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 ournetwork 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)
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 tgam.ca/Changemakers).
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?
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
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.
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
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.
NOW TYPE OUT THE WHOLE THING AGAIN IN OUR APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEM.
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.
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
A lifetime of advocacy as a feminist and world’s leading water defender. Maude Barlow is an icon – this book is a gift.
Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul
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.
We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement
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?
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%
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:
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.
Here is something that a lot of career coaches, salary negotiation people and random strangers miss. Salary negotiation starts the moment you answer that horrible little question “what is your current salary?” or “please provide a salary range.”
But let me start by explaining this process to you. It is a process that corporations explain in ways that don’t make any sense. When HR people say that they “need to know you are in their hiring range” that means they don’t know what they are talking about and have been programmed to spout things they don’t understand.
Pay transparency means that companies have to be open and honest about their salary ranges. They are required to tell you that range and they are not allowed to ask you your current salary. It is actually legislation in several states and is close to being legislation in Ontario (once Doug Ford moves the hell on). Why? It is illegal in many places as it is a proven tactic to pay women and POC less.
Hold on what? Yes — you heard me right. IT IS A TACTIC USED TO PAY YOU LESS. As a hiring manager I know exactly the range of money we have to hire you. Your current salary means NOTHING TO ME.
Ok — now that you are all fired up…how do you answer these ridiculous questions when they are asked of you because it is still legal in many places. Worry not friend I have a list!
If you are required to put in a salary range on a form that only lets you put in one number instead of putting 50 000. Put this. 50275 What does that mean (it means 50–75K)
If you have to pick a range — pick the higher one than you think you should. Women tend to undervalue themselves. Pick the higher one.
If you have to provide a range — make it an obnoxiously big one. They wanna play a game — go for it. 55–100K.
If you are asked by a recruiter for your current salary, try one of the following answers:
a) I would like you to provide me with the salary range since you are the one who called me
b) I am not going to answer that as my current salary is not relevant to this new role.
c) I am not going to answer that as requesting my current salary is a tactic used to under pay POC and women. (prepare for a bumbling apology and/or awkward silence)
d) Can you tell me the salary range for this role? I want to make sure it isn’t below what I am looking for.
and my favourite:
e) Can you explain to me why that is relevant? (which will be some bullshit answer) and then you can insert answer c.
I am not telling you this as someone who has just read all these studies and is spouting them back out at you. I am telling you this as someone who has been a hiring manager for well over a decade, a career coach for over 800 women and an expert in pay transparency. I know this because I have seen it — for years.
I was going to do a live AGM but when you are a company called Moms at Work you have to do even your AGM differently, so we are doing it in the most accessible way possible. Read whenever you want, and I will use the event to answer questions and THEN I will take the questions and make a new post of answers!
And for those of you who don’t want to scroll to the bottom – yes we are starting a community fund to support our advocacy work and yes you CAN get involved by supporting in a number of ways found HERE
First up: What is Moms at Work and how did you start?
Moms at Work started as a small Facebook group that I ran as part of my company Careerlove. ca (now not active). I did career coaching and corporate program creation. I was doing really well – making the money I needed, and I was a solopreneur. Just me 🙂 I had been coaching MOSTLY mothers who were struggling in their careers, and I wanted to make a place that I and my clients never had.
When I created Moms at Work it became the thing that I always needed in my career but let me be clear I was a career coach and sold programs and courses. The group was just part of my business and was TOTALLY manageable with 200 people.
What happened though is that… it and I became more. Not just a Facebook group. Not just a career coach. Not a place to tell me to lean in and not drop a ball or whatever other crap that leadership women’s groups tried to sell me.
I started it as the place where I could talk about my kids, my ambition, my success and also the lack of engagement with all of them. I started Moms at Work because women with kids are being asked to exist and fight to be included in a system that was not designed for us. We are forced to fail or win at all costs. When we are not doing well, we are sold foot scrubs and told to “calm down.”
That cannot be the answer.
Ok cool! Got it – a place for us amazing!!! Then what happened?
