In This Issue:
- A New Perspective on the "Second Job"
- Q&A With Katharine Zaleski
- How Women Entrepreneurs Will Lead Us Out of the COVID-19 Crisis
- Our Founders on the Frontlines
- Offer benefits for their employees beyond what is required and with the knowledge that the extra expense cuts into their profits.
- Make deliberate choices in the design of their offerings to deliver something better and more consistent with their values, despite increased cost.
- Have events and appreciation programs designed to deepen connections.
- Start giving time and money to a charitable cause as soon as they have made a profit, and those causes often are linked to improving the lives of women and children.
- Deliberately develop a culture where people can grow and be their best.
- Ability to gain trust by consistently telling the truth while acknowledging the truth’s impact on people, good or bad.
- Ability to listen to and mine all the data to arrive at the most effective conclusion.
- Appreciation of diverse points of view and collaboration.
- Ability to be creative, forget assumptions and precedent and be open to the present and the new.
- Ability to multi-task.
- Bias to action, boldness and decisiveness and stamina for criticism.
- Ability to consistently demonstrate personal and professional “Why,” purpose and values.
- Microsoft Global Social Entrepreneurship
- Octane LaunchPad: Tech & Life Science Entrepreneurs
- V School's You Belong in Tech Scholarship
- Women Founders Network's Annual Fast Pitch Competition
- Google x Women Who Tech Women Startup Challenge
- SoGal x Atlas Build Without Burnout Program
- Hello Alice's Business For All
- Stacy's Rise Project
- The Entrepreneurial Dream Project
A New Perspective on the "Second Job"
Undervalued No More
One of the profound lessons of the COVID-19 crisis is how our society undervalues certain work. We have a new and deep appreciation for the importance of grocery store workers, farm laborers, transit workers, the men and women who deliver our mail and packages and, of course, first responders and healthcare workers. And the new normal for many of us working from home is throwing light on another category of undervalued work – the unpaid care and domestic work than women do.
Despite the increasing presence of women in professional and public life, a recent report from the United Nations estimates that women do 2.6 times the amount of unpaid care and domestic work that men do. This work isn’t calculated into our GDP because, according to the chief of research at UN Women, society still sees “women’s work” as less valuable. Whether care and domestic work is a woman’s full-time job or her second or third job, it regularly is undervalued.
We asked Vid Prabhakaran – Project W ally, DWT partner and chair of the firm’s energy practice, husband, and father of a boy and a girl, ages 7 and 4, respectively – what he has learned during this period of work from home about the value of care and domestic work.
By Vidhya Prabhakaran, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
I knew working from home with my two little monsters – referring to my young, rambunctious, and constantly fighting daughter and son and not my cats – was going to be a challenge. But I knew I was already blessed by the fact that my wife had chosen early on in our relationship to stay at home to take care of our home and the kids. So I focused on all the positives that I was told I would now have to look forward to: more time with my wife and children, no commute, and the chance to physically stop and reprioritize what is most important in my life.
Hogwash. I certainly spend more time with my wife and children – or at least near my wife and children. That much at least is true.
But without the incredible support networks (school, family and friends, easy access to food and groceries, babysitters, etc.) that previously allowed us to at least occasionally focus our limited time with each other in productive and joyful pursuits, it feels like most of our additional time together has been focused on the basic survival of keeping the children fed, bathed, and entertained without our living space completely descending into a general state of overwhelming squalor and toy-strewn chaos.
I have at least tried to step up further – but there is no question that my wife continues to bear the laboring oar as we try to stay afloat and that I am unable to completely replace whatever assistance the various support networks offered her pre-COVID. So now I feel both beleaguered at the extra weight of additional domestic work I am now bearing and guilty that I am not doing more.
Whatever time is left remaining for me has been spent lawyering – or what passes for lawyering these days – as my son makes a game at video-bombing me on Zoom and my daughter times the start of her most woeful crying spells for the minute I announce myself on conference calls. But at least for whatever work that I am doing, I get plaudits from my clients and my colleagues. And I get sincere and important satisfaction in knowing that whatever I accomplish is seen and appreciated and my career continues to progress forward.
The same is not true for my wife, however. For my wife, whatever time is left remaining has been spent educating, nurturing, stocking, cleaning, worrying over and staying connected with loved ones and neighbors, and a million other overlooked and somehow at-once mundane and essential tasks. My children experience and benefit from all of my wife’s hard work, but being so young (at least I hope it’s just because they are young) lack the grace or ability to express their gratitude. And any thanks I might occasionally utter in my wife’s general direction is nearly always inadequate when compared to the additional sacrifice she is now forced to bear, and the sacrifice she has always borne.
I sincerely hope that being forced to stay at home will give others like me who are blessed to have a partner who does the hard work at home a better window into just how unheralded and overwhelming domestic work is. I hope it also makes us stop to commend and support our women colleagues and clients who often bear the lion’s share of this "second job." They usually do so with minimal complaint for fear of being “mommy tracked” in their careers, but that’s no reason for the rest of us to just expect it. With these insights, maybe then domestic work will stop being so undervalued and women will start being recognized for the extra work that they have always done.
Q&A With Katharine Zaleski
Co-founder and President of PowerToFly
After the birth of her first daughter and an epiphany about the challenges of being a working mother with small children, Katharine Zaleski set out to change the way women around the world work. In 2014, she co-founded PowerToFly to fast-track gender equality by upskilling and connecting women virtually to high-visibility roles. At a time when many of us are discovering the joys and challenges of working remotely, Katharine shares her insights on the power of working from anywhere.
1. In 2015, you famously wrote an essay in Fortune apologizing to all the working mothers whom you had supervised. What are the most important lessons you have learned as a working mother?
