Featured Member– Lisa Jerles

There are so many different ways to measure success. Women know this better than anyone, and Lisa Jerles downright epitomizes it. A commercial litigator with a truly impressive track record, she left her firm to find meaning on her own terms, prioritizing growth and connectedness, positivity and joy over the thrill—and rancor—of legal combat. We can’t wait to see what she does on this next step of her professional journey—because it’s the journey that matters most. 
 
Tell us your work story: Who are you and what do you do? 
I was a commercial litigator for ten years with a specialty in business development and strategic planning. I am looking to make a change away from the combative nature of litigation and am currently consulting, using my skills to help businesses improve and grow.
 
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I won a major hearing for a small business to enforce a non-compete agreement between my client and a former employee. Former counsel had lost, but I renewed the motion and won the case. It was a proud moment because the client had very limited resources and I took the case as a favor for a mutual friend. It was very rewarding to provide high-quality legal work for a client who would ordinarily not be able to afford someone who could advocate effectively on their behalf.
 
What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise? 
Leaving my firm. I am very good at what I do and my former partners contact me regularly to gauge my interest in returning. But I got tired of the hostility of litigation. Although I am good at it, it brings negativity into my life that does not comport with my “second shift” as a mom.
 
If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be, and why?
The legal profession is riddled with sexism. For example, I was told by a client I got paid too much because I was wearing expensive shoes. But the real problem lies with the younger lawyers—men whose wives stay home and they can’t fathom the juggling that comes with being a six-figure earner and the primary parent. I have been so lucky to be at a firm owned by men whose wives had very successful careers so they pioneered flextime and telecommuting. But, overall, as an industry law has a long way to go.
 
What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?
I can’t answer this. I don’t feel like I’m on the other side yet.

We All Shine Together!

 

I recently learned a new term that I love, Shine Theory, coined by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, their basic premise is “I don’t shine if you don’t shine”– meaning women are more powerful if we collaborate and support each other rather than competing and undermining ourselves. What’s interesting to me is how much has changed since they created this theory in 2013.

 

When Gina and I started The Second Shift in 2014 we could never have predicted the front row seat we would have to witness the social and political changes that would give birth to a new wave of feminism. In the past few years we have seen the rise of #metoo movement exposing the ways women are held back by unfair power dynamics in the workplace. To take matters into our own hands, women are founding businesses at a rate of nearly 2000 a day in the US. Yes, we still account for only 2% of Venture Capital investment, but we’ve gone around the system and created our own venture capital firms and investment avenues to nurture and support female founders.

 

Consider Wingable_able Partners, a boutique venture capital fund with an emphasis on supporting female founders, partnered with The Wing to create an investment accelerator providing both funding and mentorship. Partner Lisa Blau says, “ A great deal of success—for better or worse—lies in your network. Men have worked this to their advantage for years. We’re bringing that type of network effect to a group that has been overlooked and left out of the network far too long: women. It’s instinctual for women to collaborate so this partnership with The Wing to support talented women was a natural fit.”

 

Today there is a women’s affinity group, co-working space, networking breakfast for even the most specific interest or community. If you’re entrepreneurial you can join The Riveter, political join The Wing, mid-career leveling up look into Chief, founder join Female Founders Collective, creative sign up with Heymama. As Katya Libin, Heymama co-founder says, “collaboration is the new competition.” This new feminist moment is about finding or creating your own space and seeking comfort with women who make you feel strong and powerful — but not at the expense of anyone else. There is a “more is better” attitude that is a remarkable change from old-fashioned trope about women’s cliques and competitiveness. I should know– I float between them all doing career building and speaking events across the country– and what I have seen is a level of collaboration and cooperation that proves that Shine Theory works.  

 

For those who say we are operating outside the system and will never crack the glass ceiling of the male-dominated corporate world– I say look at successful female-founded businesses, like iFundWomen, nurtured and funded by female-founded investors to help provide capital and skills for other women founders. Instead of focusing on the glacial pace of change and stagnant statistics… why not focus on the points of light where women are shining and making real progress. It’s a remarkable moment to bear witness to and an exciting time to be in the women’s empowerment business.

 

Ladies– let’s #shinetogether!

 

Meet our Featured Member Carolyn Montrose Dub

We are so excited to share our interview with this month’s featured member, Carolyn Montrose Dub. In case you missed her debut television appearance with Jenny on the Today Show you can watch it here!
She is kind enough to offer her hard-earned wisdom and wonderful advice, it exemplifies the kind of generosity and pay-it-forward ethos that can and will inspire real change in the workforce. And we urge you to read her advice on navigating a career change very closely; it’s a veritable GPS.
 
