For Our Girls

H and I have five children among us, three boys and two girls. They are uniformly funny, smart, all-around excellent kids, and we love each of them to pieces. We work hard to be good moms to them, to provide for them. Basically everything we do is done with one end goal in mind: helping our children grow into healthy, happy, smart, productive adults. And I think we try to provide for each of our children equally.

But just for a moment, I want to focus on the girls.

The video posted here has been making the social media rounds for the past month:

While I normally don’t buy into statistics without knowing the sources and methodology behind their calculation, the numbers in this video were lopsided enough to give me pause. Only 16% of America’s business leaders are women? Only 18% of legal leaders? Only 21% in nonprofit, a field we often think of as more willing to accept female leadership?

I was horrified, to be perfectly honest. I probably shouldn’t have been; I’m a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg, who quotes statistics like these all the time. But I was. And more than ever, I wanted to lean in for our two girls, H’s and mine.

The truth is I have struggled with being a working mom ever since my oldest child was born and my maternity leave ended and I headed back to the office. It is incredibly hard to leave that precious baby, that tiny person who is suddenly the center-point of your entire world, in the care of another person while you go off to work everyday. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying.

But I believe in the value of equal power in the home and in the workforce. I believe in my core that women in leadership roles across a variety of industries and settings and governments will ultimately make things better for all of us. ¬†And that is why I hug and kiss my wonderful kids goodbye each morning and head to the office, and that’s why H and I are throwing our energy and our passion into this project. We are demonstrating to our children (both the boys and the girls) every single day that mommies have important roles in the working world and can build meaningful careers just like daddies. And we are helping to pave and smooth the path on which our daughters will walk when they become adults and must make their own choices about whether or not to focus on their own careers.

I want my daughter to be a leader. I believe H wants the same for hers. At the very least, we want them to have the option to pursue leadership. And that is one very important reason why we are on this wild ride together.

Not only are we trying to ease the way for our own daughters, we are trying to create something that will make it just a little bit easier for other moms to pursue their careers should they choose to do so. We hope we are handing them a tool, just one small tool to add to their arsenal, to make their challenges a little less daunting. Because the world needs more women in leadership roles, and we are going to do what we can to help get that done.

-E

Advertisements

Yoga as Startup Inspiration

Went to yoga this morning. My favorite instructor, Phil, was teaching. When he saw me, he gave me BIG EYES… as in “Holy wow, I thought you must have QUIT yoga…it’s been so long…” But, as most lovely yoga people are, Phil was forgiving and funny and great.

About an hour into the class, we moved to the wall. This is part of Phil’s yoga magic, of course. The part where we practice handstands.

I dutifully moved my mat, placed my hands on the mat, and walked my feet up the wall until my torso and legs formed an EXACT (irony included) 90 degree angle. I took a few breaths, smiled, pretty much collapsed onto the mat.

When it was all done, Phil had us all move back into our places on the floor, and offered this wisdom:

Handstands are scary because you are afraid that you will fall on your head.

Pretty much everyone that tries to master this rather challenging feat does, actually, fall.

You practice on the wall so you learn that you have all the power you need to support all that will come when you fully commit.

***

As a part-time, totally humble yogi, I appreciated his humility.

As a full-on entrepreneur trying to bootstrap a startup, in this wild, wild world where all of the rules have changed, I heard something else:

In the new, crazy world, we (along with all of you) have the power to realize your dreams. That power is based on all of what’s inside of you. In our case, that’s a collective foundation of 20+ years of being students, lawyers with serious jobs, 5 kids, 2(ish) years of blogging, and (with much much humility) leaning in on all of the connections, goodwill, friends, and friends-of-friends that all of the foregoing has given us.

And as a direct result, E and I are also spinning. We realizing that, ironically, the biggest challenge in all of this is staring down (and planning for) what happens if your dreams and plans GO BIG. It’s actually easy to deal with the opposite… an app and idea that lives in mediocre-land for awhile, sputters along. That’s easily scalable, not that hard to support.

But GO BIG? Oh sheesh. Lets start with the fact that it’s a champagne problem. But more realistically, it’s a challenge – how MUCH do we care about the problem we’re trying to solve here?

A very good friend (who happens to be awfully awesome in the VC world) pretty much asked us this question last night. At almost midnight. On a flight, far away from his sweet family, and at the humble request of a friend he had not seen since the 80’s, and with whom I was only connected in a real sense via Facebook. THIS, friends, is the new paradigm. “WHAT are you willing to do? HOW are you going to compete with all of the 20-somethings with unbelievable connections??”

Got it B. As lawyers, we plan for the worst. As entrepreneurs, we absolutely MUST plan for the best.

Thank you B. Truly.

E and I have our own answer.

And, I suppose we’re posting this because we wanted to share the same query to our other friends – far and near- considering the same thing.

WHAT are you willing to do in your life for what truly moves you?? Do you have a plan for the best?

Thanks y’all — good week!

xo

H