Laura Nix Gerson is the co-founder of Métier, a digital content producer and marketer, specializing in lead generation and audience development. She has directed marketing and business development strategy in both corporate and agency environments. Over the course of her career she has been at the table with industry leaders and heads of corporations and con
If this stack of books is any indication, the issue of family leave and childcare is an ongoing and challenging topic which is why the FAMILY Act is so important. Women are still by and large running the household. Equality at home is few and far between. And families still don't get the support they need to do something as simple as care for their families. As a nation we rank far behind other countries in putting families first, and we are behind in putting women on equal footing with men when it comes to our careers.
"It boils down to simple, basic lack of equality. If policies keep pushing men to rush back to work, how will women keep working up the ranks? Imagine a husband and wife work for the same company, and she outranks him. If she gets paid to leave and he doesn't, the company is giving her an incentive to stay home and him an incentive to stay at work. The chances are that a man will fill in for her while she's out, since in general in America far more men are in higher positions. She loses that time to advance her career; the dad loses the chance to be a caregiver in those critical initial weeks; and the child loses out on having two parents equally well equipped and experienced to handle all the caregiving tasks. The business also loses out, because it doesn't get to keep the best talent regardless of gender." - Josh Levs, former CNN journalist, author of "All In" and the outspoken advocate for family leave
Yesterday Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a group of 27 Senators to reintroduce the FAMILY Act, a bill that would create a universal, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave program for all workers for the cost of a cup of coffee per week. Families in America are losing $21 billion in annual income, taking time off to care for their children, often never returning to work. This is detrimental to families and to our economy, as businesses also suffer from the loss of qualified employees.
What is the FAMILY Act?
The FAMILY Act creates a self-sustaining family insurance program for all workers – young and elderly, single and married, and men and women, regardless of the size of their employer. Modeled after successful state programs, and costing only as much as a cup of coffee per week, the fund would provide up to 66 percent wage-replacement for 12 weeks in the event of a serious personal or family medical emergency.
“The vast majority of working families don’t have access to paid leave, and as a working mom, I understand the urgency of this problem,” said Senator Gillibrand (D-NY). “Every day that goes by without a national paid family leave program, workers will continue to lose income, they’ll continue to lose their jobs, and businesses will continue to lose employees. We need to pass the FAMILY Act and give every working American access to paid leave when they need it.”
The FAMILY Act will allow working people to take partially paid time off to address their own serious medical condition, including pregnancy and recovery from childbirth; the birth or adoption of a new child; the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner; and certain military caregiving and leave needs. More information is available here.
Not only does it cover all American workers, it’s affordable for businesses. It will be funded through minimal employee and employer contributions – less than $1.50 per week for a typical worker. Case studies demonstrate the policy will actually save companies money (including small and medium sized businesses!), because it will improve retention rates and spare businesses the costs of on boarding and training new employees. Some studies suggest America’s GDP would be 2-3% higher with a policy like the FAMILY Act in place.
Why is the FAMILY Act better than what Ivanka Trump is proposing?Ivanka Trump has a plan on the table too. Her plan is strictly a six-week maternity leave plan, leaving out a significant portion of the population, men.... and domestic partners, adoptive parents or anyone who hasn't physically pushed out a baby. (Does that mean moms who have a c-section are excluded too?) The FAMILY Act would recognize the diversity of families and their needs. Couples in a “committed relationship” – including domestic partners – would have paid family leave protections. Workers who need time away from their jobs to care for a domestic partner or a partner’s child – in addition to providing care for a spouse, parent, or biological or adopted child – would be able to do so.
Why is the FAMILY Act important?Women want and need to work. We want to have successful and fulfilling careers. And we want to raise our families too. Unfortunately for too many talented women, staying home to raise children significantly affects our career trajectory. Partially because of the stigma around maternity leave and "stay at home moms" and partially because the few weeks we planned to be home turn into months and then years. The FAMILY Act provides for a more significant window of time off, with the full support of your company and your partner gets time off too.
"The baby years are short and our lives are long. The sad statistical reality is that more than 70 percent of women who return to work after taking only two years off can't find a position comparable to what they had before." - Samantha Ettus and author of The Pie Life
What can you do to support the FAMILY Act?Contact your senators and representatives and tell them this issue matters to you. If you have a personal story, share it when you call. Personal stories matter. Here's a sample script:
Nicole Feliciano is a "mom boss", an entrepreneur and busy mom of two. For the last ten years she's been sharing her personal finds and interests with like-minded moms on her site, MomTrends and has gathered other like-minded moms to her team along the way.
