Listen up!

Thank you Kim Dawson of the Sassy Strategist podcast for featuring us and letting us share our personal and professional tips for starting a business. Kim’s podcast is an outgrowth of her business K. Dawson Company where she helps women take their business to the next level. 

“My goal is to help women become entrepreneurs and profitable business owners, in an effort to boost their financial independence, improve communities, advance women’s rights and create a more passion-driven life.”

Check her out on Twitter at @sassyStrategist

Here’s the link to the interview:

Who has time….

Working women in the US carry an unfair burden–We all know it’s true, and now it is print, so it must be. In the UpShot column of the NY Times last Sunday the headline was “More Time to Unwind, Unless You’re a Woman.” Unwind… what a nice idea. Not sure where the time for relaxing fits in between work, making sure the diorama is done, lunch is packed, Fall activities are signed up for, presents are bought, and maybe, just maybe you get in a work out. Is working out and getting waxed considered relaxing?? 

Basically, the article’s premise is based on a study that shows that over the past century or so older men are working less, and enjoying themselves more. Teenagers are working less, and enjoying more. And women are working more (100 years ago women barely worked, so yay!) but they are not enjoying more; that’s because they also take on a disproportionate amount of household chores and child rearing. Here is the silver lining… women live longer lives than men, so we do get significant leisure time when we are older. Hope that puts a smile on the face of those who are multi-tasking the reading of this blog while ordering camp labels and paying bills. We are strong, and we are awesome.  #makeworkworkforyou

Meet our friends at W by Worth

Today kicks off a collaboration our friends at W by Worth. Both companies were formed on the founding principle of creating opportunity to empower women professionally and financially. We are hosting an event tonight at their showroom at 570 5th ave @ 57th street from 6-9pm in NYC. Please stop by if you are in town. 

A conversation between The Second Shift Co-Founder, Gina Hadley, and President of apparel company, W by Worth, Courtney Denby…

GH: Hi Courtney! We are so excited to be working with W by Worth and helping to spread the support for flexible at work for women!

GH: Can you describe how W by Worth supports women and the balance of work and home life?

CD: W by Worth offers a flexible business that can be conducted from home. It is flexible in two ways: first, the Stylist can choose the dates of her four traditional weeklong shows to work around her family’s schedule; second, the Stylist can add income by layering Travel Trunk events or Virtual Sales between shows, but this is, again, totally optional and can be scheduled to work around what is happening with her family at the time. W by Worth offers a flexible business that can be conducted from home. It is flexible in two ways: first, the Stylist can choose the dates of her four traditional weeklong shows to work around her family’s schedule; second, the Stylist can add income by layering Travel Trunk events or Virtual Sales between shows, but this is, again, totally optional and can be scheduled to work around what is happening with her family at the time.

GH: I love that W by Worth allows each woman to schedule the Travel Trunk events and Virtual Sales based on the time constraints and needs of her personal life and to create the balance for herself! That is exactly in-line with the goals that The Second Shift is based upon.

GH: How do you personally balance work/life/family as a working mom and the President of W by Worth?

CD: It can be tough! I have worked from home for this company for 14 years. What I love about it is that I can easily pop into or out of work mode based on what is happening with my family. If they need me then I can be available. I can also work early in the morning and late at night. I do have full-time help at home that allows me to either work or be with family. The fact that we pay someone to clean, cook and run errands is very helpful. I also use Green Chef for the nights that I’m responsible for meals. This is a company that ships me ingredients and recipes for three complete meals each week. I love to be in the kitchen with the kids and to prepare the meals but I don’t love to pre-plan and think ahead of time about recipes and ingredients. So Green Chef is perfect for us.

CD: How about you? How do you stay balanced?

GH: Right now, it is not easy. But I feel like we are in a sprint which will ebb and flow as our work progresses. Work out, time with family, DATE NIGHT!!!…That is how I reset.

CD: Can you tell us how you started The Second Shift?

GH: Jenny and I knew each other for several years prior to starting The Second Shift and similarly, kept having the same conversation with amazing women who had built successful careers but had so much trouble figuring about a way to balance all the responsibilities in their lives.  Jenny had the epiphany that we should solve this problem, and now we are! Pushing the envelope and encouraging companies to hire women in non-traditional ways while still getting the work done by top career women.

GH: How would inspire and encourage other companies to create more flexibility for women in the workplace?

