Allison Venditti

Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, pay transparency and equity advocate. Founder of My Parental Leave and Moms at Work, Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community. Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021.

  • Moms at Work answers your advocacy questions

    Moms at Work has become infamous for its innovative coaching programs, collective group space and for being a company that has successfully wrapped advocacy and action into it’s day to day offerings.

    I get asked a lot of questions about advocacy work and “how to do it” so I wanted to take a moment to answer them here. BUT – before we start I just want to thank you for trusting me with your questions I have done my best to answer honestly.

    To start I want to provide a definition of what an advocate is and why this is an important place to start:

    Advocate: a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

    The focus word here is PUBLICLY. So when I talk about advocacy there is an underlying assumption for Moms at Work that you need to be doing more than signing a document or posting online. You need to publicly show up in person, publicly use your platform and privilege to support your idea.  

    Anything else I lump under awareness or volunteerism which are their own things and have their purpose in changemaking but for the purpose of this piece are not advocacy

    Ok so here are the top questions: 

    I only have a few hours a week what can I do that is meaningful?

    Advocacy is slow and painful and really hard to do with volunteers. The projects that we commit to are years in length and the wins are few. That is the truth. If you have a useful skill and a block of hours I would approach an organization with this:

    “Hi my name is X – I am a graphic designer and have 10 hours to volunteer during the month of May – would my skill set be helpful for you”

    The answer may be no. They may have other roles and jobs available but being specific is really helpful.


    What are the top five things I can do to REALLY make a difference with less than 5 hours:

    Honestly – lots but not in the way you probably want to do it. They want to show up in the glory moments but not doing the boring work. I get it that is the best part but not the “work” part.

    1. If you truly want to commit a few hours then yes the absolute best thing you can do is what the organization needs and many of these things we REALLY need people to show up. Showing up at a rally, attending in person, attending council meetings.
    1. Commit to talking about the topic with 10 people. On social media, share resources, have conversations at work, at holiday dinners. Many of these topics are divisive so use the hours to read books, understand the nuances of the issues so you are better able to talk about them. This is the public part of advocacy.
    1. Talk to your kids about them. Involve them. This is why #1 – teaching kids to show up for things they believe in is a gift. You have to show them. This is why in person is so important. My kids have been to dozens of rallies – more. They watch, listen and understand. If you want to raise advocates bring them along.
    1. Donate to organizations with money so they can pay people to do the horrible boring work. These people are a gift pay them.
    1. Be the person who is at a place EVERY WEEK. The same way you do yoga on Monday nights – be the Monday food server at a soup kitchen, be the person who drives seniors to appointments on Monday. Be that person every week. The consistent person. This is the best gift.

    Tell me how I can help! What can I do to help?

    This is really frustrating and when people say this online I hope that they don’t REALLY expect an answer. One of the things we talk about for women is the “mental load” – please do not expect advocates to fight the fight AND figure it out for you – go back to #1 and you tell us 🙂 Get specific. Tell us the skill you have and the commitment you can make. 

    If you are at this stage then you probably need to sit down and decide how much time you have to commit so that you can send the email I explained before instead of asking this question.

    How do I prevent advocacy burn out? 

    This question was answered so well by that I used their answer.

    “Common causes of advocate burnout can be grouped into three main categories: internal stress, external stress, and inter-group stress. Internal stress can refer to any personal angst, dismay, or guilt that an advocate feels about the pace of change, their role in the movement, and/or the extent of the problem they are trying to solve. External stress usually refers to the opponents of advocacy constructing legal or political barriers to progress, or lack of support amongst the general public. Finally, inter-group stress is strongest among already-marginalized advocates like women and people of color, who often find advocacy circles to have their own problems with discrimination. Infighting between organizations is also a common cause of stress, when groups with similar goals refuse to cooperate over ideological or practical disagreements – radicalism vs incrementalism, for example.” 

    The work of advocacy never causes burnout for me – the real frustration is at the lack of cooperation between organizations fighting the same fight. 

    It is the horrible and angry emails, FB DMs and hatred from the very people who we are fighting for. People swear at me, threaten me and we run a very fine line knowing that our commitment to these causes makes us a target.

    People often feel an entitlement to your space, time and emotions as an advocate. You can, should and will need to say no. Say it hard and say it loud.

    Why doesn’t moms at work let people volunteer? (This is a 2 part answer)

    Moms at Work is a business. We run programs, sell courses and coaching. From our profits we direct nearly 10% to our advocacy work (Im joking it is more like 25%) in which my staff is well compensated to organize. When you buy from us you are making our advocacy happen.

    Our messaging, purpose and advocacy is well organized and we have to respond to meetings within minutes (actual minutes). Media, politicians and organizations work with us because we are GOOD AT OUR JOB and bring expertise in PR, organizing, social media, policy and more. This is not an operation that can be run with volunteers.

    We create change in our community, with businesses, with unions, with individuals and in spaces we never imagined. 

    You can support us by sharing our stuff. Talking about us at your office. Sharing our salary negotiation toolkits and courses with young women. YOU are our biggest advocate. We can’t do this without you. You doing that MATTERS to me. 

    (Sits up a bit straighter) I understand that the non-profit industrial complex has become deeply embedded in society but I run a profitable business that does not need to be a non-profit. By not taking government or corporate funding it allows us to meet with government officials, be critical of government and “status quo” and support advocates and causes that other people shy away from.

    I want you to take a moment and look at EVERY other women’s group (all of them). They exist because of corporate sponsorship and government funding. Taking money from these organizations includes a several page gag clause. It means you commit to not saying anything bad about them. They are silencing them. It is why NO OTHER women’s group does what we do.