I recently met Nicole at the LA Baby Show where our MomAngeles team caught up with her on the Red Carpet (see video below) and I picked up a copy of her Mom Boss book while she was there, all about her journey to mom-evolved self-employment along with the stories of more than twenty other mom bosses across the country - all initiated out of a desire to be more accessible to their families while creating a fulfilling career for themselves. Moms like Kimberly Inskeep of Cabi, Brooke Stewart of Power Moms Network, and Holly Hanna of The Work at Home Woman.
"The book is a start-up guide to success for any woman who wants to launch a business after they have kids. Because things are different after you have kids...MomBosses manage their time and multi task better than anyone. Want to get something done? Ask a working mom." - Nicole Feliciano, MomTrends
Nicole includes a quiz to help you determine what kind of Mom Boss you are - Solo Artist, Brand Builder or Team Mom. It's so refreshing to have someone break down these work for yourself opportunities along the same lines we do at MomFair.
As Solo Entrepreneurs many moms capitalize on their skill set to launch freelance or small business ops for themselves. These solo efforts often include blogging and social media. At MomFair, we believe the rise of the mom blog is based simply on two things - ease of launch (it's an easy way to build a personal brand and voice with no overhead) and virtual management (can be done anytime, anywhere). Perfect for moms.
Nicole delves into Brand Builders - woman who launch recognizable products and brands like Zutano and Honest. These are moms with big picture aspirational goals who build teams and small businesses contributing to economic prosperity by hiring people.
I love that she devotes so much of her book to Team Moms. At MomFair, we are big fans of Direct Sales and Multilevel Marketing companies like Cabi, Rodan & Fields and Arbonne. These companies offer women a way to build a business without starting from scratch. Products and marketing programs are already developed and when you sign up you are instantly part of a team providing you advice and mentorship. For women who embrace and pursue these ops this can become a very lucrative income. The story of Jen the military wife who was able to build her Rodan & Fields business with every reassignment - the AirForce moved them every three years - is a powerful example of opportunity.
All of these mom bosses have learned to multi-task, work from anywhere, and squeeze every minute out of the day. I can totally relate. Just like the ladies in the book, my laptop goes with me every where and I know all the hot spots from here to my daughter's school and back. I pull over and work from my car 20 minutes at a time on busy days. Saying no and making time for your family is also a part of the puzzle.
"It didn't take long to realize that not every event or meeting is worth taking. I've learned to ask the right questions and take time to vet things before saying yes." - Brooke Stewart of Power Moms Media
All these stories and examples are incredibly inspiring but starting at Chapter 15 Nicole tells how to do it. How to take those first steps, get established, get going.
This book was an incredibly useful read and I finished it in less than two hours! Toss it in your bag and read in the carpool lane, while Timmy is at soccer practice or when Sarah is napping. You will be glad you did!
I read this book AND wrote this review while on a plane to Atlanta to see my family for the holidays. I totally "mom bossed" it. Nicole would approve!
We can't wait for Nicole to impart her wisdom to you at our MomFar LIVE! events in 2017 as part of our Author's Series. Get her book online now on Amazon!Read More
As busy working moms amenities, gadgets and a little style can make things easier. Having the right tools in the kitchen help you prepare for your day or makes lunches and dinner time a little easier. Our partners at Shark and Ninja understand that mom life is hectic which is why they create so many wonderful products to make your home chores a little easier and more enjoyable.
Stepping out the door with a polished look is also sometimes a challenge. Not everyone has natural effortless style. Bandolier is here to help. Pop your iPhone 6 into their stylish carrying case and throw it over your shoulder and go. You won't lose your phone and you'll look sharp when wearing it!
When you attend MomFair LIVE! in Atlanta you are immediately entered to win one of these incredible prizes from our partners!Read More
I first heard Samantha Ettus speak at Biggest Baby Shower Ever a few years back. Samantha's personality and laughter filled the auditorium. We met on that stage as I helped her give away strollers to a handful of winners out of the thousands of attendees at the event. We felt like Oprah "You get a stroller! And you get a stroller! And you get a stroller!" We instantly clicked.
Since then I have heard Samantha speak numerous times about work life balance, planning and why careers for women matter. She has shared her message on the stage at MomFair several times, telling us not to let an opportunity pass you by. To take every meeting as an opportunity to build your network or share a tidbit about yourself as a professional that can grow your reach and build the next opportunity for yourself. After all, men do it all the time. As women we need to step up and take more opportunities for ourselves.