CD: I really like the idea of women staying involved in work at some level through their childrearing years. Instead of off-ramping completely and then needed to on-ramp later, it makes all the sense in the world to me to work in some capacity. It is a benefit to the company if it can figure out a way to delegate projects to an Independent Contractor. It is very cost efficient for the company and gives the company more flexibility.

GH: We agree! The Second Shift is working hard to change the way women think about going back to work once they have children and changing the way the companies think about staffing.

GH: What tips do you have for women who feel they have to choose only one path?

CD: The important thing is that each woman is happy with her choice and that she knows that she is free the make a different choice or tweak her choice in the future. I think we have to learn as we go and be prepared to make adjustments to keep our family and ourselves happy. There are flexible work options for those who want them.

CD: What does flexibility mean for you?

GH: Being able to make choices that enable us to have a more balanced life.

CD: Do you think women can “have it all?”

GH: No one gets to have it ‘all’ – But, it’s important for women to recognize what their ‘all’ is right now in a particular moment? That, I believe, is a better way to think about it and way for goals to be met.

GH: What types of questions should women ask when interviewing for a job to ensure it will be the right fit for their lifestyle needs?

CD: I wouldn’t advise that anyone interviewing for a job ask a lot of questions about vacation or paid leave. That is always a red flag for me if I’m interviewing someone.  Instead, I would tell women to create value for the company first and then to work to create some flexibility once you are considered a valuable member of the team.

CD: I agree! Why do you think it¹s important for women to work?

GH: Just the fact that we ask that question when no one would ask that of a man, is the reason we need to keep working!

GH: So now on the subject of apparel, what’s the most ideal outfit for women running from the boardroom to the soccer field?

CD: That is challenging, but I would probably recommend a jacket that can be removed after work and a skirt or Capri pants because you can change your heel height without affecting the length. This is my strategy when I am in meetings in New York and then flying back to Dallas.

CD: What is your go-to outfit?

Ballet flats, black trousers, a boxy top and a leather jacket are a staple for me.


San Francisco– our kind of town

Gina and Jenny spent the day yesterday meeting with Bay Area members and friends at two fabulous events. We started the day in Mill Valley at an all women co-working space called The Hivery. It is the most dreamy, chic, thoughtfully created space. Words don’t do it justice– check out the pictures. We met with some current members, future members and women in businesses who support of mission. Thank you Grace from the Hivery, Jennifer from Equator Coffee & Tea for the catering and most especially to Vanessa Wauchope from Sensible Sitters/ Main Street Mamas for organizing everything and being the best tour guide, chauffeur, networking master and all around awesome gal. 


Then we traveled across San Francisco– Hello Golden Gate Bridge! 


And went to an evening event hosted at The Podoll’s  boutique in Noe Valley. Their clothing line is eco-chic and it is a must stop if you are in the area. Once again Jennifer at Equator and Vanessa at Sensible Sitters/ Main Street Mamas outdid themselves. It was a terrific way to spread our message to women from many different backgrounds and professions. Thank you for a wonderful welcome San Francisco! 


Must Read: Here’s the Plan… by Allyson Downey

Allyson Downey is an entrepreneur, MBA, writer, and parent. She is also the author of the book Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood, the pregnancy and parenting guide to your professional life. Consider this like your work/life bible for expecting and pre-expecting parents. 

What inspired you to write this book and why did you think it was important?

The inspiration was two-fold. First, I was running a start-up that was focused on bringing trusted advice to new and expecting parents, and a friend who worked in book publishing approached me about writing a book.  weeSpring helps parents find the best baby and kids’ gear by making it easy to find out their friends’ must-haves and don’t-buys, but I knew immediately that I didn’t want to write a book about baby gear. (Honestly, I wouldn’t want to read that book, let alone write it.)

I thought about what was missing in the bookstores—what was book I would have wanted when I was having a baby? I had this terrible experience with pregnancy discrimination and was sidelined out of my job, and I remembered scouring the internet for advice on what to do.  I had a zillion questions back then: how and when should I discuss my pregnancy with clients? How do you hire a nanny? What about interviewing while pregnant? What do you do if you feel you’re being discriminated against?

As part of my research for the book, I interviewed almost 75 successful women about how they steered their careers through pregnancy and parenthood, and I compiled all of their advice together in a book that takes you from positive pregnancy test all the way to juggling a pre-schooler’s schedule with your own.