When COVID happened, we had about 750 people in the group. My career coaching dried up completely. All my corporate clients dropped off. The only thing I had left was a group of women who were part of a group program I created called the Insiders. I was not making any money. (none – actually less than none)
I was ready like many business owners to throw in the towel. I was going to homeschool my kids and support other women’s organizations that would step in and prevent what I knew would inevitably happen. Women with children and pregnant women would be laid off. They would be the scapegoats of corporate. I was right about that part but wrong about the women’s groups. I remember stomping through the house muttering where the F are all these groups who are supposed to be advocating for me!!!!
As you all know that scenario didn’t happen. I did not go quietly into the night and craft my way through the pandemic.
I took CERB to keep my business alive so I could pay for all the subscriptions (about 4K a year in subscriptions and costs) and my taxes and I spoke to my partner and said – I want to try and help. He has been married to me a long time and knows that look of rage when he sees it.
From 2020 onward Moms at Work did the following work (just me for the first 12 months):
Over 150 media interviews to highlight how working mothers were carrying us but being destroyed in the process (over 100 hours)
I wrote 2 op-eds. (30 hours)
Experts join us on FB lives to explain benefits, give legal advice, we hosted over 60 events to help you understand how this system was not designed for you and how to both work within it and tear it apart. (100 hours)
We launched Canada’s first pay transparent job board (75 hours)
We designed Canada’s first maternity leave survey to show just how broken the process is – then we created http://www.myparentalleave.ca to fix it. (400 hours)
We met with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to share YOUR stories (40 hours)
We advocated to have the EI hours dropped during COVID so that pregnant women would be able to qualify (45 hours)
We helped you through our free resources and Pay What You Can talks earn almost 5 million dollars in salary increases. (over 50 hours)
We have helped over 800 women get new jobs (probably more)
We sit on the EI roundtable and many other unpaid roles to make sure that working mothers are included in updates and changes (to date 60 hours)
But now the parts you do not see, need to be shown.
In order to do all those things, you see above – I paid for them. I did not make any money during 2020 and less than 30K in 2021 in order for me to bring on a small team. Our profit after our first year as “Moms at Work” was $1500 (we were paid our salaries – but believe me it was tight).
All the things you love us for – work because I run a phenomenal small team who is paid well and is so good at their job that it makes my heart hurt but it means that I am funding Moms at Work in a way I can’t continue to do.
But what about sponsors?
We have spent as a team over 100 hours trying to secure and create sponsors. While we came close a few times – our mandate to support working mothers (and not – shockingly the companies trying to sell you pampers) has been a “challenge” for companies. Turns out companies don’t like it when you go after corporate and tell them that pay transparency is important.
Any grants we have looked at and applied for – require us to not talk about various subjects (call out the government when we need to, talk about how companies underpay women) and all the large companies require a gag clause to not say anything bad about them now or in the future. So, if that is what it takes to work with these partners to show them how much they “support women” – I don’t want it. If you need to threaten and silence women to work with them then NO THANK YOU.
For the first time in our lives – why can we not have a women’s organization work ONLY FOR US. We don’t need awards shows, we don’t need a gala, we don’t need billboards – we need someone to SCREAM that we exist, someone who will not turn away from this fight and who can look at exploitive companies in the eye and say our community is not for sale (I have done that by the way – it could possibly be better than chocolate, coffee and silence rolled into one)
So I wanted to create a space. A space with partners, not sponsors. No gag funding. A place to tear apart the systems. To create success. Community. Love and support.
What about becoming a non-profit?
Many of you may not know – non-profit just means you don’t pay tax. I am FULLY in agreement that as a business owner I should pay tax. This is what gives us the things I believe in – public education, public healthcare, and funding for those who support those who are struggling. I also refuse to be the tax write-off for a company that I KNOW just forced our group members to sign an NDA in order to be paid out for being assaulted at work (see because of Moms at Work I cannot unsee this stuff).
Non profit – does NOT mean you do not make money. It is still a business – they still make money. They like to scream that they don’t but they absolutely do – they do it by underpaying workers under the guise of doing good 🙂
The thing that makes them different is the required transparency. Moms at Work plans to be transparent without having all the complexities of non-profit status.
