Moms And Technology Careers: A Perfect Harmony

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What women need is a workplace that serves as an entry way as to regain their confidence and use their professional skills again. This is why I started a company called Startup-Pairup, a beta site that is a safe and secure place for professional women to transition back to work. By Farah Chadwick (Founder & CEO, Startup-Pairup)

After giving up their careers to raise kids, there comes a time when moms want to get back into the workforce - and that can be challenging. Moms can often feel left behind even living in Silicon Valley, where innovation is all around us.

The challenge comes when that desire to get back into the workforce surfaces, usually when the kids get older and are occupied by school or when they go off to college. Often these professional women want to do something for themselves by adding some personal identity without losing control over their lives.

Professional women have often sacrificed their careers to raise their families. I feel that this sector of our population has long been ignored, and is full of educated, talented women who are dedicated, passionate, and willing to work hard. I know firsthand that getting back into a career is hard because skills can get rusty, confidence can diminish over time and family schedules add many time constraints. It’s also difficult to assess current earning potential and the thought of writing a resume and interviewing can be daunting. That was my challenge, but I discovered a path that worked for me and I want to share it with other women.

I found a startup that allowed me to work with them for six months, which gave me an entry point to get back into the working world. The startup was a high-profile early-stage company in Silicon Valley. They had amazing publicity, but didn't have much money. I helped them with investor meeting planning, events, search for new office space; I mentored members of the team among other tasks. As this was a younger team, I was able to bring some wisdom to the table while wearing many hats.

Young companies need a lot of help and in many disciplines, unlike larger companies that slot people into much more specific roles. Because the nature of startups is more chaotic than well-established companies, it is easier to work on a project basis with flexible hours.

Women are an ideal fit for this environment: These are the same women who are highly educated, experienced professionals, and who can multitask like nobody’s business. These women are looking for a chance for an opportunity where they can dive into a project while the kids are at school, in bed, or beyond.

In summary, I discovered that early stage companies need flexible, mature, people who can contribute in multiple disciplines - and that these environments are often ideal for women who want to transition back into the workforce on a project-by-project basis. By talking to other women, I realized that this is exactly the kind of opportunity that other women and startups may benefit from, a true win-win for both parties involved.

What women need is a workplace that serves as an entry way as to regain their confidence and use their professional skills again. Startups are the perfect place for less conventional and yet innovative places to contribute, since they don’t have to pay the high costs involved with hiring an employee.

Every time I shared my work details with other women, the feedback was always the same - "that sounds like exactly what I am looking for.”

This is why I started a company called Startup-Pairup, a beta site that is a safe and secure place for professional women who want to transition back to work. They can be paired with startups and paid on a project-by-project basis. Our goal this year is to focus on reaching a critical mass by generating a large volume of registering resumes to create a robust talent pool. The next step will then be to approach the startups.

This concept is about getting that first step back into the professional world, not about getting a permanent job immediately. Women should use this opportunity to bring their skills up to speed and to be part of technology and innovation.

The simple joy of dressing up and discussing business unrelated to kids and the household can add a lot of value to a women’s personal and professional self-esteem. This is an excellent way for women to contribute in technology without giving up control over our lives. Women can get back into work in technology; they just need a stepping-stone. Startup-Pairup can help. I look forward to pairing you.

If you are a startup, you now have access to professional women in technology that can provide you with high quality work without paying for benefits and other high costs associated with hiring a full-time employee. Technology and women are the perfect combination and both need each other. While women provide professional experience, wealth of knowledge, hard work, along with real world experience in technology, startups provide the new and exciting innovations, full of opportunities for the future.

Startup-Pairup brings the two entities together in perfect harmony.

About the guest blogger: Farah Chadwick is the founder and CEO of Startup-Pairup, a company that matches professional women who want to transition back to work and pair them with startups that need help. In 1998, she founded a company, which she phased down to start a family. When she got back into the workforce, she discovered how difficult it was to find a meaningful job, and especially one that allows the flexibility needed by those raising a family.

Women 2.0 readers: Have you left the workforce to raise child(ren) and then successfully onramped back to working? Let us know how you did it!