Tell us your work story: Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Carolyn Montrose Dub and I’m a mom, marketer, volunteer, and runner. After a 14-year corporate marketing career, I became a mom and ventured out on my own, taking on consulting gigs and conducting sales and marketing workshops for teams.
 
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Had you asked me five years ago, I would’ve said winning some award. Today, my proudest professional accomplishment is leading a well-rounded life that includes family, creative marketing projects, volunteer work, and endurance training. I feel balanced, not burned out, and I thoroughly enjoy the work I do.
 
What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?
The hardest professional challenge I’ve faced is the identity crisis I had after my daughter was born and I left my corporate job. For years, my identity hung on professional accomplishments. When that piece went away, I asked myself daily, Who am I? A mom? A marketer? A leader? I didn’t have the confidence at first to manage both. It took a long time, and a lot of trial and error, to figure out that I could enjoy motherhood and a career.
 
If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be, and why?
The perception that a career break means a career is forever broken has to change. We have to work with companies to transform career breaks into breakthroughs for women. How? Better programming and tools that help women prepare for a break, prosper while taking one, and integrate better, if and when they decide to return to full-time work. Training programs, digital tools, grassroots community events for moms and women thinking about starting a family…I could go on all day.
What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but who are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?
Step 1: Listen. Set up coffee dates with women who’ve chosen different paths. Come prepared with questions, even the hard ones, and listen. Learning breeds confidence.
Step 2: Study your LinkedIn profile and resume. If you are taking a break, think about the things you didn’t have the opportunity to do while working full-time. Examples: networking more, taking a class, pursuing a project that’ll fill a hole in your resume, exploring a new hobby. Choose three of those things and get excited about pursuing them on your own timeline.
Step 3: Brainstorm easy ways to stay on top of your industry. Podcasts, curating news into a social feed, and keeping in touch with former colleagues are easy ways to remain connected and relevant.
Step 4: If you have a partner or spouse, work with them to make sure you can pull it off financially. Understand that you may have to cut back and set those expectations up front. Adding financial stress to the fatigue motherhood guarantees will set you back.
Most importantly, believe that you can do it. When you start doubting yourself, seek support from loved ones.
What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?
Creativity draws me back to marketing. I’d like to continue to grow my business and show my daughter that creating a life full of color and variety is possible whether you’re a mother or not.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
People treat you the way you train them to.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader // supporter // mentor? (We love to spread the love here at The Second Shift!)
Early in my career, I worked for a media executive named Laura Schroff. Laura is now a New York Times bestselling author of An Invisible Thread (@lauraaninvisiblethread). She is one of the kindest people I know. She believed in me, opened doors that led to promotions even though she’d be inconvenienced losing an assistant, fought for my tuition reimbursement when I was working full time and in grad school at Columbia, and taught me a lot about media and life. I’m forever grateful for working with her.
How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?
It’s about setting expectations more than boundaries. If I go for a run from noon to 1:30PM, I have to be comfortable with opening my laptop from 8-9:30PM to make a deadline the next day.
If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?
Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life (no idea who said this but I love it). Looking back, there are many things I wish I pursued but didn’t because I was scared. Once I realized that I survived every failure I had along the way, I understood that failing is learning and a necessary part of the journey.
How do you make work work for you?
This goes back to setting expectations and creating tenets to live and work by. Mine are: nothing will ever be perfect (mom or not), flexibility doesn’t equal coasting, and every personal and professional opportunity is a gift.
If you are interested in being a Featured Member please fill out this survey

Pitch Perfect: Airline Industry Market Research Project

 

A Second Shift member is a bigwig in the marketing dept of a major national airline and she was looking for help with a research project. She knew exactly where to come for the expertise she needed– to The Second Shift!  Love when the eco-system works!

 

Here is the pitch that won the job.

 

I am a strategic marketing and management consultant with 20+ years of experience working with mid-size and Fortune 500 companies. I also have experience in the publishing industry, having partnered with Meredith Custom Publishing on a custom corporate magazine targeting medical professionals and consumers. My goal is to uncover unique insights and areas of opportunity, while capturing and documenting the industry offerings from a wide variety of perspectives, i.e. content, frequency, visuals, audience, distribution, channels, topics, etc. Each of my analyses includes both executive and detailed findings, as well as specific recommendations that are actionable and relevant.  Thank you for the opportunity and I hope we will talk soon!