    Running Moms at Work this way is IN FACT an act of advocacy – to show people that to do good in the world you do NOT need to be a non-profit and that you can make money and make a difference. 

    Moms at Work refusal to take sponsorship money has resulted in some heated and unpleasant conversations that have included companies saying the following to us:

    • We prefer to invest in galas and awards. This is what we are used to – can’t you just do that?
    • If you don’t play nice no one is going to play with you
    • Just sell us your audience we can make so much money off them
    • What’s your problem – you can’t OWN Moms at Work (yes Jeff – yes I f*in do)
    • If you don’t do this know that you will have no future relationship with us (PS they asked ME for this meeting)

    Government listens to businesses – guess what, I am a female founded business. Have a seat – let’s chat.

    Part 2:

    Moms at Work does indeed ask for and receive help. We have organizing meetings in our Collective membership and have lists in ways people help. By being a paid member of Moms at Work we get to know you as a member, understand the things you can support us with and have and will continue to rely on our members to help us create amazing toolkits, blog posts and to bring us into rooms at their jobs and organizations they work with. Much of what we do comes with risks for those that have full time jobs – and we protect them by publishing work we do “By Moms at Work with the support of the Moms at Work Collective”

    To be clear – you DO NOT need to be a member to help us. It helps to share our stuff, to talk about us, introduce us to people. This currently is the best way to help.

    So in summary, Moms at Work is not a normal business model. 

    It is my business and my privilege to be the person who in meetings screams MOMS AT WORK IS NOT FOR SALE. 

    It is my privilege to have the trust of so many collaborative organizations

    It is my privilege to use our platforms to say the things you can not say.

    It is my privilege to serve you. In every sense of the word.

    But what we are building here is a new business model. One that I hope will be replicated by others. So that we have COMPANIES fighting for us. Influencers fighting for us. And for us all to work together.

    In solidarity,

    Allison Venditti – Founder of Moms at Work & The Moms at Work Team


  • Allison Venditti earns a Report on Business Magazine Changemakers Award from The Globe and Mail

    So, here’s the deal. I didn’t want to share this. I didn’t want to write this because well this is amazing but do I deserve to be next to these other people? (Check us out here.)

    I don’t love awards where you have to vote for people and the most popular person wins. I don’t like feeling like someone lost in those pitch contests they love to hold for women (ew by the way). But when someone nominated me and I was selected as a Changemaker, well that hit differently.

    Let’s start with what this is – Changemakers is an editorial award program produced by Report on Business magazine at The Globe and Mail. Its intent is to showcase the emerging leaders transforming business today. They solicited nominations for the Changemakers award in the fall of 2021. Winners were selected by The Globe and Mail’s award-winning editorial team for their ideas, accomplishments, and impact, as determined by their nominations, subsequent interviews, and reference checks.

    And well – I was named one of 50 winners of the 2022 award. But as much as this is about me, it’s actually not. I am lifted by the thousands of women who support me and all of us who make up Moms at Work. Women who wear our advocacy shirts, who whisper our name in board meetings, and who invite us into their workplace and believe in me enough to let me do this important work.

    Moms at Work started as a teeny Facebook group in 2018 but now we are a Changemaking organization. Period. We have the award to prove it.

    Here are a few of our accomplishments:

    • We met with the Prime Minister & Deputy Prime Minister to discuss how the federal government can better support working families during the pandemic;
    • We coordinated and delivered Canada’s first survey on women’s experiences during maternity leave;
    • We created one of Canada’s first job boards with full transparency;
    • We helped women in our network negotiate over $2 million in salary increases in 2021.

    But most importantly, I get to be that person for you. I get to be that voice in your ear reminding you that you are worth it, that you have a powerful network behind you, and that you have every single right to ask for more–because you are powerful. The love that I have for this work and for everyone who supports us on our mission to create real and lasting change for women and mothers is profound and real.

    Moms at Work was not an easy thing to start. No one understood what I wanted to accomplish (in fact they still might not).

    They told me that mothers wouldn’t be interested in advocacy.

    They told me that mothers didn’t want to think about their careers.

    They told me Moms at Work was a terrible name.

    They told me that it wasn’t possible to change legislation and to have “women pushing strollers” heard by the government.

    But they also told me I would never work again. They told me I was lucky to be alive after a Traumatic Brain Injury and crippling series of seizures. They told me that I should be thankful I had my family. They told me that not being able to read would be an incredibly difficult obstacle to overcome.

    To all those people – Moms at Work says – challenge accepted and my most favorite – “Underestimate me – that’ll be fun.” (we even made shirts)


    Allison Venditti

    Grateful Founder of Moms at Work – Canada’s largest network for working mothers. Join our Collective community for changemakers and leaders – we open our next spots soon.

    (Editorial coverage of all 2022 Changemakers can be found in the March 2022 issue of Report on Business magazine, distributed with The Globe and Mail on Saturday, February 26th, and online now at


  • And then it hit me

    On January 25 my life was forever changed. The sun was just coming up when my three-year-old bounced into our room, onto our bed and then flung his body and his head backwards — into my face. I only remember the cracking sound. After that I don’t remember much.

    I remember stumbling to the bathroom. I remember throwing up and I remember saying “I’m ok” over and over again.

    Over the next 3 days my symptoms just got worse. I was told I had a concussion. I wasn’t able to see clearly out of my left eye and for whatever reason my left arm wasn’t working properly but I thought that was a normal side effect of getting hit in the head.

    After a few days I decided to try and go to the grocery store and discovered I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t remember my address. I didn’t know where I was, and the cars were so loud I couldn’t think. I started to throw up again and cry. I was 60 feet away from my house. The clerk at the convenience store across the street had to walk me back home.