At our very first MomFair, Samantha shared with us her advice about Work Life balance, making little changes and planning better to make your life easier and more efficient. One of her key suggestions, that I immediately implemented, is to keep all of your errands close to work, home or your child's school. She calls this the "golden triangle." You don't need to go to a dentist or hair salon that is 10 miles out of your way. Find someone just as great within your driving range and save yourself hours a week or month that you can use for something else. Hours are precious.
You too can benefit from Samantha's advice in her newly released book The Pie Life, a Guilt Free Recipe to Success and Satisfaction where Samantha helps you "transform your life into one that is more satisfying, rich, and delicious than you ever thought possible and join the thousands of women already living The Pie Life." Samantha pulls her advice from her personal experience, her career and the many interviews she has done over the years with successful women and men. Many of these interviews appear in her book including Shonda Rhimes, news anchor Gayle King, Wall Street maven Sallie Krawcheck, entrepreneur Liz Lange and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider.
Opinionated and fearless (two of my favorite things about her) Samantha loves to give advice. Sam has become a bestselling author of four books, a writer for Forbes, a renowned speaker and host of a nationally syndicated call-in radio show. She's been on Fox Business, ET, the Today Show and Good Morning America sharing her years of expertise with millions of viewers. She's never shy to jump in at a focus group and can't help but offer a few words of wisdom at a cocktail party. I love the story she tells about a father discussing his wife's choice to leave her career to be a stay at home mom and how Samantha turned the question back to him and asked "Do you want to be the one to give up your career to be solely responsible for the needs of your child every day? To spend every day concerned only with feeding and pooping schedules? To make that your entire focus?" The mom stayed in her job and they found a way to both be there for their child and keep their careers.
Now Samantha wasn't diminishing the importance of motherhood. As a mother of three, making time for her children is her top priority. She was simply turning the tables and asking a man to think about choices women are expected to make every day. As a society we are so quick to assume that mothers should give up their careers and stay home to raise children. When you turn the question around on a man, the answer is compelling.
There are times when Samantha's advice can seem polarizing, as she talks often about staying in the game during the "maintenance years" (those years where your kids are little and need more of your time) so that you can return to work when you are ready. Samantha is clearly not arguing against being a stay at home mom, she is simply saying that for those moms who want (or need) to work, there are strategies you can implement so that opting back in to your career when you're ready isn't as difficult. The reality is that for anyone who has been out of work for an extended period of time, getting back to your career, to the level at which you were performing or earning before is exceptionally hard. Rather than give it up altogether, she advises that you stay in the game - part time work, consulting, continue to attend industry networking events and conferences, find ways to stay relevant.
Mainly Samantha wants you to know that it is possible to have a career and raise great kids. Parenting is a topic Samantha tackles regularly. She talks often about the possibilities we create for ourselves, and our children. In her recent TedX talk "The Secret to Unlocking a Child's Potential she said..
"The world's most extraordinary people have one thing in common....they each had an adult in their life who made them believe they could be absolutely anything."
Think about that for a minute. Having someone believe in you and teach you to believe in yourself - that you could be absolutely anything - that is the key to success. Not just for your children, but for yourself. Remember that with the women you encounter in your life. And find that belief in yourself. You can be anything. Sam says so.Read More
For women, getting funding in today's environment can seem challenging. Angel investors and VC firms, while stating that they want to fund more women owned businesses, are still asking the same questions to determine value and opportunity. The fact is that only 4% of venture capital funding goes to women. The venture community wants to invest in billion dollar opportunities, their end goal being to cash out upon exit. So if you're not building the next Facebook or Honest Company, where does that leave you for funding options?
Luckily there's a number of funding sources that are on the rise including Portfolia, Plum Alley and Golden Seeds, all focused on funding women owned businesses. This movement is happening because more women want to fund companies they want to see in this world. And women want to see more women leading the charge. There's also a new crowdfunding concept that recently launched in the US called SheEO. Led by Vicki Saunders, SheEO is two-decade long initiative to dramatically transform how we support, finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur committed to building businesses that have a positive impact on the world, Vicki Saunders has co-founded and run several companies, has used and received almost every kind of financing; debt, equity, government grants, foundation grants, public markets and crowdfunding and has been a passionate and committed mentor to over 1000 businesses in her career. Today she is leading the charge with SheEO a new kind of crowdfunding opportunity for women.
