From Law Firm Administrator to Family Dinner Activist to Working Mom Advocate
I had been a law firm administrator and human resource professional for more than 15 years. My work in investment banking recruiting and law firm management required that I coach, encourage, discipline and direct people through their careers. I developed a deep compassion for the hard working women with whom I worked. I felt that that their success was an essential part of my job responsibilities.
After my success in the corporate world, I shifted my focus to provide a deeper level of service to high-achieving professional working mothers who are determined to ascend in their careers, while maintaining deep connections to their families.
A Family Dinner Activist is Born
Well the truth is, my daughter Zoe was born. Two amazing, unexpected, miracles happened over the course of the next two years: I got pregnant and my husband was laid off from his job.
I had always been passionate about the quality of food my daughter ate, I would make breakfast and dinner for her daily. But I was oblivious to the most important fact – we never ate dinner with her.
When my husband started working from home, we laid off our nanny and he became the primary caregiver for our daughter. He was telling me all of the great stories of their day and I began to get jealous of all the “Zoe time” my husband was having and I committed to integrate more balance into my life. I made it home for dinner every night.
By the time my daughter was 3, my family was eating dinner together almost every night. My family simply enjoyed the dinnertime rituals we had created together.
I started blogging about what I cooked, how I planned meals, and the importance of whole, organic foods. That blog was the birth of a passion to help other busy families create meal-time rituals.
Food On Our Table was started to help working mothers connect with their families by creating a family dinner ritual.
A Working Mom’s Advocate
I began to understand that there is a way to be fully engaged at work and still have the time and energy to enjoy my family. This was the help my clients needed. Like me, my clients are high-achieving working moms, many of whom are transitioning into leadership roles within their organizations and they are determined to find a way to still be a “good” mom.
I created resources to address the needs of working professional moms when they are at their most vulnerable. Many professional women choose to delay motherhood, which means they are often faced with the new territory of transitioning into leadership positions in their careers, while simultaneously transitioning into motherhood. They need help navigating the tricky transitions in their careers while maintaining focus on their families.
Why Support Working Moms?
Working moms are a stabilizing factor in the work force. Their experience and perspective are valuable assets for any company. Most high-achieving professionals want to excel in their careers. They are motivated, but they also have challenges. These challenges, at times, get in the way of their ability to grab and own their engagement. Active support for working mothers helps them to re-engage with their passion for work.
- Men and women fresh out of college or university are being recruited in roughly equal numbers.
- By the time women make it half-way up the corporate ladder, many have already dropped out of the workforce.
- At the top, there are hardly any women left in C level or board positions.
- Women make up just 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
In the 1990s, women seemed to be heading toward a golden era. They were moving into the workforce in ever-increasing numbers, more opportunities were opening up for them, and the pay gap with men was shrinking. Today, however, that progress seems to have stalled, and there is a palpable sense of frustration as women give up and leave the workforce. Companies and organizations can’t afford to train and invest in their workforce, only to have half of them leave when they are poised to transition into leadership positions.
What do I do?
I have created the Leverage to Lead Program which is a working mothers mastermind group that is structured to drive engagement at work, share resources and is a true source of support for the unique challenges of being a working mother. I also have developed Eating Together and Motivated Morning workshops to help moms create family meal routines and one-on-one coaching packages that meet these busy moms wherever they find themselves.
I support companies and organizations as they launch initiatives and run conferences on how to make the most of the female potential on their staff.
My experience is that people often must make hard choices to establish new routines. While I support and advocate for the women I work with, I am not a cheerleader. My job is to shift the perspective that women have over their destiny, to hold a higher view of their success and to hold them accountable for their engagement in their careers and their families.
I believe we create everything that happens to us. I was able to create my own business and have time to enjoy my daughter’s first day of kindergarten. But my work isn’t just for my benefit. The women who have worked with me have made amazing gains in their work-life challenges.
One female law firm associate I coached was promoted to Senior Counsel while she was on maternity leave. She was the first female attorney of color in her firm to get promoted to Senior Counsel in Northern California. In fact, she is the first associate in the practice group in her office to get promoted to Senior Counsel in the past 10 years.
Another found her career stalling and faltering. She decided to create an area of specialization, and proactively sought a new position within her law firm that revitalized her career and gave her valuable work experience.
Another client has connected with her 10-year-old daughter in ways that she had not thought possible. Her family now schedules dates for family dinners, and she has been able to build flexibility into her career that allows her to enjoy her family.
One mother and daughter, attended my Eating Together workshop to connect and start planning family dinners and she says, “I walked into that first class as an emotional eater. In the 6 months before the class, I was told by my doctor that I was too overweight to have a minor surgery. In fact, I had to have my wedding ring cut off because it got so tight that it was hurting and I couldn’t remove it. But none of these incidences motivated me to lose the extra weight. Instead, I beat myself up and gained more weight. But after taking your classes, and then getting your help afterwards, I am happy to report that my family is much closer and healthier now, and I am a better wife and mother. To date, I have lost 60 pounds, my husband has lost 30 pounds and our daughter has lost 80 pounds.”
What was the magic? They all need a doable plan and the support to make changes to live a different life.
Often, the thing that makes the difference, that makes change click, is the realization that they are not alone when facing the daunting challenge of successfully juggling family and career. They feel powerful when they break out of the isolation and realize they are not the only one. They begin to see a new way to success, and the community they build becomes the inspiration they need.
I believe that family dinner is the cornerstone of development for school-age children AND I believe all working moms have the right to thrive in their careers by leverage their skills and expertise to create a flexible career that gives the time they need to focus on, and engage with, their families.