 

If you have a question about your pitches you can book time to speak directly with our team during office hours:

In person at Luminary the first Thursday of every month  9-10am EST and online the last Monday of the month 12-1pm EST. To book a time email members@thesecondshift.com

 

 

Where We’re At—Women in 2019

Due to a scheduling conflict, and much much to her chagrin, I got to take Gina’s place at the Maker’s conference this year and it was a revelation. Beyond the moving stories and empowering interviews, the networking with amazing women, and even the concert with John Legend, what has stayed with me was the opening presentation on the first full day- Makers on the Front Line: Talent Rising. This update on the status of women in the workplace by McKinsey legend Joanna Barsh laid out the systemic issues confronting women and businesses and what to do about it. The problem really comes down to this– there is no solution, there is no quick fix and nobody has the answers. That sounds super depressing and the solutions presented seemed vague and difficult to enact. But, instead of seeing this as a negative, I prefer to make it into a positive ie: companies have to learn how to be agile, to try out new policies and admit when they don’t work. I am sure HR and executive leadership wish there was a magic solution but gender inequity is a deeply entrenched problem and companies need to remain focused, bring in outside resources (like The Second Shift) and be transparent about their goals and their failures Below is a summarized list of the findings from McKinsey and Makers.

1. Leaders must vocally make diversity and inclusion the top priority for cultural change. 

2. Leaders must: set improvement goals, use incentive compensation to reinforce accountability, adopt radical transparency, enlist peer pressure to keep their teams to focus on their goals, use positive reinforcement and call out bad behavior, share progress publicly.

3. Diversity top leadership with critical mass: aim to fill 33 % of top seats with diverse talent. restructure leadership roles and top teams, give diverse talent first shot at open seats.

4. Mobile thought leaders: spotlight influencers who exhibit the type of behavior and mindset you want from employees. Offer training and coaching for mid-level talent, integrate diversity and inclusion at every level.

5. Re-imagine talent management: mandate 50% diverse slates of candidates for every job. Provide mentorship and coaching to shepherd talent through their careers and advocate on their behalf. Challenge bias in hiring and promotions. De-bias performance management.

6. Make the work-place “sticky” for women: staff teams with more than one woman to combat the “only” syndrome. Provide benefits that remove work-life friction. Bend or break rules to address a temporary employee challenge. Destigmatize nontraditional paths and careers.

7. Shore up resilience: stay focused on goals and be open with your challenges, successes, and failures. Take a test, learn, adapt approach. Change hr and diversity leaders when a refresh is needed.

Look, we all know there is an issue and it seems like there is a real desire to fix things but when a problem is so large it can seem overwhelming. We tell companies that we work with that working with The Second Shift is a small step toward a larger goal. Maternity fill-ins, part-time work, flexible full-time job opportunities– these are all micro steps but they have the ability to change culture and preconceived notions and biases. Enough small steps can make big leaps happen!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Us to You!

Like this pic of our founding team? You too can have a gorgeous headshot taken by the talented and hilarious Sharon Suh. As a Valentine’s Day promotion Sharon is offering 20% off team photos/ headshots with the code SECONDSHIFT.

If you are in the NYC area (she also travels) we hope you take the opportunity to have professional photos taken– it really sets you up for success because you never know when you will need one. Believe us, nobody actually looks that rested and shiny on a good day around here…. There is a major difference between your iphone camera and having someone take your picture and then re-touch it.

So treat yourself and get in touch with Sharon: Sharonsuh333@me.com! 

When Work/Life Balance is a Political Issue

Mother and son at home.

When the issues surrounding women and families in the workforce are framed as a “work/life balance” issue it creates a dynamic where women (and men too) blame themselves for not being able to handle the stress and guilt of work and family. Caitlyn Collins makes the argument in her recent NYTimes op-ed that in her studies she sees this as an issue that is political, not social. If we focus on issues like paid leave, affordable childcare and universal pre-k we take the onus of families (and primarily women) to achieve success at work and at home with no back-up. Right now, for most women in the U.S, this is a losing battle and it forces them out of the workforce and reduces the chances for real gender parity. It’s great to have companies state their desire for workplace parity and inclusion but this is a societal and political issue that cannot be solved on a case by case and company by company basis.

“In a country where most women (too often the poor and racial-ethnic minorities) receive no paid leave at all….being able to work and raise the next generation of taxpayers and employees should never be deemed a matter of mere “luck.”

Featured Member: Deborah Lynn Blumberg

Deborah Lynn Blumberg describes herself as “a business, finance, and health and wellness writer and editor who tells the stories of the people and companies that are changing our world for the better.” In telling Deborah’s story as this month’s featured member, we like to think we are doing the very same thing; after all, is there any more uplifting way to start the day than showcasing and celebrating a woman with this kind of talent, energy, passion, and drive. Read below and let us know!