    My husband was worried. I was annoyed! I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t able to go to work, care for my kids or even do basic things. My husband said that it would just take some time and we both agreed things could not possibly get worse. They did.

    Strange things started happening. I woke up on the couch with a mouth full of blood, exhausted and sweating. I would be sitting eating breakfast and the next thing I knew my bowl was tipped over and I was covered in cereal. I stopped eating hot food as I burned my lap once and I couldn’t remember spilling it. On the weekend my husband was in the basement and came up the stairs to see what I wanted as I had been knocking on the floor.

    I wasn’t knocking. It was my head repeatedly hitting the floor — I was having a seizure.

    Things moved rather quickly after that. Neurologists, MRIs, EEGs, more EEGs. During these appointments it was also confirmed something that I already knew but would never admit.

    I couldn’t read.

    A 33-year-old woman who always had something to read tucked in her purse and would skip nights of sleep just to finish a novel was now unable to read street signs or instructions.

    In one week I was told the following:

    • I was not to pick up my children or carry them (my youngest was 18 months). If I had a seizure, I could drop them
    • I was accepted onto Long Term Disability. My neurologist did not feel like this would resolve in less than 2 years.
    • I was accepted into the Acquired Brain Injury program where I was going to work with a team who would help me daily to use memory aids, learn how to go grocery shop and work to control my rage filled outbursts that often accompany traumatic brain injuries.

    Often times you hear of people who at their lowest points muster up the energy to do great magical things. This was not one of those times.

    I repeatedly told my husband to leave me. I cried all the time. We ended up selling our house on a major street as even with earplugs I could not stand the noise of traffic and people.

    My rehab team had me make a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next 6 months. This was my list:

    • Pick up my children from school and daycare
    • Do grocery shopping
    • Make dinner 1x a week
    • Read simple passages and phrases

    And that is what I did. I worked full time at getting better. I began to learn to read again with my 4-year-old (I still hate those frog and toad books); I learned how to grocery shop by just buying the exact same things all the time; I wore earplugs to control the noise outside; I went out with only one person at a time as groups of people were overwhelming. I saw specialists to help control the crippling headaches, so I was not confined to my bed after 5:00pm.

    After 1.5 years I had gone through my list and 3 other lists. One night after I had made dinner — all by myself — my husband said to me: “Well if you can do this, you can do anything. What do you want to do?”

    I spent over a year of my life worrying that if I fell asleep, I wouldn’t wake up and that I would never see my children again. I worried I would have a seizure on the street and get hit by a car.

    I wanted to work. I used to love my job. I decided to try to work for myself so that I could take it slowly and also spend much needed time with my kids that I felt I had lost to over 140 appointments and hours in rehab and waiting rooms.

    I had been a return to work specialist and HR professional before this and I wanted to keep using those skills to help individuals rather than only Fortune 500 companies. Careerlove was born. I spend my time working with women who are looking to make changes, achieve leadership roles, start their own business and navigate returning to work after maternity leave as well as some HR projects for businesses who I feel I can make an impact with. It was the best decision I ever made.

    I am still not perfect. I will never enjoy loud concerts and still use computer software to read long emails to me but almost losing everything at 33 has made me a different person.

    I keep this list in my purse on a scrap of paper. It is my life list:

    • Never say can’t. Say I don’t want to, or it is not a priority. I can do anything I want.
    • This day and every day is a gift. If it was your last would you be happy?
    • Slow down.
    • Good things take time. Don’t be afraid to spend time building something spectacular
    • Ignore outside noise. If it is important let it in. (This is for noise but also stress, unwanted advice and criticism)
    • Tell them you love them. Every day. Preferably more than once


  • The great resignation explained (for regular folks) and some solutions to go with it!

    I have been in HR for 20 years. I have seen all sorts of things in dozens of different industries. I worked through SARS, upswings and downswings, and many different governments. Let me be very clear that I have NEVER seen a mass exodus of employees like this and there are some very good reasons for it.

    To start, a quote “We are entering an age of employee activism that may well upend our assumptions about power in organizations”

    So, what does this look like in reference to “the great resignation”? Let me break it down.

    Retirement – people who may have worked even 10 years longer looked at their world during a pandemic and decided that this was not what they wanted. People in their 50s who had planned to work longer have sold houses in urban areas and bought small places in the country. They have done the math and will make it work with some consulting or freelancing.

    Childcare – To say that women bore the brunt of the pandemic is now laughable to even have to mention. The world relies on women’s unpaid labour – in all levels of work, women have been decimated by society’s unrealistic expectations. Women exited the workforce in alarming numbers, and they have been unable to return. Unstable daycare, unavailable childcare, and the mental health challenges they face due to the absolute trauma of working 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 2 years mean they are not ready to return – not yet.

    Short-term and Long-Term Leave – I did disability case management for years. I know what normal rates of leaves look like. These are not them friends. Stress leave, stress-induced medical complications, long COVID, and all the previous reasons that people took leave mean that an alarming number of people are on leave at this very moment.

    Career Change Part 1 (2020 – 2021) – COVID meant that a large number of workers were suddenly unemployed – airlines, servers, restaurant staff, theatre employees, and more. While they were trying to stay safe – many of them found the time to aim for something new. Many of them decided to head in a new direction. Many of them have found a whole new career. But this means that specific sectors are short-staffed, and many have no job openings. So, it is a weird pattern.

    Career Change Part 2 (2022 – present) What do you get when people attack nurses and doctors and call them liars? What do you get when our government goes after teachers and education workers?  When they continue to publicly attack the women. Well, just the same thing that you would do. They are leaving.

