Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?
In general, families need more support. When the whole family is supported, individuals can make greater strides professionally. To alleviate the sheer volume of women leaving the workforce, we need universal daycare to be available to all families, to start. There is mounting evidence, further amplified by the pandemic, that lack of affordable childcare is crushing the career opportunities for many women.
Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?
One woman who has been a role model to me is my mother, who has easily had a nine-career life as a refugee activist, realtor, restaurant owner, newspaper publisher, local TV producer, two-time Presidential appointee and more. Two mentors in my 20s were Alexandra Morehouse McReynolds, the CMO of Banner Health, and Shelly Porges, founder and managing partner of Beyond the Billion & The Billion Dollar Fund for Women.
To pay it forward I’m actively working to fill our full-time and intern candidate pipeline with typically underrepresented groups in the tech sector. I’m proud that 60% of our staff is female and 12% are BIPOC but we still have room to improve, and I recognize that I can’t make these changes alone. At MyHealthTeams we’ve recently created an employee-led committee called DEIB Brain Trust (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) to help improve our talent pipeline, successfully nurture and develop our existing talent and, ultimately, cultivate an equitable and inclusive company culture.
In my spare time, I mentor women from start-up founders to MBA students and local graduating high school seniors. I help them explore what it means to be a woman in business and a founder in Silicon Valley. I also participate in angel investor networks that support founders of companies who are women.
What is your golden rule at work?
I want people to respect the concept of work-life balance by respecting their colleagues’ schedule boundaries. A golden rule I have is to not “ping” people during the non-standard work hours. That means do not Slack, do not send texts and do not send emails to colleagues during non-business hours or holidays. I follow this rule as best as I can myself, and have told everyone, “If it is a true business emergency, text me.” So far that has only happened three times in the nine years of the company.
How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?
I take advantage of urban hikes in San Francisco and strolling along the beaches here. Virtual chocolate tastings with some girlfriends and Zoom happy hours with friends across the country are fun every now and then, too. One more way I’ve been coping: I’ve become, what I endearingly call, a “strap rat” (as opposed to gym rat), turning to TRX LIVE online classes for full-body strength training. It’s been one of the most efficient ways for me to stay fit.
What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends?
When a sense of normalcy returns, being in person with people and places I love will be a priority. I want to travel to see my parents, play soccer with friends and family, host a bourbon tasting and dinner party, fly to Paris with my husband and son to see my extended family there.