Maybrooks + Motherly caught up with Cheyne Little, a product education manager at Etsy about how the company supports its mothers as employees, sellers and customers. Here’s what Cheyne had to say about how her work and personal lives coexist at the makers marketplace.
A Pilot Program for New Moms at Etsy
WHO SHE IS
Cheyne Little, Product Education Manager, Etsy
WHERE SHE IS
Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm ET
Carys (daughter) 7 months
Cranberry + white chocolate oatmeal lactation cookies (made by my mother-in-law)
RECENT SMART READ
FAVORITE TV SHOW
Parks & Recreation or The Good Wife
I live by my iPhone and keep my team organized with Basecamp
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP
Since I’m still nursing, I get ready in the morning and wear a robe until right before I’m walking out the door to head to work.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO WITH YOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING?
Carys is still young so we mainly like to walk in the park and meet our neighbors’ dogs.
Tell us about your working mom journey. What are you doing now and how did you get here?
2007 I started my own Etsy shop selling accessories and handbags I made
in my studio in Texas. I loved running my business but was looking for a
big change and an opportunity to work with a team. Four and a half
years ago, I landed a job working working on Etsy’s Community team. I
moved to Brooklyn and started my job the very next day. Since then, I’ve
had great opportunities for growth within the company. Now, I’m happy
to be managing a team of four, focused on helping our sellers use our
site tools to help run their businesses.
You’re part of a pilot program at
Etsy where as a new primary care giver you receive executive coaching to
help you transition back into work with a baby. How is this going and
what are you learning?
coaching sessions have been my lifeline after returning four months ago!
On the professional side, my coach helps me work through prioritizing
my team needs. Time has never been more valuable and I’ve needed to
adapt from my previous go-to methods.
personally find most refreshing about the program is how real we can be
with each other. A few weeks after I returned to work, I realized this
was the first time in many years that I couldn’t give all of myself to
my work — my time, my energy, my heart (all of which I gave willingly
and passionately). It felt so confusing to realize I had something else I
wanted to pour myself into.
daughter has been a much more transformative experience than I ever
imagined. I often feel like I’m a different person and it’s great to
have someone help me organize my thoughts and to know that I’m not doing
How has becoming a parent changed the way you manage your team?
parent has generally made me more patient and mindful of others, which
has certainly affected how I approach my relationships at work. I feel
much more empathetic and I want my team to succeed now more than ever.
You also co-wrote with other mothers at Etsy a guide to using the parent’s lounge (aka pump room). What does the guide cover?
have enough on their plate. It’s so important that returning moms
aren’t stressed or embarrassed about how everything is going to work
with pumping at the office. Once we published the guide, we shared it
with the entire company with the hopes that it would increase awareness
and support for returning moms (and make everyone feel supported and
comfortable upon their return from maternity leave).
The guide covers:
- How to book a room & what to expect in each
- How to buy a breast pump using our health insurance
- A step-by-step with reminders of things to bring and how to stay comfy if it’s your first time using the room
resources for moms who are struggling with getting the results they want
or run into other complications with nursing and pumping
It sounds like many of the
executives at Etsy are leading by example when it comes to work and
family. Can you give us some examples of what this looks like/means
significant number of people on our executive team have a family of
their own. The executives who started their families while working at
Etsy took full advantage of our parental leave policies, including our
CEO Chad Dickerson.
to have my daughter pretty close to the office and our culture is super
family-friendly, so she’s come and visited for lunch a few times. The
last time my daughter visited the office, our CEO Chad stopped by to see
her and chatted with me about being a parent. It feels right that I’ve
never felt as though I should hide that part of my life from my colleagues and teammates.
At Etsy, I
feel I’m encouraged to be a whole, 3-dimensional person, not just an
employee. From our annual talent show to our Etsy School program (where
employees teach and learn new skills from each other, from jewelry
making to 3D printing) we share and celebrate the things we’re
passionate about that extend far beyond our day-to-day work.
basically loves babies. New members of the Etsy family are often
welcomed through an emphatic, company-wide email. We get Etsy baby
gifts. We have an annual Halloween party just for kids and dogs. Our
kitchens have high chairs to encourage lunch visits with family. These
are just a few, seemingly small choices that make me feel that my child
is just as celebrated at Etsy as I am.
Mama bear image via Le Chic Monogram.