Earlene Gibbons / Executive Director, Operational Technology, United Therapeutics Corporation – “I’m going to be really honest, there were times when I was a good mom, and times that I was a really bad mom, and times when my kids set me up and made me look like a bad mom when I really wasn’t. You can’t be too hard on yourself, sometimes it just doesn’t work out how you planned it. We just do the best we can, that’s all we can do.”
Gibbons adds that her child’s school once called her to tell her that her kid bought a diet coke and croutons for lunch. Which was not what she intended for them to bring.
Daisy Magnus-Aryitey / Co-Executive Director, Code the Dream- “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once. If we can find space in our career and space in our lives to focus on one area at one time and shift focus when space allows it. That’s what has kept me going. When my kids were very young, I was a stay-at-home parent. When they got a little older, that’s when I launched my career in tech. Now that my daughter is in middle school I find the need to shift my focus again back on her.”
Magnus-Aryitey says she’s created a culture at her company that accepts parents and if school happens to be closed last minute for “snow” it’s ok to bring your kid to the office.
Valerie Jordan / Owner, Hunter J. Group- “My story is a lot different. I was a teen mom. There were no daycares on campus, and I also worked at night. My parents were my lifeline. It was a challenge but I loved being a mom. Now that my daughter is a mother, I see a lot of things in her that I saw in myself and that makes me the proudest. It’s important to be able to bring children to work and make sure everybody is in a safe zone.”
Jordan adds that the skills she’s learned while parenting have actually made her a better entrepreneur.
Kelly Pfrommer / CEO, Cloud Giants & Co-Founder RevdUp.io – “Motherhood is why I became a business owner. There wasn’t a space for me at the business I was working at, at the time. There was no ability to shift to part-time. That’s what I asked for. I wanted to be able to see my kids at school and be present in their lives.”
Pfrommer adds that growing up, her mom, who was a single mom, had to pretend like she didn’t have kids to be competitive in the tech workforce. And that’s who inspired her to launch her own business.
All the women agree that companies, both large and small, need to offer competitive parental leave packages.