The world of work and its constraints do not work for me (just as they do not work for you). Giving over the thing that allows me to work (Moms at Work is my business) feels entirely unsafe. I refuse to give a volunteer board of directors control of this business that creates meaningful well-paid part time work to a dedicated team of women and pays my mortgage. Having been on non-profit boards – let me be very clear – the patriarchy still exists in all its forms, and it is a daily struggle to tear it down.
I also know that for some women they do not need to work. Some entrepreneurs get money from wealthy parents and can manage not to earn money. That is not my reality. I have a mortgage to pay, two kids with very expensive medical needs and I have to pay for my own speech therapy (7k a year) to be able to continue to retain my very limited reading. I would like to go on a local vacation and maybe send my kids to really good camps one year. That would be really awesome.
Ok Allison so now what?
I am coming to you today applying for a job. I am applying for my job that I have been working for 3 years unpaid.
We as a community have to believe in Moms at Work and all that it can be and develop a community fund and base of supporters to continue to do this work. We will officially become a social impact organization – A coalition for and by mothers and our allies in this fight.
Moms at Work has PROVEN what we can do with very little and I want you to imagine what we can do with more.
So here it goes:
Hi my name is Allison Venditti. I am the mom to 3 little boys. I am an HR professional and Canada’s top expert in parental leave management. I am an advocate; Star Wars lover and I would like to lead Moms at Work to do the following:
Become the voice of working mothers across Canada – fighting for pay transparency, pay equity, and more. I want our purpose to be help you earn more money, build community and end the motherhood penalty
We would like to create Canada’s largest database of salary data – free for the public. If they won’t give us pay transparency we will do it for them
Create free resources – pay transparency guide, motherhood penalty guide etc and activate our community to be able to talk about these things within your companies. We want to help entrepreneurs build DIFFERENT companies.
We would like to launch a podcast to create free avenues for information about work, parenting and more
We would like to continue to offer programs at low cost and free as well as higher price points for those who can afford them – and have money to create bursary programs for those who cannot. We want to continue to meet people where they are and bring you, speakers and experts, that you won’t find anywhere else.
We would like to create a jobs newsletter where we can help you find jobs! The job board was too expensive to continue so we are trying this instead!
We would like to have My Parental Leave reach over 1000 parents and 100 companies – we are going to try and fundamentally change how Canadian companies manage parental leave.
We would like to strike a coalition of women’s organizations and organize together. This will take a tremendous amount of time – but we need to move faster – we can do big things together.
As you can see NONE of the above have really anything to do with career coaching 🙂 None of the media I did was “work with Allison she is a career coach” it has all been about you. About working moms.
Now – most organizations would list the above and people would say – yeah right. But if you refer to the list above that then I think you probably say – yep she absolutely can.
Ok Allison I am in! I would like to hire you!
Beginning Nov 1, 2022 Moms at Work will become Canada’s first organization built for and by working mothers.
We will become a coalition that will look like the following:
The Facebook group will remain. We will share our surveys and work through our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss any of our events, courses and advocacy.
We will be able to hire a community manager and allow anonymous posts.
We will be completely transparent with our community fund and what we use the money for. Our accountant Veronica Yeoh, CPA (and Moms at Work supporter) has established the proper reports for us to share with you annually.
We will provide our members with an annual impact report to track our progress and our impact.
On our website you will find the level in which you can support as an individual, an advocate and as a business.
We have included a one-time give button. If you hire someone for your company, get a referral bonus by hiring a member, get a client or get a raise or new better job through the community we ask that you give back either by increasing your monthly amount or by giving a one-time fee.
If you would like to join us as a supporter, please donate to our advocacy project
In order to continue this work Moms at Work will need to have a minimum of 300 people donate $25 per month.
This will allow us to pay for:
Salaries (I will continue to offset by career coaching/Collective group – so that the money is directed to more support)
Data Analyst, social media and writing support (ad hoc)
Advocacy support and volunteer coordination (part time)
We have started something. Something big and I want to see it grow. Please join us. I can do this. I promise I can – I just really need your help.
