Leadership Lessons Learned: Hire Moms

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So far in 2018, I’ve done a terrible job of writing blogs. Things are picking up at VIP Crowd, and I’ve let my blog posts slide. In an effort to change this, I will be sharing a series of posts of the best leadership lessons I’ve learned in my three startups.

To start things off, I’ll go with a very timely one on this (at time of writing) Mother’s Day Eve.

One of the best secrets I’ve learned as a startup founder – Hire Moms!

Hiring Managers At Other Companies Must Be Crazy, Stupid, or Both

Recently, I came across an eye-opening article from Fast Company, The Secret Society of Parents From Tech’s Biggest Companies. I recommend everyone read it. If you have to choose between reading that and the rest of this post, choose the Fast Company article.

We all have heard the stats about how far we have to go for equality in the workplace between men and women. But it is even worse for working moms. Mothers are 79% less likely to be hired, half as likely to be promoted, and earn significantly less money than women with comparable resumes but without children.

I hope all companies come to their senses and change this, but in the meantime, it’s a huge advantage for any company with the common sense to realize that moms make great employees.

Rather than listing the plethora of reasons this is true, I’m going to share a little about the moms on our small team. Here we go (in the order they joined our team).

Alexa

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If you’ve read our blog before, you know we created a unique maternity leave policy when Alexa started. It’s something I’m quite proud of and I believe she agrees.

I had worked with Alexa for about three years prior to VIP Crowd. It’s no secret that she’s one of my all-time favorite co-workers. She does great work and is always willing to jump into any challenge even if it’s something she hasn’t done before. That is a great trait for any team member, but especially someone at a startup.

The one critique I’ve had with Alexa in the past is she is a perfectionist. I was always trying to get her to to recognize the many times when “done is better than perfect”. She always got the work done. Sometimes it just took her working crazy hours to do it. I worried she’d get burned out.

Now that she’s a mom to a 9-month-old son, she is much more efficient. There are times where she still works long hours, but not nearly as frequently. I believe becoming a mom has helped her streamline her process without sacrificing any quality.

Besides having a great boss :-D, I’m certain that the flexibility we provide at VIP Crowd is a major reason Alexa chose to work here. She’s a product designer, marketing manager, and now even helps on-board clients. We’re lucky to have her, and I’m proud of the mom I’ve seen her become.

Sara

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Speaking of someone who works very efficiency, next up is Sara. She also is a new mom. Her son shares a birthday with me and recently turned one.

I had known Sara prior to VIP Crowd. When we were looking for a Director of Marketing, she was the first person I talked to. She had recently returned to her old job after maternity leave and was commuting 45 minutes.

As a startup, most of your employees could probably get paid more somewhere else (although VIP Crowd prides itself on not being a cliche startup — we offer competitive pay and reasonable hours). I know the flexibility VIP Crowd offers and the remote work aren’t the only reasons Sara joined our team, but I am certain it played a big part.

Much like Alexa, Sara has a lot going on as a new mom with a new(ish) job. I did not work with her directly before she became a mom, so I cannot comment on any professional changes that have occurred as a result of it.

All I know is she’s a rockstar! Anything I ask her to do, she does it well and on-time. She also doesn’t need to be told what to do.

I am 100% confident in Sara’s abilities to lead our marketing efforts now and in the future. I look forward to growing this company with her and continuing to witness her as the amazing mom she is.

Amy

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Amy is my sister. She’s 18 months younger than me, so I’ve known for awhile that she’s pretty special. She’s also a mother of three awesome kids (ages 3, 5, and 7).

Amy works for us part-time. She helps out in many areas including customer support and QA testing.

Her schedule is hectic (understatement of the year). She’s always running the kids somewhere including the 30+ hours of therapy per week that her son completes. This hectic schedule would make it difficult for most jobs, but it’s a blessing for us to have her on the team. And that’s not because she’s my sister. She truly does add a ton of value.

Again, the flexibility VIP Crowd offers allowed us to get a super talented team member that we might not otherwise been able to hire. Are you sensing a theme yet? Weird how being flexible and treating team members like family (in this case she actually is family) can be a huge advantage in growing a team.

Amy is an inspiration to us all. She’s an amazing mom to all three of her kids, but I want to highlight her son in particular. A couple years ago, he was diagnosed with autism. There have certainly been struggles, but the progress he has made is nothing short of a miracle. This is in large part due to her being a great mom and her husband a great dad. If you ever get some time, check out the experiences they share on her public Facebook page.

Sarah

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Sarah (with an H!) is the newest member of our team. She is just starting with us, so I don’t have as much to share. I know she’ll be dominating her sales role soon though.

I haven’t met Sarah’s family yet, but I know she must be an amazing mom. Her daughter was recently accepted to a prestigious performing arts school in Chicago (2+ hours away). Sarah and her husband decided to move the family to allow her daughter to attend the school. How great is that!

Because of the move, Sarah could no longer work for her previous company. All of the sudden, I found myself with the opportunity to hire a proven top-performer. She would not have been available if it wasn’t for our company flexibility and acceptance of remote work.

There’s that theme again! Flexibility. Embrace it and I guarantee your company will be better off.

We are lucky to have Sarah on the team. I look forward to not only working with her, but also getting to know her and her family.

Karen aka “Mom”

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Okay, so this one isn’t officially an employee of VIP Crowd. But she is our biggest fan. I’d like to say a few words about my mom, Karen.

For me, it is common sense that working moms make incredible team members. I learned it by watching the best.

Growing up, my mom was a single mom. She raised three kids while working three jobs and always made time for our sporting events and other activities. I have no idea how she did it.

She taught me so many things including the importance of hard work and selflessness. I will never be able to properly thank her for everything she did for us.

I know I don’t say it enough, but I am so grateful to have her in my life. I’m sure she’s reading this, so I’ll say it here. Mom, thanks for everything and I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day To All!

I’d like to wish every mom out there a happy mother’s day!

And to all companies out there — wake up. Those stats I shared above are an embarrassment. Hiring, paying fairly, and promoting working moms is not only the right thing to do, it is good for your business.

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