"SheEO’s Act of #radicalgenerosity initiative is the starting point in a two-decade long initiative to radically transform how we finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs." - Vicki Saunders
How it works: SheEO is establishing chapters all over the US, starting with Los Angeles. Denver and San Francisco. In each city SheEO raise a $1M fund by crowdsourcing $1000 from 1000 women. The women making the $1000 contributions become activators who get to evaluate and vote on the women-owned businesses applying for funding in their city. The businesses who the activators select (it gets narrowed down to 5 each year in each city) go to a retreat together where they receive mentoring and guidance from SheEO's experts. Those 5 companies benefit significantly not only from the funding they receive, but by the experience of bonding with and learning from each other. The funds these 5 companies receive is a loan that must be paid back to the fund, interest free, within 5 years. And, when those 5 companies are ready for their next round of funding they can go to the activators that funded them to find their next round of investment.
This $1M fund gets raised every year in every city by another group of 1000 women. Think of the impact! By doing this, SheEO is educating and and encouraging the growth of an investment mentality among women. Thats right - SheEO is teaching women how to invest and teaching entrepreneurs how to raise funding and utilize it wisely. Vicki calls this idea "radical generosity." Imagine raising a billion dollars for women by 2020.
To become a part of this movement or find out about opportunities in your city join the SheEO mailing list today.Read More
MomFair LIVE! is hitting the road and heading to Atlanta. We will be hosting a full day event to help moms in Atlanta rediscover their careers. If you are a mom looking to rediscover your career, launch a new business, find a more flexible job solution or work from home MomFair LIVE! is for you. Our experts, coaches and mentors will be gathering under one roof to provide you with the specific information you need to move forward in your career path.
The event takes place on Sunday, November 13 at General Assembly, a pioneer in education and career transformation, specializing in today’s most in-demand skills. We couldn't imagine a more perfect location for our first East Coast event as education and skill development are the cornerstone of our efforts. General Assembly will be leading some of the Skillshops at our event in addition to hosting. If you aren't familiar with General Assembly, they are the leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, they foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love. As individuals and companies struggle to compete in an increasingly technological economy, General Assembly provides award-winning, dynamic training to close the global skills gap. They have campuses in 15 cities and over 25,000 graduates worldwide.
Our keynote speakers are Daryn Kagan and Joyce Bone. Daryn Kagan is a published author and former CNN News Anchor. Daryn’s new book Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor's Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog shares the story of how a1er 12 incredible years as a CNN anchor and reporter, traveling the world covering current affairs and interviewing the likes of Bono, her contract wasn’t renewed and she had to pick up the pieces. She launched DarynKagan.com (a good news site) and a syndicated newspaper column, produced an award winning documentary and is now sharing that story with our moms. @DarynKagan
Joyce Bone is a successful entrepreneur and business consultant. Joyce empowers business owners to grow their business. Her experHse is helping others shi1 from overwhelm into empowerment. She advises clients on idenHfying and zeroing in on the work that creates huge gains for their companies. @JoyceBoneRead More
Jill Simonian, also known as The Fab Mom (and one of our MomFair LIVE! hosts) recently shared some of our tips for moms who want to re-enter the workforce with her audience at CBSLA where she does a weekly parenting segment. See our tips below. Jill also recommends spending 15 minutes a day at rebuilding your network and relaunching your career. Finding the time is key. Also check out Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends new book Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success. Read Jill's post on The Fab Mom.
Here's an excerpt from our interview with Jill. She shared some of these tips on CBS and on her site.
Where should I start if I'm looking for some kind of career change from what I did before kids? Our MomFair site and Facebook feed are a great place to start. We review, evaluate and share information from many career resources and experts.
Should I be scared of the resume gap? How do I explain it? Don't be afraid of it - embrace it. You did productive things during those years at home with your kids. You led committees at school, managed community gatherings, and organized charity events. Find a way to represent that on your resume - list your skills. Skills are most important to recruiters and hiring managers. Look through Linked In at other people's resumes and get ideas. And set up your own profile immediately. Use a professional looking headshot - no kids in it and not one from a family vacation. Fill out the profile fully - volunteer efforts, college, associations. Then see where you have "gaps" and be creative (but honest) in how you fill those in. The first place everyone looks to know more about your and what you offer professionally is Linked In. Still stumped? Reach out to us at MomFair and we will help.
