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

The Great Reimagining!



2021 was dubbed the Great Resignation with 4.5 million workers quitting their jobs in November alone. With so much churn in the labor market it can only mean that 2022 will be a time will be a time of major workforce transformation– a great reimagining of what the workplace looks like from where to when and how we work. Yes, this is stressful and scary, but it’s also a moment of great optimism when we can re-write the rules, focus on how to build a better model by focusing on inclusivity, stickiness and equity.

Jenny and Gina and The Second Shift team are workplace transformation experts who are focused on working women, families, and flexible/remote work environments. We consider 2022 the year when we go from talking to implementing– there is no other choice. Workers preference for freedom, flexibility, and a personalized experience was created during the pandemic and has proven to be successful. There is no going back.



Restructuring to create an integrated and dynamic approach to hiring,  creating a truly hybrid system, while adding incentives and raises to retain and attract relevant talent.  Companies need to shift from structure and process to agility with  33% of global managers expecting to rely on external talent to assist them in this evolution, yet 24% say they are ready to manage that process.

Let us help you embrace flexibility and elastic hiring. When you hire a Second Shift member for a clearly defined role you bring on skills that align with your specific needs to finish projects quickly, efficiently and with the right talent for your exact need, exactly when you need it.

Whether you are a business in transformation, hiring or looking for some advice– let The Second Shift #makeworkworkforyou!

Success Story!



The Client:


Breakthrough M2 is a health and Wellness company focused on a proprietary weight loss and supplements program. The founder wanted to expand her business by creating a franchise sales model. She needed help structuring an incentive driven sales model driven that ensured success for the salespeople and the company while retaining brand control.


The Quote:


“I had not worked with someone like Sandy before and she was great!  I hired her because I didn’t know what I needed and she wasn’t waiting for me to keep telling her what to do.  She gave me ideas, took the lead on looking things up, researching, asking friends for input, and letting me know she was doing a few extra things to add to what we were doing. ”


The Hire: 


Breakthrough M2 hired Sandy Nuwar, an expert in sales and business development with a background in  packaging and cybersecurity start-ups. Even though her experience was not in the wellness space, Sandy understood how to redesign a sales team and create process and procedures to roll out the new model while strategically re-thinking margins and the technology needed to ensure success for the salespeople and the company.



The Quote: 

“The M2 Breakthrough project was a great chance to work on revising a sales structure, marketing and overall strategy. Second Shift allows me the freedom to discover new challenges and think creatively for clients.”
The Second Shift Member Sandy N.



Want your own success story? Post a job now! 


Future Thinking with Josh Newman of GroupM


We are excited to partner with GroupM, a giant in the advertising industry and a leader in the way that we think about what work looks like today and in the future.  Josh Newman is their Global Head of People Experience and Communications and their go-to person for employee experience and cultural transformation- he’s also the person  working with us to reimagine what the workplace looks like. GroupM is working with The Second Shift to bring in our experts, as needed, to innovate the hiring of talent. Josh wrote an amazing article about Future-Proofing Your Workforce Through Upskilling and Reskilling and it’s a must read for anyone interested in where the workplace is going.

Josh answered some of our questions about what he thinks about the future of talent and what brought him to The Second Shift.

HR leaders have long spoken about “the future of work”, but because of COVID the future is now. Do you think we are in the midst of a modern work revolution that’s focused on people? 

As someone who’s long been obsessed with workforce cultural trends, it’s clear that the “future of work” must be people-led. That means intentionally designing work experiences that start with the needs, expectations, and desires of employees. The past 18+ months has made clear that work is a part of life–not the other way around. What’s been fascinating to watch is the speed at which organizations (large and small) have had to move from talking a big game to implementing structural and behavioral change. This acceleration has thrust Chief People Officers into the spotlight and extended the “people-first” conversation beyond the echo chamber of progressive People teams and into boardrooms and C-suite agendas.


You mention companies that don’t adapt to changes quickly enough and get left behind– Blockbuster video for example– do you think that those who don’t adapt will go the way of VHS? 

We’re in the midst of a talent crisis. Companies that don’t adapt–or are slow to adapt–to the evolving needs, expectations, and desires of their workforce will have a hard time retaining talent and attracting the next generation of talent. Blockbuster disappeared because of the expectation of cultural permanence. The past 18 months have shown us all that very little is permanent–both in our personal and professional lives. Adapting doesn’t necessarily equate to getting everything right, but it does mean showing employees that you’re willing to listen, iterate and change.


What led you and GroupM to partner with The Second Shift?  

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how work gets done. Everything from how we define “employee” to how we define “work.” Partnering with The Second Shift is a great example of how we are bringing that to life. This partnership gives us the ability to expand our capacity and reduce burnout. We’re also leveraging this solution to help with parental leaves. When an employee went out on leave in the past, their workload would distribute to peers who were already at – or over – capacity. We can now proactively identify a resource through The Second Shift to step in and fill the gaps. While we’re just at the beginning of this partnership, we’re already seeing the impact in our business and our people, and excited to see how it scales up over time.

2021 Women in the Workplace Report



The 2021 LeanIn and McKinsey Women in the Workplace report is out and, unsurprisingly, it’s paints a pretty bleak picture.  Here are the highlights:

The Bad

  • 1 in 3 women are thinking of leaving the workplace or downshifting their careers (last year it was 1 in 4).
  • 42% of women say they are “often or always” burned out and 35% of men agree.
  • Women of color are not being promoted at the manager level at the same rate as men leaving a critical hole in the pipeline to more later promotions.