There is a lot of news every day about women leaving the workforce and creating more gender diverse workplaces.  Do you think there is real change happening or just talk?

I think it’s both: we’re seeing tremendous strides, but I often wonder about what the culture is in these environments that have enacted really progressive policies. I firmly believe that policies get you nowhere unless there’s concerted organization-wide effort to drive inclusion.

When I was in business school, I took a class that dove into “green-washing”: when companies issue press releases that trumpet their commitment to the environment through some initiative or another, yet it’s just a surface tactic, and behind the scenes, they’re engaging in the same-old-same-old.  Like companies that say they’re offsetting the carbon footprint of their employees’ air travel, but they don’t count the executives’ private jet usage as part of that.

I worry that there’s a lot of family-washing going on: companies crowing about their new and generous policies, yet if you were to look closely at their metrics, you’d find that they’ve never promoted a woman while she was pregnant.

It’s a tricky subject to speak about women and parenting and work, but do you think this is an issue that is gender specific and how does that impact the choices that women specifically have to make in their lives?

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

I love that we’re seeing companies talk about parental leave—and in New York State and California and the other states that have enacted changes, the term “parental leave” is the norm.  But I think most people still internalize leave after the birth of a child as maternity leave.

It’s doubly destructive for women: first, they’re essentially walking around their workplaces wearing a fluorescent sticker that reads “may take three months off in the near future.”  And that’s not a sticker that’s applied to men, even though under FMLA, they’re equally entitled to take three months off.  Even the most egalitarian, feminist managers fall prey to unconscious bias.

And meanwhile, while dads are in the office for those three months getting more experienced at their jobs, moms are spending three months becoming experts in soothing a baby and dealing with the administrivia of family life. That expertise is a burden: when they go back to work, they’re simply better at that stuff, and they wind up carrying that mantle.  This happens even in families where dads are eager and enthusiastic co-parents; even with the best intentions, these habits form.

I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think we’ll see much change until we see dads taking the same amount of leave as moms.

What’s your take on “having it all” and “leaning in”?

First, let me say that I have tremendous admiration for both Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg.  I agree with both of them: our current system is terrible and doesn’t set women up for success, and women should take responsibility for their own destiny and not give up, despite how lacking the system is.

One of my favorite quotes from Here’s the Plan is “Some days I am a great doctor. Some days I am a great mom. They are never the same day.” That embodies so clearly for me the struggle that women face—yes, having it all feels impossible, but only if you aren’t willing to change your framework on what “it all” means. I hate talking about work life balance, because it implies to me a tightrope, and you’re teetering along while trying to stay in perfect balance all the time. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve daily balance—but I do believe that if you zoom out and try and achieve balance on a weekly or even monthly scale, it’s a lot more manageable. So some weeks, you’re great at your job, and maybe you miss bedtime more than you make it.  And some weeks, you duck out of the office early to pick your kids up from pre-school and go to the zoo on impulse.   You can still be really, really good at both things (a great employee and a great mother)—even if you may not feel like you can get an A+ on both on the same day.

The Great Jane!

Our friends at Modern Nomad and HeyMama are hosting The Great Jane, an incredible weekend retreat in Ojai May 20-22nd. 
We are thrilled to be invited to speak about creating a new paradigm of work and the reality of creating a freelance career. Please check it out and come join us! Will be a small group with lots of creative activities, interesting conversation and amazing food– what more do you want??

Here’s the low down: 

The Great Jane is a retreat weekend of mentorship, sharing, and balance, held in picturesque Ojai Valley, set just outside of Santa Barbara. The retreat is small in format, designed to be intimate so that it’s simultaneously a networking opportunity, a chance to unwind and unplug, and a chance to have a really meaningful conversation. 

Here are some highlights:

Manicures with our friends from tenoverten, bolly rolling with expert Lauren Roxburgh and a panel hosted by Amanda de Cadanet, of The Conversation, with inspiring women entrepreneurs, including Drybar founder Alli Webb, trend expert Jane Buckingham, Sweet William owner Bronagh Staley, artist and designer Beatrice Valenzuela, and Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, among others. These mamas will candidly share their challenges and successes and answer your questions post-panel.

Checkout our three days of programming here to get a sense of how special this weekend will be:

Where: Thacher House, Ojai Valley

When: Friday, 5/20 – Sunday, 5/22

For ticket info go to: