Mastering Parental Leave In Real Time


Big News– Kiirsten (Kiki to us) is about to have a baby!! It’s the first Second Shift employee to have a baby and go out on family leave. In full transparency, this has been a moment of both fear and excitement for all of us.  Kiki is an invaluable team member and her role in client and member success and operations is enmeshed in all areas of our company.


Theoretically, we have a deep understanding of parental leave having placed numerous fill-in roles and as the creators of the Let’s Be Human: Welcoming Parenthood (And All That Comes With It) platform to train managers and employees on successfully executing parental leave. So, as self-proclaimed experts, we realized this was a unique opportunity to put our program to work on ourselves. Kemp and Kiki have had the most work to do– from Kemp creating our leave policy to Kiirsten training others to do her job with confidence–here is what they discovered: 


Kiirsten’s insights as the employee going on leave: 


Plan in reverse. A pearl of wisdom gifted to me was to cross the t’s by week 36 of pregnancy instead of my estimated due date. I shared the news with my team on the early side, but even if you choose to wait: research your company, state, and federal benefits and start crafting a guideline for covering responsibilities during your parental leave. Time flies and the formalities of time off may include multiple components in your organization like management, an HR department, a PEO, and more – in addition to navigating job coverage. 


Go for confidence, calm, and creativity. Designing an empowered and resourceful parental leave roadmap gave our team a chance to zoom out from the daily workflow and lent me an opportunity to look at how to make my position, processes, and projects transparent and teachable. Questions I considered included: how do I sharpen my business for the benefit of the business; who will hold my role and what does an effective training model look like; what do I want my return to feel like? By discussing mutual expectations around this life/career stage, it infuses a sense of stability in what could feel like a world of swirling personal and professional unknowns. 


Think about the future. Consider whether you may be mid-project as you temporarily exit stage left, as well as what will be happening within your company and industry around the approximate time you return to work. Will your leave begin during a product launch you’ve been working on all year or will you be re-entering work during fundraising or event season? It was important to me to invest the time to look ahead at the business calendar and strategic goals to arrange for team-wide success and a low-stress return. 


Kemp’s Insights from the employer perspective: 


Educate Yourself. Review applicable law with your HR professional or employment counsel to make sure your policy is compliant.  States such as California have specific obligations for employers regarding employee leave, 

Plan ahead!  Spend time with your employee to determine (1) what are mission critical responsibilities? (2) What employees can cover for her? (3) Do we need to hire a (Second Shift) contractor to provide coverage? Have her create a document outlining key coverage needs while she is out.

Be Creative and Compromise. Implement policies that work for your business.  How long?  Paid vs. unpaid leave? Small businesses often can’t offer the level of leave benefits as larger companies but we can offer flexibility, work from home options, and individual support.  Be creative and make her feel valued.


We are still in the before stage of Kiki’s leave and will update you as this journey progresses. If you would like more information about Let’s Be Human and our parental leave platform please reach out to

Success Story: Dear Annabelle!


The Client:

Dear Annabelle is a line of luxury stationary and paper products started by Marcie Pantzer, a dear friend of our co-founder Jenny Galluzzo and an investor in The Second Shift. When she launched her line in 2018 she came to us to find a graphic designer to work with. and we knew we had to find her a superstar. Julie Teninbaum was the perfect choice– she is a seasoned pro with a whimsical and fun vibe who is also a pleasure to work with. Four years later their design collaboration is still going strong!

The Quote:

When I decided to launch Dear Annabelle, I knew that one of the most important hires would be a dependable, creative and wildly talented graphic designer. My business wasn’t financially ready to hire a full-time graphic designer so the Second Shift was a perfect option for me. Through the platform I was introduced to nearly a dozen vetted designers and was able to find one who was a fit personally and creatively.  Being able to outsource such an important role to a trusted resource helped me grow quickly and financially responsibly.


The Hire:

From the start, Jenny, Gina and Kemp imagined this community into being: rooting for  women like me; reminding me I could still be relevant and ambitious — and that this wasn’t contradictory to being a mother. Through the years, I have won several pitches, and also lost a few that I wish I’d gotten. I’ve passed over a few I would have liked but was too busy with other projects to fit them in. But I always appreciate when new notifications appear in my inbox, for the possibilities they offer. When I was linked with Marcie Pantzer of Dear Annabelle in 2018, I loved her aesthetic and feel so lucky that 4 years later, we are still working together.

Marcie’s taste is impeccable, and she has created a sumptuous line of stationery products that is, at times, quirky and refined (a winning combination). I was originally brought on to help design and layout stationery and presentation materials, which I still do. Over time, though, we have also worked together on expansions of her lines: wrapping paper, place cards, gift tags and more. We work well together, back and forth, mainly over email, which I love because it’s I have time-commitments (mostly kid-related) which cut into my day. I value her judgement, her attention to detail and her on-target communication.

