Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.
Allison Robinson is one of those mamas.
She’s a new mother, who while on maternity leave used her time to do her part to redefine the workforce for mothers. Founder + CEO of The Mom Project—a digital talent community which connects educated women with highly successful companies for top notch employment opportunities.
The Mom Project offers accomplished women (who also happen to be mothers) three different options—project-based work, a ‘Maternityship’, and permanent staffing.
Their revolutionary Maternityship program helps companies staff any gaps they experience due to parental leaves, and also helps mothers ease back into the workforce.
Allison and her team are committed to providing incredible work opportunities for women throughout their motherhood journey—whether they’re on maternity leave, looking to dip their toes in a project, or ready to dive into a new career move STAT.
We caught up with Allison to find out her secrets to a happy family and the motivation to speak up for millions of women on a daily basis.
Your business is brilliant. Why did you want to create The Mom Project?
Allison Robinson: We lose too many talented women in the workforce because they can’t find the right balance between their career goals and desire to build a family. I started The Mom Project to provide mothers with an alternative career path that allows them to meaningfully engage in the workforce on their own terms and be supported by a community of like-minded women.
What was the need in the market?
Allison Robinson: Acquiring and retaining top talent is critical to the success of any organization and we’re giving companies access to a large pool of highly educated, professionally accomplished women that has been largely inaccessible.
What is a Maternityship, and how does it work for mothers and businesses?
Allison Robinson: The Mom Project’s Maternityship program provides companies with coverage through gaps in staffing created by parental leaves of absence while also providing mothers a bridge back into the workforce. For instance, if a company has someone going out on maternity leave for three months, we will send in one of our professionals who has similar experience to cover for that gap.
Does The Mom Project offer projects all over the U.S.?
Allison Robinson: Yes it does! We have new companies signing up daily all over the country!
Why is it important for you to work toward ensuring mothers have work opportunities?
Allison Robinson: It’s critically important mothers have access to rewarding work opportunities.
I believe if we can structure work so that mothers can achieve both their career and family goals, we can help close the gender pay gap, increase the number of women in leadership roles and significantly stimulate our national economy.
What are your big hopes and dreams for The Mom Project?
Allison Robinson: I look forward to The Mom Project becoming the leading destination where world-class companies access highly educated and skilled female talent.
What inspires you to do this work?
Allison Robinson: I feel most inspired when I speak to moms across the country that we have helped place into great opportunities. Everyone has a unique story and I find the personal narratives of the women on our platform to be incredibly moving and motivating.
Tell us about your career to this point—how did you get here?
Allison Robinson: I’ve spent the last eight years with Procter and Gamble. I was able to get a lot of great experience working with some of the largest retailers across the country and learning what makes consumers tick—specifically millennial moms during my time on the Pampers brand.
What are your secrets for integrating work and family?
Allison Robinson: I think the line between one’s personal and professional life is becoming increasingly blurred. Personally, one thing I am working on is to avoid the urge to check emails on my phone when I’m spending time with my family.
You’re a busy woman—how do you recharge?
Allison Robinson: Spending time with my family is my favorite way to unwind. I also really enjoy traveling, cooking, drinking wine and reading nonfiction (including my Twitter and Facebook newsfeed!)
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to that’s helped to shape you as a woman and a mother? Tell us how they inspire you.
Allison Robinson: I’m blessed to have many inspiring role models in my life that have helped shape me as a mother, wife and entrepreneur. My sister Holly is about to have her seventh child and she manages to do it all with poise and grace and she is such a wonderful role model to me… and I often try to channel her patience!
Tell us about your son. How has he transformed your career?
Allison Robinson: I had my first child last year and he has absolutely transformed my life outlook. I think from a career standpoint he has given me a more balanced perspective to the way I approach work and the meaning of success.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you inspired and excited about life?
Allison Robinson: First, a piping hot cup of coffee! On a more serious note, I’m motivated when I wake up to see my beautiful son and to make the most out of this opportunity to help other mothers find meaningful work.
Tell us about a typical day in your life.
At 6: 30 am. . . hit snooze until my son wakes up at 7:15 am
At 7:45 am. . .drink coffee and enjoy the morning with my son and husband before the workday starts
At 9:00 am. . . meet with my team to discuss the newest project opportunities
11:00 am…provide my CTO recommendations on how to enhance our site based on the excellent feedback from our highly engaged users
At 1:00 pm. . . check my news feed to see what’s trending in workplace topics and share relevant stories and articles with the members in our network
At 3:00 pm. . . present a new parental leave program recommendation to one of our partner companies for their organization that will help them to better retain their female talent
At 5:00 pm. . . dinner with my family, if we’re not cooking it’s usually takeout sushi
At 9:00 pm. . . respond to emails and catch up on Shark Tank or Top Chef
What’s one thing you do every day (or try to do every day!) to ensure that your work and home lives run more smoothly?
Allison Robinson: A well-synced family google calendar!
We’d love to hear—what would you tell other mamas who have a great idea and want to start their own business?
Allison Robinson: I would highly recommend reading the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It does a terrific job walking you through how to test the market viability of your idea before investing a lot of time, money or resources.
Also, I’d suggest finding mentors and advisors that push you and can make up for your areas of weakness.
What do you hope your children learn from your career?
Allison Robinson: That there’s no one path to success and if you find work that has meaning, you’ll figure out how to make a living from it.
What’s in your purse?
Allison Robinson: My iPhone, passport, chapstick, a notepad and pen, bronzer, and Pampers wipes.
What does ‘Motherly’ mean to you?
Allison Robinson: Motherly means a modern mother who isn’t afraid to rewrite the rules.