    Shocking that when you refuse to give a cost-of-living increase to people, they leave.

    Shocking when you purposefully underfund education and healthcare people leave. (I am certain this is being done intentionally) For reference please see the following:

    If you want to read all about it, please read the Financial Accountability Office’s report on public sector salaries. Please note the part where it talks about how Bill 124 has impacted wages. Then they follow up with how now there is a staffing crisis. SHOCK, GASP. It is like they did it on purpose. Also, yes – the government was sued for implementing Bill 124 and we won against them. Bill 124 is illegal.

    The gig economy – Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, entrepreneurs. The world of work has changed. I don’t think for the better. Why is it that any amount of flexibility comes with the complete loss of safety, security, benefits & more? The gig economy is the biggest issue that we will have to grapple with in the next 10 years, but I know (as a person who runs a company called Moms at Work) that much of it is a response to the total lack of support in our society for caregivers and women and disabled individuals.  How do I know? I am a woman, disabled, and a caregiver, and work didn’t work for me.

    If you are losing top talent, talent, anyone really – there are many things you can do:

    1. Get serious about offering part-time. If you cannot fill a full-time job – see if you can fill a job share or 2 part-time roles.
    2. Start talking about flexibility – ask your staff. Different shifts, hybrid, remote roles, core hours. No one wants a yoga class at lunch Steve – they want to be able to attend a doctor’s appointment and not feel guilty.
    3. Get transparent about what you are offering in your job post. What does it pay, what are the hours, where is the job located (be specific – people are getting picky)
    4. Talk about why what you do matters. Now, this may be hard for some companies (cough oil companies, cough union busting businesses – cough Starbucks) but many people have valid trust issues after being treated like garbage during COVID. So show them how you will value them.
    5. Ignore career gaps. Asking someone what they were doing during July 2020 and August 2021 is unnecessary – quietly whisper (oh right a pandemic) and move on with your life.
    6. Ask people what they need. Do people need more vacation time? Fewer hours? Bigger projects? More independence? Many of the things employees need are absolutely free or very low cost – shame you would lose an employee of 10 years because they are feeling unchallenged and you never asked.

    That is all for today folks. If you want to read more abnormally blunt career advice please follow me on Linkedin or Instagram or join our newsletter to get new posts straight to your inbox

    Allison Venditti is a Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, and pay transparency and equity advocate. She is the founder of Moms at Work Canada’s largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs, and build community. All with a LARGE HELPING of advocacy baked in.


  • A love letter to all the Moms at Work

    Hey you,

    Come and sit down. 

    I have one thing to say and if you don’t read any further just take this message with you every single place you go. 

    I am really proud of you.

    Proud of you for showing up.  For saying no. For trying your hardest to be all the things. For all of it.

    No one talked about how hard this would be.

    No one prepared you for the guilt, the anger, the rage and the sadness that would come with what working + mothering would bring.

    I want to tell you something else. You have done nothing wrong. 

    It isn’t that you didn’t work hard enough, put in enough hours, lean in the right way or took the wrong women’s leadership course. The truth is – that work wasn’t designed for you. It wasn’t made for caregivers – but that doesn’t make it right. And I am NOT telling you to just accept this and move on.

    I want you to come in close and listen to me. 

    You are not alone. There are MILLIONS of working mothers and I want to tell you a secret. We are organizing. 

    Now, I want you to imagine this. 

    You get invited to dinner and all you need to do is show up.

    You don’t need to put on make up or get a babysitter or bring wine.

    You don’t need to email and remind your partner to come with you.

    You don’t even need to RSVP – because we are always here for you.

    We just want you. 

    All of you – not hiding pieces of yourself.

    I want you to bring your ambition and your kid’s special needs and your love for music and your stories of how you were denied a promotion. I want you to share your amazing grades from school, your volunteer work. I want you to be too much. I want you to be angry and furious and full of laughter. I want it all.

    I want you to sit down and see me smiling at you.

    Welcome to Moms at Work I say. 

    We have been waiting for you.

    We are going to make this better. 

    Not by fixing you. You are perfect.

    We need to change work and expectations and that is not easy but I promise you it is indeed possible.

    I want you to come and listen and learn and I want you to share the things you learn with other women, your kids, your partner and your workplace. I want you to talk about us. I want you to bring us with you to work, on your walk with friends and when the time comes I want you to bring us to talk with your workplace. I want you to bring others to join us.

    I want you to know that you don’t need to do this alone. You don’t need to fight everyday but you do need to try, and fail, and then sit down and be frustrated. But then I want you to get up. Try again. And if it is too heavy hand it to me. I can take it. I promise you I can. 

    I want you to know that you are no longer alone. You are a part of something big. 

    You are now part of something bigger than we could never have imagined.

    I believe in all the things that Moms at Work can be.

    I believe in you.

    I believe in myself 

    And sometimes that belief is more important than anything else in the world.

    So come and sit with us. But if you take nothing from this letter other than one thing – let it be this.

    Remember how very very proud I am of you.



    Allison Venditti

    Founder – Moms at Work

    If you never want to miss a touching love letter, update on our advocacy, our latest project to support the change of parental leave in Canada or how to join our Collective group before it fills up (and it always fills up!) Join our newsletter here


  • Pay Transparency Toolkit

    Scripts, tools and facts to support pay transparency.

    What is pay transparency?

    Pay transparency is about being open about how much money people are paid for the work they do. It means including the salary range in job postings and being transparent about pay processes such as pay bands, and compensation decisions, and providing all required information to understand these decisions.

