At the end of February, Engine took 32 startups from across the country to the very heart of policy-making in Washington D.C. for our second annual Startup Day on the Hill. The aim was to facilitate interactions between lawmakers and entrepreneurs in order to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Participating startups include Etsy, Lyft, Yelp, and Maybrooks, among many others.
Here’s what Stacey Delo, Maybrooks Founder, had to say about her experience in Washington D.C. and what she went to talk about.
Debi and I founded Maybrooks as an online resource for smart moms – at all stages of their careers – to go to find jobs, post jobs, and connect with like-minded women.
We built tools to harness the powerful word-of-mouth network among moms, and empower them to help each other find flexible careers. And there’s one key differentiator -- our growing job board that features meaningful opportunities for highly experienced working women who seek job flexibility. The site is a place where small businesses and startups can find overqualified talent on a flexible basis, and where large corporations can tout their amazing flex policies.
Just before our trip to D.C. with Engine, the New York Times ran a piece about how men are benefiting more from the economic recovery - from a jobs perspective - than women. As a result, our visit, and the opportunity to talk to lawmakers about women and jobs was well timed. Debi and I were particularly interested in telling policy makers about the large, smart, work-ready talent pool of women looking to put their skills to work with some level of flexibility.
To help craft our message, we built a survey to identify what working moms want when it comes to flexibility, and found that sixty percent wanted full-time job opportunities with options for flexibility. Ninety-four percent of the respondents said job flexibility was as or more important to them than money. See an infographic of the results here.
On the Friday before our trip, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer demanded that all remote-only workers come into the office, opening a floodgate of conversation nationally about workplace flexibility particularly as it pertained to working mothers. I felt fortunate to have the survey data showing that the majority of women we interviewed wanted full-time work with options for flexibility, not necessarily an entirely remote-work setup. (Here’s our take on the conversation about women in the workplace.)
The survey also highlighted the fact that 94 percent of women say flexibility is as or more important than money, yet 78 percent say finding flexible work is very or extremely difficult. These numbers, together with our belief in the Maybrooks platform as a way to raise awareness and make it easier for women to find the right job convinced us that attending Startup Day on the Hill with Engine was the next logical step. With the numbers and the platform, my meetings in D.C. allowed me to talk directly to lawmakers about supporting policies that keep women in the workforce, contribute to job growth for women, and provide greater flexibility and income parity with men.
I was so grateful to have this opportunity to meet face-to-face in small groups with some of the most influential people in D.C., not to mention the cool factor of simply being able to “check in” on Facebook at The White House. We were inspired by the country’s CTO Todd Park and his team, who are keenly in tune with the needs of startups, and working to operate their portion of government with as much agility as possible. I was also honored to sit at a dining room-sized conference table with three of the most accomplished women in government, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Anna Eshoo, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- all Democrats of California.
Impressed with how all the government officials were so open and willing to listen to startups and their needs, Debi and I thank Engine for opening this important line of communication between the tech community and Washington.
Stacey Delo, cofounder & ceo