 

Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do?
I got my start at The Wall Street Journal, where I reported on global financial markets during the height of the credit crisis. From there, I took a role in marketing and communications at JPMorgan Chase, working with senior leaders to develop content and messaging. Now, I use my skills as a reporter and my marketing know-how to help companies better reach and inspire their clients. I’m also the co-president of the Texas chapter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), a board member and literary co-chair of Women in the Visual and Literary Arts, and a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Writers’ League of Texas.

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Having an article on Page One of The Wall Street Journal.

 

What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?
Deciding to leave my full-time job in corporate America to freelance full-time.

 

If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be and why?
I would have women speak up more and negotiate for better rates.

 

What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but who are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?
Change is scary, but can be transformative. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.

 

How do you negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?
Force yourself to take time off and for much needed self care: exercise, eating well. Schedule it into your day.

 

How do you make work work for you?
I’m my own boss and love it!

Thank you Deborah! If you want to be a Featured Member please fill out this survey.

Parental Leave– When is long too long?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has long offered one of the most generous paid leaves in the U.S. (an unfairly weighted honor considering the dismal competition) However, they announced last week that they are reducing the time they offer from one year to six months. Before we excoriate them on social media it’s worth a deeper look at the reason why: one year of paid leave was too hard on their current employees and did not have a positive lasting impact on the advancement and retention of talent.

 

Among the myriad debates about parental leave is the argument about what length of time is most effective. The norm in the US is twelve weeks unpaid leave– though California Governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed offering six months. The Gates Foundation found that while three months is too short, one year is too long. The longer leave was difficult for employees to hand off work and it was hard to re-assimilate back into a changed organization. Six months seems to be the de-facto timeframe that is not too short for families and not too long for companies.

 

There are more factors than what timeframe is best for families including:

financial assistance for childcare

gender-neutral parental leave

flexible schedules

paid sick days. 

Acknowledging that the issue is not just about time off, the Gates Foundation is also giving a $20,000 stipend to help with childcare costs.  You can read more about this story in the New York Times Upshot.  To find out how The Second Shift works with companies to provide fill-ins for workers out on parental leave please reach out to info@thesecondshift.com. Let us help you support your current workers, and look good doing it.

My Maternity Leave: A Cautionary Tale

I wish The Second Shift existed when I was going out on maternity leave.  As an admittedly type A personality, I plan everything, including the step back in my career that I took a year in advance of getting pregnant.  In my role as a sales manager, I was responsible for a national team and was on the road almost every week.  I was thrilled with my achievements and moved quickly up the corporate ladder. But I knew I wanted to start a family and this was not a schedule that would work once I had a baby.

 

So I left management, took a step back and moved to a new company as an individual contributor. I followed all of the advice I had given my direct reports over the years: I was super buttoned up with my notes, follow-ups and pipeline.  Once I got pregnant and maternity leave was imminent I became me even more diligent. Pregnancy brain be damned–my turnover documents were super thorough. As my belly was expanding I prepped all of my clients about my coverage plans. I had ALWAYS hit my goals, and I was not about to let having a baby tarnish my record.

 

The team covering my leave was an incredible but overworked account manager and a sales manager who was already tapped out with too many internal meetings. So even with all the prep work, I came back to crickets…  No meetings scheduled, a non-existent pipeline and revenue numbers below 50% for Q1. Not having a maternity leave fill-in wasn’t just a bad business decision for me, but for my company as it meant lost revenue for multiple quarters. It wasn’t the fault of my back-up team, they were already stressed about their own jobs and responsibilities. They should never have been made to cover my work– I should have had a backfill. It was a devastating and unnecessarily stressful “welcome back” for a sleep deprived and emotional new mother.

 

….If there had been a The Second Shift I likely would not have chosen to take a step back in my career path and leave my sales management role. I would have realized there were other options for my growth.

….If there had been The Second Shift I would have found the perfect member to fill in during my leave. We could have worked together to prepare ahead of my birth and she could have been there to assist me during my transition back. I would have felt supported and my team would have not resented me for the extra work they shouldered while I was gone. Work could have continued on successfully and my sales numbers would have reflected the positive effects of an unbroken workflow with no loss of momentum.

 

The Second Shift offers you options and takes the burden off parents, families, and co-workers. And I am proud to be a part of this team that supports and encourages female growth and keeps women engaged in the workforce.