    Why is it important?

    Pay Transparency is not only a good corporate policy, it is one of the simplest and fastest ways to prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and close the pay gap.

    Pay Transparency also:

    • is a step towards equity and inclusion in the workplace;
    • helps reduce wage gaps;
    • shifts business culture and expectations toward greater equality; and,
    • leads to better outcomes for workers and their families.

    What is the business case for implementing pay transparency?

    • Without pay transparency, DEI will not happen.
    • Pay transparency helps to breed trust, which in turn improves teamwork significantly.
    • Performance management: when employees understand how their pay plans are developed and how salary budgets are distributed across the organization, they in turn understand their value-add to the organization and how their individual contributions impact the bottom line. This will spur them to improve their performance in order to receive incentive pay and promotion to the next level.
    • Engagement & Productivity: when employees realize they can earn more than they are currently earning, it encourages them to work harder invariably leading to an increase in career engagement thereby closing any identified skill gaps.
    • Comply with legislation
    • Close compensation gaps and prevent employee attrition, reduced turnover costs


    How Pay Transparency Benefits Businesses, Workspan Magazine, 2020

    Managing Pay Transparency, KPMG, 2019

    Pay Transparency Facts

    In Canada today:

    • Indigenous women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 35% less than non Indigenous men, earning 65 cents to the dollar.
    • Racialized women working full-time, full year earn an average of 33% less than non racialized men, earning 67 cents to the dollar.
    • Newcomer women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 29% less than non-newcomer men, earning 71 cents to the dollar.
    • According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, women with a disability in Canada working full and part-time earn approximately 54 cents to the dollar when compared to the earnings of nondisabled men, equaling a wage gap of around 46%

    Source: Gender Wage Gap Fact Sheet

    • Only 16% of US companies currently post salaries on job postings (Source)
    • There is a new law in effect from the federal government on Pay Transparency that may affect your employer. All federally regulated employers are required to provide added detail on pay transparency as part of the Pay Transparency Act, starting 2022.
    • Ontario had pay transparency legislation (Pay Transparency Act, 2018, S.O. 2018, c. 5 – Bill 3) that would require employers to share the salary, not allow them to ask for your previous salary and much more. The Ford government sent it back for ‘further consultation’ but momentum is building to bring it back in the upcoming 2022 election year.
    • Effective June 1, 2022 – Prince Edward Island has pay transparency legislation which prohibits companies from asking for the current salary of applicants and requires them to disclose the salary.
    • British Columbia is pursuing pay transparency legislation in a move to close the gender wage gap
    • The European Union has issued a directive towards pay transparency to assist with closing the wage gap

    Common Pay Transparency Myths & Assumptions (with Responses)

    “But everyone will ask for the top of the range!”

    Response: People understand what it takes to earn their way to the top of a range, and it helps to know if that number aligns with their career goals. Publishing the salary range allows for people to know that they are appropriately placed according to their experience and skillset, versus their peers and the market. It builds confidence and satisfaction in new hires that all is above board and they are paid adequately – no secrets.

    If companies use objective criteria to set salaries and are clear of role expectations then employees and employers will have a clear understanding of where their salary amount came from.

    “But people will see they are paid less than their peers, and it will create dissatisfaction!”

    Response: Being transparent shows that we have nothing to hide, and that we value our staff and want to compensate them appropriately for their work. It increases engagement and employee satisfaction to know that they are paid in accordance with a structured system, in line with their experience and skills. It builds trust in the organization and provides a clear path for growth.


    People will want more! We just can’t afford that”

    Response: I know at [our organization], we seek to be competitive in the market for employee compensation. If we are proud of what we have to offer employees, we should share that to attract and retain top talent. If there are gaps, that is a risk, and we should work to close them to avoid losing valued team members, which in the end would cost more than making adjustments for the gaps.

    Pay transparency increases employee retention which will reduce the costs associated with employee turnover.

    Starting the Pay Transparency Conversation

    The following are sample conversations for those wishing to bring up pay transparency within your own organizations or with a hiring manager or recruiter.

    1. Elevator Pitch (via casual conversation, social media comment, etc)

    Have you considered adding salary bands to our/your job postings? Pay transparency helps companies attract and keep top talent, increases employee satisfaction and aids in meeting diversity and inclusion goals. It will also help in keeping us competitive and ultimately help to close compensation gaps.

    1. Internal discussion at your organization re: salary disclosure in job postings:

    Hi _______,

    I’ve noticed that we do not post salary ranges in our company job postings, and I’d like to share some information that explains why we should consider doing so. As a company that cares about Diversity and Inclusion, Pay Transparency and Pay Equity are important topics that can help us meet our goals of preventing unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and increasing diversity in our organization.

    Here’s how:

    The Globe has found that working women in Canada continue to be outnumbered, outranked and out-earned by men not just at the very top, but on the way to the top and in the middle.

    Here is how Pay Transparency can lead to better business and D&I outcomes:

    Why is this important for us?

    1. Prevent attrition and attract top talent vs the competition.

    2. Increase employee engagement by building trust and showcasing fair compensation in connection with experience and skills.

    3. Help us meet our Diversity & Inclusion goals. Pay transparency gives groups that are systemically underpaid an even playing field in salary discussions, and leads to a more diverse workforce.

    What we can do:

    Include salary ranges in job posting as standard practice at [our company]

    I’d like to address this in our organization. Can you help me understand the next steps to put this into action?


    1. Internal discussion at your organization about new Pay Transparency legislation:

    Hi _______,

    This recently came across my radar, and there is a new law in effect from the federal government on Pay Transparency that affects [our company]. All federally regulated employers with over 100 employees are required to provide added detail on pay transparency as part of the Pay Transparency Act, starting 2022.

    Why is this an issue for us ?

    1. New measurement methods would show any gaps across gender or other identity groups

    2. It may also prompt a legal requirement for adjusting pay in order to be in compliance.

    3. If this report comes out based on the measurement methods required, and it shows we do have gender pay gaps, it puts [our company] at risk of losing staff
    4.  Pay transparency gives groups that are systemically underpaid an even playing field in salary discussions. As a company that seeks to be a leader in D&I in Canada, we should be leading the field here and avoid looking foolish in 2022.

    What we can do:

    Get as many people as possible to fill out an employee equity survey

    Ask HR to measure in pay equity in our organization, in advance based on these measurement methods and close any gaps before 2022

    I’d like to address this in our organization. Can you help me understand the next steps to put this into action?


    4. External discussion with a recruiter or hiring manager:

    Hi _______,

    I noticed you chose not to include the pay range on this job posting. Can you share it with me?
    Many companies are beginning to post salary ranges with job descriptions. There is mounting evidence that posting ranges contributes to equality and an increase of diverse and qualified candidates applying.

    Some research that might be helpful to share with your team:

    I hope you reconsider your salary posting rules to show that [employer] is making changes and showing commitment to creating a diverse and equal workforce.


    5. From recruiters/hiring managers: “what pay range are you looking for”?

    Response: When I get a better feel for what is required in the role through the interview process, I would be happy to discuss fair compensation for this position. Can you share the salary range, based on entry/mid/top level experience to help me better answer this when the time comes?  If pressed to give a number (i.e. must fill out a form), give a very wide pay range.

    Next Steps

    • Follow up with those you have spoken to
    • Ask for goal setting and accountability
    • Track goals that have been committed to
    • Share updates on legislation
    • Share examples of other companies who have been successful

    What else can I do?

    • Start normalizing talking about our salaries. It only benefits the employer when we keep our salaries a secret from one another.
    • Influencers – help build awareness by sharing this information to your networks and starting conversations about pay transparency
    • Recruiters – refuse to work for organizations that won’t disclose salary ranges upfront
    • Let it be known that you don’t share job advertisements to your personal or professional networks without posted salaries ranges because keeping salaries secret reinforces discrimination
    • Email the company and tell them why you aren’t applying (because not providing pay transparency is not “promoting women”)
    • Call it out online (hey what’s the salary range – why aren’t you listing it?)
    • Tell the Ontario government to bring back the Pay Transparency Act by emailing your local rep.

    In 2018, Ontario launched a 3 year strategy designed to “close the gender wage gap, particularly where it is greatest — for Indigenous, newcomer and racialized women, and women with disabilities.” Part of that plan was the The Pay Transparency Act. The statute –was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019 and would make the following changes:

    • Salary rates or ranges must be stated in all publicly advertised job postings;
    • Candidates may not be asked about their past compensation;
    • Reprisals cannot be made against employees who discuss or disclose compensation;
    • Employers with one hundred or more employees and prescribed employers must track and annually report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed characteristics in pay transparency reports;
    • The province must also publish pay transparency reports.

    This Act would have removed the accepted discriminatory practices hidden under the guise of corporate culture and held companies accountable for their equality standards.

    In December 2018, the Government quietly rolled out Bill 57, which halted the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act citing a need for public consultations. The public consultations closed in April 2019, and we have not heard anything since.

    2022 is an election year in Ontario. Make Pay Transparency a priority by writing your local MLAs and candidates:

    Sample Letter:

    Dear ________:

    With the upcoming election I am writing to understand your position on the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act. The Conservative Government rolled out Bill 57 to halt the process to formalize it into legislation and we have not heard anything since.

    This is an important piece of legislation that will help prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and close the pay gap. I am hoping you can reply to my email and provide me with how you will be supporting this legislation as it will be an integral part of my voting decision.


    Send this letter to your local MPP (search by postal code here) along with the following people:

    Ontario Premier, Doug Ford

    Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Hon. Monte McNaughton,

    Solicitor General (responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate). Hon. Sylvia Jones,

    This Pay Transparency Toolkit was created by Allison Venditti, Founder of Moms at Work along with the Moms at Work Collective.  

    Allison Venditti, CHRL Linkedin Instagram

    Resources & Articles:

    The case for pay transparency, Mercer (US report), 2020

    Government of Canada moves forward with pay transparency measures for greater equality in workplaces, Employment and Social Development Canada press release, November 25, 2020

    Backgrounder: New pay transparency measures in federally regulated workplaces, Employment and Social Development Canada, 2021

    Pay transparency in federally regulated workplaces, Government of Canada, 2021

    Are You Ready for the New Reality of Pay Transparency?, article, 2019

    New pay transparency rules now in effect, HR Reporter Canada, 2021

    Should You Share Your Salary With Co-Workers? Here’s What Experts Say, TIME Magazine, 2018

    How to Do Pay Transparency Right, article, 2021

    The wage gap is real but we can fix it, Medium article by Allison Venditti, 2020

    How to know your worth & stand up for yourself at work, interview with Moms at Work founder Allison Venditti, 2021

    Managing Pay Transparency, KPMG article, 2018

    Want to Close the Pay Gap? Pay Transparency Will Help, The New York Times, 2019

    Reasons Why Salary Transparency Is Gaining Popularity,, 2019

    Fair Pay Around the World – Explore how legislation differs by country, free downloadable infographic

    4 countries who have introduced pay transparency,

    Pay Transparency and the Gender Gap, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019


  • 10 reasons why job hunting sucks

    A discouraged woman sits in front of her laptop with head in her hands.

    When I googled ‘job hunting’ the search results that came up were all about reformatting your resume, networking and meeting people for coffee. That made me think. Does ANYONE actually enjoy job hunting?

    The answer dear reader is no. Nobody enjoys looking for work.

    So, today I am doing the OPPOSITE of every other career coach out there. I’m not going to tell you to make a plan and focus more. I am going to tell you that this sucks.

    Here we go!

    1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    I see myself NOT having to answer this question, Jeff. EVER AGAIN. To all the HR people who read this blog, can we just remove this question from the deck? Pick something else.

    2. Cover Letters are stupid.

    Save me the heartfelt pleas that cover letters are a good way for applicants to demonstrate their writing skills. No one enjoys writing them. There are 100 other ways to get information from a potential candidate. We can move on now?

    3. Ghosting applicants.

    So, let me get this straight. After asking me to do three interviews, two contemporary dance routines and give you my closest six friends as references, you don’t even have the decency to tell me that I didn’t get the role?

    I feel like there should be a special place in hell for hiring managers who don’t take the time to email candidates when they don’t get the job.

    4. Thank you for submitting your resume.


    5. Group interviews and coffee dates.

    I kid you not there was one time when after a THIRD interview the hiring manager informed me that the final step would be me and the other top candidate to….wait for it….join the HR team for a group coffee.

    HARD PASS. I actually laughed when I read the email.

    6. It wasn’t a REAL job posting.

    What many people don’t know is that often times recruitment firms will put out “prime” job postings to build their talent pool. Yep, that is right. That remote job that pays $100K. Not real. They want you to apply so that you upload your resume into their database so when a client asks about their “talent base” the numbers look impressive.

    7. But you didn’t even LOOK AT IT?

    You did your keyword research, you typed it in, uploaded the resume, double checked everything. Then you hit ‘submit’ and 4.2 seconds later REJECTED. Did you not use the word stakeholder enough? Did you not give them the right metrics? Does anything even matter anymore?

    8. If one more person tells me to network…

    You know what I REALLY love doing when I am looking for work? Meeting with random strangers and smiling. Showing them how great I would be because my husband’s friend’s sister said so. (Though shameless plug – the Moms at Work Collective makes networking not seem like networking. It is awesome!)

    9. Are you interviewing for other jobs?

    I love that question. They are looking at my resume. I am unemployed. What is the right answer here? NOOOO – of course not! I was just WAITING for you to come into my life.

    Should I answer honestly? I actually scattered resumes from the top of a large building and could care less what company will help me pay my rent. Do I get points for that?

    10. Please tell us your desired salary.

    My desired salary is $16 million, Steve. SIXTEEN MILLION. But in all seriousness. This is how to answer that question.


  • 2022 Holiday Booklist

    The Moms at Work Collective regularly brings together authors, thinkers, and people dedicated to making an impact. As a group we work on learning, changing and growing as leaders and changemakers.

    As a gift to a friend or yourself, a good book is a beautiful thing. This booklist is made up of books from some of our author guests and recommendations from our members and network. Check them out and join our community.

    Books To Inspire

    Still Hopeful

    Maude Barlow

    A lifetime of advocacy as a feminist and world’s leading water defender. Maude Barlow is an icon – this book is a gift.

    Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion

    Gabrielle Stanley Blair

    Abortion has always been labelled as a women’s issue – what happens when we reframe that?

    Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons

    Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

    The authors take a comprehensive approach to teasing out what is different for women who lead. Real stories, great insight.

    The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

    Anna Malaika Tubbs

    Mothers are powerful. Read the stories of how these mothers raised leaders and shaped a nation.

    Books To Escape

    Black Sci-Fi Short Stories

    Temi Oh (Foreword), Tia Ross (Co-editor), Dr. Sandra M. Grayson (Introduction)

    This collection is powerful and showcases the world building skills of a set of authors who will change how you see earth and beyond.

    Healing Through Words

    Rupi Kaur

    In her newest release – Canadian poet shares pieces of herself as she attempts to help heal us through words.

    Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

    Nikita Gill

    In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

    Woman World

    Aminder Dhaliwal

    When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny graphic novel follows the rebuilding process.

    Books To Grow

    Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot

    Mikki Kendall

    In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women.

    We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement

    Andi Zeisler

    What does it mean when social change becomes a brand identity? Feminism’s splashy arrival at the center of today’s media and pop-culture marketplace, after all, hasn’t offered solutions to the movement’s unfinished business. So what is next?

    Laziness Does Not Exist

    Devon Price

    A conversational, stirring call to “a better, more human way to live” that examines the “laziness lie”—which falsely tells us we are not working or learning hard enough.

    Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change

    Angela Garbes

    Part galvanizing manifesto, part poignant narrative, Essential Labor is a beautifully rendered reflection on care that reminds us of the irrefutable power and beauty of mothering.


  • The Wage Gap is Real – but we can fix it

    As an HR professional I am a strong advocate for pay transparency. I also run an online community dedicated to supporting working mothers. I refuse to recruit for companies that will not disclose the salary upfront, and I don’t share job advertisements online without posted salary ranges, simply because keeping salaries secret reinforces discrimination.

    We have heard a lot recently in the media about discrimination, how opportunities, perceptions and even a person’s worth to society is largely based on conscious or even unconscious bias. All levels of the Canadian government and private companies alike have come together publicly to support fairness and equality.

    Social media posting, public denouncements of discriminative workplace cultures and news releases are aplenty, but when it comes to implementing corporate policies and government legislation to address these biases, we have gone quiet. We put our heads down and continue on thinking that “well, it’s not me, I don’t discriminate.”