The Good

  • For the first time Women of Color were promoted to manager at about same rate as all other women.
  • Women managers are stepping up at higher rates than men to support their teams and focus on DEI efforts.
  • Women managers are showing up as strong leaders while steering employees through this tumultuous time.

The Takeaway

This is nothing we didn’t already know– women are stepping up! We are taking on additional emotional labor at work and at home.  Women managers care for the welling being of their teams and are managing overworked and overburdened employees. Women understand the critical need for DEI in the workplace and they are spending extra time at work on these efforts. Working mothers historically take on 3-6 hours a day of unpaid labor at home. Add in the lack of affordable childcare and stable in person schooling and it’s no surprise that so many working women are burned out and thinking about leaving the workforce.

If that sounds all too familiar– don’t walk, join us! Hire part-time expert women through The Second Shift  to take some of the burden off your employees, and ultimately you! If you are thinking of leaving or going to a part-time role, consider joining our membership to find high-value flexible work with companies who value your experience and expertise.


Let us make work work for you!



Women Make Good Decisions and the More Women, the Better the Decisions!


Interesting read from Harvard Business Review about how adding women to the c-suite leads companies to shift they way they make decisions. The good news– the study shows the more women hired the better! Here’s why:

1. Firms become more open to change and less open to risk–leads to management teams embracing transformation without taking huge risks.
2. Firms shifted focus from M&A to R&D– shift from knowledge-buying to knowledge-building strategies.
3. The impact of female appointments was greater when they were not “the only” woman in a particular role– larger shifts in thinking occur when new hires are brought in as small cohorts.

Want to hire more women into your business and transform for the better? Hire through The Second Shift to access top-level female talent for all of your full/ part/ flex hiring needs!

The Pandemic is Driving Women Out of Work



Pleased to share a wonderful article in The 19th News (a wonderful media platform focused on women and politics) about how this pandemic is overwhelming working mothers and forcing them to make really tough choices about balancing work and childcare (if they are fortunate to have choices). Our co-founder Jenny was quoted as a representative of the women in our member community:

“Jenny Galluzzo, co-founder of the Second Shift, a platform that matches professional women with freelance and consulting projects, said the site has seen four times as many applicants since February as women try to make up lost work hours with part-time consulting work.

Beyond that, most women tell her they’re just waiting.

“You can’t plan ahead in any concrete way. And that stress manifests itself because you don’t know how to interact with the workforce. If you’re out looking for a job, how can you know what job to take because you don’t know in two months what your kids’ school situation will be?” Galluzzo said. “I worry for women because we’re taking an undue burden of all of the care and the invisible labor. I worry about all the strides we’ve made just being set back.”


One of our members, Mara Geronemus, a working mother of  3 young children and wife of a front-line doctor, is also featured because  the weight of her work and responsibilities forced her to turn down clients and take a step back right when her practice was taking off. It’s a relatable story and one that really captures the anxiety, stress, helplessness and disappointment many of us feel right now.

On the positive side, Jenny sees a silver lining if we can just hold our breath and make it to the other side…

“In many ways, though, coronavirus has served as a magnifying glass, bringing into sharper focus issues like child care that have long been ignored — and employers are responding. Companies that once resisted flexible work set-ups, and particularly remote work, are starting to embrace the idea. 

“We have been fighting for the ability for women to work remotely and flexibly for years. It’s the number one thing women want for employment and companies have now been forced to see that that model works,” said Galluzzo, from the Second Shift. “And when the economy comes back and jobs are more plentiful and our kids are in school, I see this as ultimately a benefit because you don’t have to convince people any longer that [flexibility and being remote] works.”


We Made It!!

How cool is this?? The Second Shift is a case study for a University of Oregon Executive MBA program! Thank you Stephanie Gioia for highlighting our unique approach to growth. Proud to be in company with Google, Netflix, Bridgewater, the U.S Army and Amazon! Thank you to our members for being our “special sauce.”

Stephanie found us and reached out to learn more about our business model, mission and philosophy on the future of work. After we finished our conversation she signed up as a member. To us, that means everything! This community of women is strong together; We fundamentally understand the need for this platform and are invested in each other’s success– we are grateful to you all for making this a business worthy of a case study.


The New Workplace Model


Here’s to hoping the remote workforce is the “new normal.”

Great article on the benefits of embracing remote work when quarantine ends:


1. Less time commuting is better for your stress and benefits the environment.

2. Increases productivity of workers!

3. Cleaner and controllable environment for workers.

4. Saves money on transportation, child care and office space.

5. Employees are more satisfied when they have flexibility to work from home.

6. Less sick leave is a cost and time saver.

7. Mental and physical wellness of workers is improved with time to spend on mindful activities.


The Second Shift is uniquely positioned to help businesses trying to figure out how to maximize remote work and successfully set up for the new work place model– find us at

#workfromhome #makeworkworkforyou #remotework #talentinnovation

#She4All and The Second Shift

We are a finalist in the #She4All competition hosted by Luminary and Berlin Cameron for a women-led companies building authentic communities.

On April 29th from 5-6pm EST we will be virtually pitching The Second Shift to the judges and our members are invited to join and cheer us on!!!

The invite to register is below and we hope you will come lend your support. The prize includes valuable marketing and pr expertise to better help us #makeworkworkforyou!