First, be easy on yourself-- raising children and running a startup is a challenge, to say the least. You need to think about how you want to make an impact each day and then decide how to carve out your time accordingly. Make a list of five things you want to accomplish in a given day and if you get just one of them done, consider that a win!
I also have learned to allow myself to rely on my network of friends and family when the balancing act becomes overwhelming. Raising kids and running a company are both extremely difficult and time consuming for different reasons—there’s no shame in asking for help and leaning on people who would be happy to lend a hand if you just made the ask.
2. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis both men and women are out of the office and working remotely. Will this phenomenon begin to level the playing field and accelerate the progress of gender parity in the workplace – or not?
It’s hard to say. On the one hand, a lot more families are working from home so we have more eyes on the unpaid labor that is usually on the mother’s plate. Now that everyone is in the same place, I hope that there are families having water shed moments where they realize how much one spouse is subsidizing the other. On the other hand, working moms without backup childcare options are in a particularly tough spot since it is likely that they will shoulder the lion’s share of their home’s domestic duties. With couples where both parents work, the woman working is seen to have a less ‘important’ career, especially if she makes less money than her spouse does. In those cases, the working mom still has the same workload from her job along with the additional responsibilities of childcare. Anyone managing a team with women should do a check-in to ensure they are cognizant of their employee’s household dynamics given how significantly COVID-19 has changed the standard interplay of work and home life overnight.
3. What are your [three] top tips for being most productive when working remotely?
1. Sit down every morning and create a list of the daily outcomes and goals you aspire to achieve for each different facet of life: work, family and personal. Break up your outcomes into smaller pieces to map out exactly what you need to achieve your end goal and make the list more manageable.
2. Take each outcome and break it up into all the different tasks necessary to get to your desired outcome. Then, calendar the different tasks with a timeline to completion so that you hold yourself accountable. Another benefit of this method is that your team, clients, etc., can still schedule meetings and events on your calendar while you stay on course to complete your goals.
3. When you are working remotely, it is very easy for your work and personal lives to intertwine. Try to set yourself up so that you’re in a room or area of your home you can designate as your ‘office’. This separation helps create a delineation between work time and personal time, and allows you to keep your focus where it needs to be.
4. As co-founder and President of your company you manage a large team. What advice can you give founders as to how to be a great remote boss?
The best advice I can give founders on managing their teams remotely is to prioritize being both a great listener and communicator. Not only should you listen attentively to what your employee is saying but you should pick up on non-verbal cues, like their tone and body language. Expectations about role, duties and responsibilities need to be discussed when you onboard someone new and both parties should come to a mutual understanding to avoid problems later. Without in-person meetings, a remote boss also needs to ask specific and direct questions, like “What project did you complete this month that made you most happy?” or “What pain point(s) are you consistently encountering that you think I (or the team) could help with?” Frequent check-ins, direct questions, and active listening are all important tools to utilize as a remote boss managing a team.
How Women Entrepreneurs Will Lead Us Out of the COVID-19 Crisis
For over thirty years, Barbara Roberts has been writing and speaking about female entrepreneurship. As a successful serial entrepreneur, she led companies through 9/11 and the 2008 meltdown and has held senior leadership and board positions in financial institutions and government agencies. As Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Business School and Hofstra, Barbara has studied the journeys of hundreds of entrepreneurs and written four whitepapers on entrepreneurs, including "Women's Entrepreneurial Journeys." We asked Barbara to share her thoughts on the role women entrepreneurs will play as we navigate this crisis.
By Barbara Roberts, Entrepreneur in Residence, Columbia Business School
This is a time of chaos. We are not sure where or what the bottom will be. Every aspect of everyday life is in shambles. Anxiety, fear, confusion, distrust, uncertainty and a hunger for order and certainly is our state of being.
And it is in this type of environment that entrepreneurs thrive. True entrepreneurs are not overly in love with a solution but in love with the problem that they must solve. They are driven to solve problems and create opportunities. The more chaos, the more opportunities. This is the start of innovation and it is why an entrepreneurial mindset is the answer to this crisis.
In crisis or chaos, every entrepreneur must go back to their “Why” as the first step to surviving. “Why are you and your company on this planet? What is the problem that you must solve? What is your essence? How can you make yourself and your company essential to the world and your clients and customers?” The solution to the problem is in the answer to that question.
Women entrepreneurs drive solutions to problems differently. The unique way women navigate chaos and create opportunity out of problems is something special that is needed now more than ever.
Here is what we learned from the women entrepreneurs featured in “Women’s Entrepreneurial Journeys”:
Women prioritize people and relationships over profit. Women entrepreneurs know that relationships with all their stakeholders -- investors, bankers, vendors, employees, contractors and clients -- are core. We often see that women entrepreneurs:
Women embrace learning and feedback for improvement. Women entrepreneurs embrace feedback, contrary points of view and diverse opinion. In contrast, women note that men often ask for feedback and then respond defensively.
Women value work-life balance. Women entrepreneurs put high priority on work-life balance, scheduling time for their partners, exercise, meditation, vacation and pampering. They often bring their children to work and support their employees prioritizing family, vacations, and healthy habits. They recognize the importance of finding time to reflect.
Women lead with the heart and head. Women entrepreneurs lead with courage, humility, empathy, flexibility, integrity, and passion using their:
Our research told us that what differentiates women entrepreneurs are the values and principles that guide the way they build and lead their companies. It is those values and principles and the women who embrace them that will help our economy and society emerge from the current crisis stronger, more resilient and more compassionate.
Read the entire whitepaper Women’s Entrepreneurial Journeys.