Best resources for flexible work? #1 is FlexJobs. Its worth the monthly subscription fee because they qualify all of their listings. Companies do not pay to be listed on their site. We also like Power to Fly (for tech) and Work at Home Mom Revolution (get on her email list and follow her on twitter).Read More
Work at Home Mom Revolution posts regularly about jobs that moms can do from home. Lisa Mills started the site in 2007 to help moms find the best resources out there. From freelance writing, to flex work to product ad service companies your can run form your home, Lisa keep moms updated on a variety of options. Lisa recently wrote and published an ebook, which is available on Amazon.com, about starting a general transcription career from home. called Jump-Start Your Work at Home General Transcription Career: The Fast and Easy Way to Get Started!. It’s filled with the tips and tricks she's learned (often the hard way) over her eight-plus year career in general transcription. Lisa herself is a work from home mom. She says "I’ve been working at home since I got my first computer back in the ’90s. I’ve done a little bit of everything to make money from home, including selling on eBay, running an online used bookstore at Amazon.com, day trading stocks online, freelance writing, and publishing websites."Read More
A few days ago, our nation celebrated National Equality Day, a day to remember the early fight for equal rights and celebrate the 19th Amendment. In my in box was an email from The United State of Women reminding us to participate in politics because the right to vote was a giant leap forward for feminism. They also asked us to continue to make strides for women by pursuing our passions, by supporting women in business and fighting for causes that support women's rights. And they asked us to support females in film, accompanied by the image of the all female cast in the Ghostbusters remake.
"Movies inspire us and give us some of our first role models. Let’s help girls realize that being a princess is only one of a million different dreams they can have. Support strong women-led films with your wallet and round up your #squads (and male allies!) to see movies the opening weekend." - United State of Women
I took my daughter to see the Ghostbusters remake on opening weekend (because opening weekend ticket sales determine if a movie is a box office hit). When the movie ended we were in the ladies room hashing through all the best parts. A woman in the ladies room overheard our conversation and stopped me to thank me for what I said, calling me "the mother of the year" a title I definitely haven't earned but I feel really great about what my daughter and I discussed - it will stick with her for many years to come.
Here's what I said. As my daughter told me how much she loved the movie I asked her why, what was so significant. She said she loved watching those women taking on the ghosts. Lets say that again. She loved "seeing those women take on the ghosts."
"Yes," I said. "Those women were pretty fierce." And then I pointed out to her that this movie was groundbreaking for Hollywood in so many ways. Four women in the lead roles typically reserved for men. Three of the characters the women played were scientists...physicists in fact. (Mind blowing! Women cast as scientists.) Leslie Jones's character had a much more significant part and a leadership role with the team in this movie, a big departure from the "sidekick" role Ernie Hudson originally played in 1984. And this movie was directed by a man, Paul Feig, who is an advocate of casting more women in leading roles in Hollywood. And to prove the point he cast the role of the dumb, hot assistant as a male played by Chris Hemsworth.
For me, an advocate of change in Hollywood, a supporter of the Geena Davis Institute and a feminist, this movie meant so much more to me. I loved seeing an a-typical casting of women in this movie. Melissa McCarthy who has oft been described by her appearance rather than her immense talent. Melissa is killing it in comedy in Hollywood in lead roles in major blockbuster movies. And Kristin Wiig, an incredibly talented performer and writer. We know her for her work on Saturday Night Live and in countless TV shows and films but did you know she also wrote Bridesmaids? Yes - she wrote it! The brilliant Kate McKinnon who has an incredibly long list of acting appearances on her resume and the insatiably funny Leslie Jones, who had us laughing every step of the way through the movie, just like she does every week on Saturday Night Live. Her recent tweets about the Rio Olympics got her invited to personally come to Rio and cover the event first-hand. She's innovative and funny and what some in the industry consider an anomaly because her acting career didn't pick up until well into her 40's.
So ladies, have your daughter's watch this movie and explain to them what I explained to my daughter because "if they can see it they can be it." And read more ideas about how to celebrate the 19th Amendment and all we've achieved for women in this Huffington Post article from The United State of Women.
ABOUT UNITED STATE OF WOMEN: The first summit on The United State of Women represented an important moment for women and girls domestically and internationally, as well as for all proponents of gender justice and equality. Following the summit, The United State of Women remains committed to giving a megaphone to the importance of gender equality and providing a platform for addressing these critical concerns. The summit may have concluded, but our work is far from over.
ABOUT GEENA DAVIS INSTITUTE: Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. Our biennial symposium is the only event convening over 300 decision makers, content creators, and thought leaders to share best practices and create a blueprint towards establishing a gender-balanced media landscape. Review information their our past and upcoming symposiumsRead More