If you would like to join us as a supporter please donate now.
As I was in the midst of my own morning routine, I thought it would be interesting to compare. If, like me, you do not have the time to read the whole article — let me give you the highlight reel from a few different mothers, at least the ones Forbes picked.
Their Morning Highlights:
Mom A: 4:45am Wake up and have a bowl of quinoa cereal. I do an hour or so of 3rd or 4th series Ashtanga yoga.
Mom B: 7:15–7:45am Make breakfast for family. When producing or directing, I rarely made it home in time to cook dinner, so I shifted the focus to breakfast. I make buttermilk pancakes, eggs in a frame, and for over a decade, we have Crepes Thursday. I make the batter the night before (so the flour absorbs the liquid) and then customize for each family member with fresh-toasted pecans, Nutella, marshmallows, and bananas.
Mom C: 5:44am My internal clock, without fail, always wakes me 60 seconds before iPhone alarm goes off.
Mom D: 6:30am Breakfast with husband
Now to be fair there were a few — “ask kids to get shoes on…..ask kids to get shoes on again” pieces in here but overall, there was a lot of breathing, working out, reading several newspapers and making complicated breakfasts. I began to temporarily think that I was the odd woman out here. Was I just not able to pull it together? Was I a bad mom for not having “Crepes Thursday”?
So, after I dropped my temper tantrum throwing 3 year old at daycare that morning I asked another mom — “did you do any yoga this morning?” she almost snorted her coffee out her nose. I felt a bit better.
I went to work and after getting nothing done other than tidying off my desk, I went back to Google to look up more “morning routines” and it was more of the same. It still made me feel like shit. So, I thought — I will add my morning routine to the list to balance things out. When I make it to being one of the Top 12 women leaders — this is the story I will share.
My Morning Routine
6:45am: Alarm goes off. Curse the Gods that it has only been an hour since I had just been up with a weepy 3 year old who refused to go back to bed without a back rub and song at 4:45am
6:50am: Still laying there. I am not meditating or breathing but deciding whether or not to weep due to lack of sleep.
6:55am: Forced to get up. My 5 year old is on the toilet and I heard him tell his brother to pee in the bath if he can’t hold it.
7:00–7:15am: Navigate 4 bodies in one bathroom as showers, teeth brushing, shaving and yelling all take place at the same time.
7:15–7:30am: Get dressed, brush hair. Help kids get their clothes on and get downstairs. My 3 year old has a banana. I don’t even know where he got that.
7:30am: Make breakfast. Your choices are fruit, cereal or yogurt or any combination of the three because Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I like to offer a comfortable variety — I now call Continental Breakfast in order to compete with that woman’s Crepe Thursday.
7:35am: Take naked 3 year old back upstairs — as he has somehow managed to undress himself.
7:45am: Kids take 10 minutes to read books, play a quiet game or wrestle and break furniture. This is time I now have to spend changing my shirt. I thought I could get away with the yogurt stain but realized I have apple sauce all over my pants.
7:55am: We start to get ready to leave for daycare and school
8:15am: After successfully finding shoes for both kids, having them get their coats on by asking less than 25 times and with both school bags in hand I am feeling victorious. We are early! I look forward to a pleasant stroll and enjoying quality time with my kids.
8:30am: Burst back through the front door. We were halfway to daycare when I realized I forgot both a lunch and permission form. Found both. But now we are required to jog to get to school on time.
8:35am: Feel like I won the lottery when our neighbour asks if she can walk my oldest to school so I can head directly to daycare. YES! Thank you! MY NEIGHBOUR IS AWESOME!
8:45am: Get to daycare and spend 10 minutes trying to get a pair of indoor shoes on a 3 year old who insists that he doesn’t like the way his shoe looks next to his other shoe.
9:00am: Back home and ready to get to work. Spent an hour cleaning desk and then wrote a blog post instead of working on program development.
Now I just have to sit and wait for Forbes to call. I am ready for my morning interview.