If you want to hire a Second Shift member and have your own success story please reach out to


Success Story!


The Client:

Club Franchise Group is a boutique fitness organization looking to build their fast growing company on a solid foundation. They turned to The Second Shift to find an HR expert to recruit and onboard new hires as well as create and implement new policies and benefits for the rapidly expanding team.

The Quote:

“The ability to have a partner with access to professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, and abilities is critical in today’s ever-changing business landscape. Knowing we have professionals to partner with has really been a game-changer. Being flexible about our hiring means we can achieve our corporate goals and continue to expand in seamlessly.”

Nancy D. CFO Club Franchise Group

The Hire: 

Club Franchise Group hired HR veteran Erin B. to recruit and onboard new hires in new locations as well as create and implement new policies, handbooks and benefits for the rapidly expanding team. As they expand, CFG  particularly liked  Erin’s prior experience working for a company opening new locations across the country.

The Quote: 

“Working with The Second Shift has allowed me to form relationships with companies that I wouldn’t have had access to or met otherwise.  The team at TSS is supportive, friendly, and easy to work with. They take building their community seriously and once you are in, they are serious about providing you with the support and tools that you need to be successful in working with clients. I cannot recommend them enough and have had a great experience being part of their team!”

Erin B. The Second Shift Member/ HR Consultant

Want your own success story? Post a job now! 


How You Doin? Member Survey!

We want to hear how you are coping with work and life and remote school and survival and everything… Please take a minute to fill out this survey so we can learn how the pandemic and parenthood is affecting your work life and the choices you are making about your current career path.

Link is HERE! 

LinkedIn Tips and Tricks!


Our resident LinkedIn guru and Second Shift member Katie Fogarty led a boot camp for a select group of NYC members but lucky for everyone else she is willing to give her tips and tricks to maximize success on LinkedIn!


  •  Posting Monday through Friday from 9-10am will win you the most eyeballs.
  • It’s also the best time to send a LinkedIn InMail — and have it be read.
  • Studies show that more LinkedIn members are active on a Tuesday than any other day of the week.


Here are three resources that offer guidance and inspiration for crafting powerful LinkedIn Summaries. Each of these resources shares examples.


For more tips on leveraging LinkedIn, job hunting and telling a powerful professional story, you can follow Katie on LinkedIn here.


Pitching Dos & Don’ts

Helpful information to keep in mind when crafting your pitch.


When writing your pitch think about it as your personal “elevator pitch” tailored to the specifics of that particular role.



  • Say where you have worked and in what role as it relates to the specific job. Show off what you did that was successful for past clients/ employers.
  • Add in any relevant information that will make you stand out especially if you have personal experience /interest in the company.
  • Pitch for jobs that you want even if you don’t have every single requirement listed—if you ever have questions about this reach out to us!
  • Take time to carefully craft your pitch, check for typos and make it shine!



  • Cut and paste the same pitch for every job.
  • Put in personal information that is not relevant for the actual job.
  • Sell yourself short by pointing what you can’t do or what skills you don’t have.
  • Pitch on the fly without proof-reading.
  • Forget to use specifics ie: the name of past clients/employers, what your job was and how you rocked that job.


TAILOR YOUR PITCH: Questions to ask yourself as you write your pitch.

  • What about this company/position attracts you to this role?
  • What specific experience in your background qualifies you to this role? And where?
  • How do you see tackling this job and what makes you the perfect person to do it?
  • What skills/experience do you have, outside of what is on your resume, that makes you a good candidate for the role.

Hide Your Phone When You’re Trying to Work

I checked my phone 2x during the time it took me to read this NYTimes article about how your phone is cognitively distracting you from working. The article references a study from 2017 that shows, “mere presence of your phone — even if it’s powered off, and even if you’re actively and successfully ignoring it — “reduces available cognitive capacity,” which the study’s authors call “brain drain.”


As our phones become our clocks, schedulers, weight trackers, family managers it is harder than ever to truly disconnect. In fact, the author actually went to the lengths of locking his phone in a drawer so he would not be distracted from his task. What can we do to help ourselves focus and work more productively?


  • Awareness: realize that your phone is designed to distract you and is calling to you. If you know this you can fight it the urge to check more easily.
  • Lock it away– leave your phone somewhere else for a set period of time that you will work uninterrupted and don’t sneak! It can take a half hour to get your concentration back once broken.
  • Don’t bring phones to meetings. Even if it is turned over on your desk it is still there chirping and buzzing away. If possible take notes longhand and leave your laptop on your desk.


Okay, sounds good right? Easier said than done but it’s a good place to start. Oh, and don’t forget to take off that watch!