    We know in Canada today:

    • Indigenous women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 35% less than non-Indigenous men, earning 65 cents to the dollar.
    • Racialized women working full-time, full year earn an average of 33% less than non-racialized men, earning 67 cents to the dollar.
    • Newcomer women working full-time, full-year earn an average of 29% less than non-newcomer men, earning 71 cents to the dollar.
    • According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, women with a disability in Canada working full and part-time earn approximately 54 cents to the dollar when compared to the earnings of nondisabled men, equaling a wage gap of around 46%

    Source: Gender Wage Gap Fact Sheet

    Pay Transparency is not only good corporate policy, it is one of the simplest and fastest ways to prevent unconscious discrimination in hiring practices and close the pay gap.

    In 2018, Ontario launched a 3 year strategy designed to “close the gender wage gap, particularly where it is greatest — for Indigenous, newcomer and racialized women, and women with disabilities.” Part of that plan was theThe Pay Transparency Act.The statute –was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019 and would make the following changes:

    • Salary rates or ranges must be stated in all publicly advertised job postings;
    • Candidates may not be asked about their past compensation;
    • Reprisals cannot be made against employees who discuss or disclose compensation;
    • Employers with one hundred or more employees and prescribed employers must track and annually report compensation gaps based on gender and other prescribed characteristics in pay transparency reports;
    • The province must also publish pay transparency reports.

    This Act would have removed the accepted discriminatory practices hidden under the guise of corporate culture and held companies accountable for their equality standards.

    In December 2018, the Government quietly rolled out Bill 57, which halted the implementation of the Pay Transparency Act citing a need for public consultations. The public consultations closed in April 2019, and we have not heard anything since.

    The Pay Transparency Act is ready to go, it received Royal Assent at the end of 2018. If we are truly supportive of equality, and removing long-standing and accepted bias, why are we not forcing the change?

    To quote the amazing Areva Martin “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. You must demand change and be the change … we need you to do more than stand.”

    Want the Ontario Conservative government to pass the Pay Transparency Act? Write a letter and share this article and send it to the following people:

    Ontario Premier, Doug Ford

    Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Hon. Monte McNaughton,

    Minister of Finance, Hon. Rod Phillips,

    Solicitor General (responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate). Hon. Sylvia Jones,

    Follow us on Instagram: @thisismomsatwork

    Follow us on LinkedIn: Moms At Work

    Join my newsletter and get updated on our advocacy

    Want your voice heard? Share your story? Send me a note on Instagram or join our community on FB — let’s make change


  • What I want you to know as a working mom of kids with special needs.

    It is hard to listen to other people while they talk about their fantastic last-minute weekend away. Their weeklong all-inclusive vacation that will be so relaxing because they can bring their children to the kid’s club and have other people cook for them.

    It is hard because we are jealous. It is hard because that reality is so far away from our own.

    Our time away is always within 20 minutes of a hospital.

    We have an escape plan.

    In the first two years of motherhood and after almost 50 appointments I knew that I could not work full time or maybe even at all. There is no job that will let me miss 10 days a month and there is no job that would be worth me missing those appointments. Someone might be able to make my kids life better at an appointment. Maybe a new drug or a new treatment. I couldn’t miss that chance.

    It has been 7 years since I had a “real job” an office job with benefits and vacation pay and perks. I struggle with the fact that I make a lot less money than I would had I kept growing my career. It is something that I have never actually said out loud. By saying that maybe that makes me a bad mother.

    Like most parents of kids with frequent medical appointments, I had to make a choice and that choice was my kids. While I will never regret that decision EVER – it was not part of my career plan. No one talks about this in the baby books or in career planning or really ever…

    In a sense I am really lucky. I run a small business and I get to plan my days around appointments. No judgement when I have a sick kid. Time off during school holidays and PA days. But with no paid sick time, vacation pay or a break the promise of the luxury of self-employment feels like a lie.

    In Canada and around the world – so many women have taken time off work to be a caregiver. They have organized appointments, advocated for care, learned a new medical language. They have learned faster and under more stressful circumstances than anyone could ever imagine.

    My journey as mother of 3 kids who have each spent dozens (ok hundreds) of hours at our children’s hospital is far from over. I can walk each and every hallway backwards from immunology to pediatrics to xray to ultrasound and back. I can do it in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning and although I am so incredibly thankful that these hospitals exist I long for the day when I step out the door for the last time.

    As a career coach and the Founder of Moms at Work I am in the fortunate position to be able to say to so many of my clients who have had to care for parents, children and themselves – I see you. I REALLY see you and I want you to hear me when I say – this wasn’t the plan.

    This wasn’t the plan – but I am a different more empathetic person because of it.

    This wasn’t the plan – but I am proud of the person I have become.

    This wasn’t the plan – but I know how powerful, capable and fierce I am.

    This wasn’t the plan – but you are not alone.

    Maybe you will start your own business. Maybe you will just volunteer for a time.

    Maybe you will start something new.

    Maybe you will join our growing community of women who GET IT and want to help

    Moms at Work was not something easy to start. It was not fast – it was not a master plan.

    Your journey won’t be either – but you will do it.

    Because nothing that we do in this life that you are most proud of was easy.

    Not your children.

    Not your success.

    Not the things that took you hundreds of hours.

    I want you to know that Moms at Work is for all working moms. I made it like that for you. Because this wasn’t part of the plan but we are here to help when you are ready.


    Allison Venditti – Mama bear to 3 cubs, Founder of Moms at Work, Career Coach, HR expert.