people, the sites and yes the nature around us is a constant changing kaleidoscope.  I also draw inspiration from keeping up with the remarkable things our youth are doing to insure a better world.

What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?

I believe education is lifelong.  It can be something as simple as reading a book or talking to a really interesting person to formal education.  Just 3 short years ago, I graduated from Harvard Business School’s OPM (Owner/President Management) program.  I met other students/business owners from all over the world. Keeping in touch with them adds immeasurably to my experience and elevates my curiosity a hundred fold.

In the past year, I have become more and more involved in the global market.  Our experience creating education materials for 80 countries has been expanded by supporting and being personally involved with programs and organizations worldwide.

What one thing would you like to learn this year?

How our expertise in communication messages that help change behaviors can be utilized more in the global market.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Certainly doing more of what we do now and keeping my antenna up to be on the forefront of change and important issues.  One of my mantras is: “don’t look at what is, but set your sights on what can be.”

What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?

My heart is in two cities – New York and Tucson.  In New York I thrive on the great cultural opportunities that are all around us.  I love music from the Great American Song Book to the wonderful venues at Carnegie Hall.  New York is the quintessential city for great restaurants.  Exploring foods from different cultures is a real joy.  I’m fortunate that the Highline is right across the street from where I live.  But, perhaps the best relaxation of all is sitting with my purring cat on my lap.

In Tucson it is enjoying the great outdoors – hiking, gardening and exploring the American Indian crafts, art and culture.  This is the place I can enjoy culinary pursuits.

What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?

LinkedIn (personal),
Twitter: @carrotnewyork
You Tube:
telephone: 212.924.2944