When we began Path Forward more than 5 years ago, it was because we recognized that decades after women had entered the workforce in large numbers, many still faced work/life conflicts after they became mothers. For some this led to leaving the workforce, often in a way that felt more like pushed out. And then, when these smart, educated, experienced women were ready to return to the paid workforce — 2, 5, sometimes 20 years later — too many employers were not welcoming.
That same recognition of the unique workplace challenges mothers face led Gayatri Agnew to found Mother’s Monday — a holiday to celebrate career moms. Mother’s Monday imagines a different world — one where mothers are valued and supported at home and at work. Path Forward is proud to be a partner to Mother’s Monday as we work in collaboration with other organizations who imagine a different world for families. Learn about their free event featuring Gayatri and other leaders in the space here.
Our piece of that work is empowering employers to welcome moms back to the paid workforce through returnship programs. Our program gives HR teams, recruiters and managers the skills to recognize the value that returning caregivers can bring to their teams. Since 2016 we’ve graduated more than 550 people from returnships at more than 80 employers, including Walmart, Amazon, SAP and many more. Since our inception more than 550 people have completed a Path Forward returnship and more than 80% of them are now employed.
The impact our program has had — on them, on their families, on their teams — is immeasurable. But don’t take our word for it, take theirs:
Families grow stronger when they support ambition.
“I was afraid to leave my daughter at first, but now I see how well she is able to cope, self-manage, and help out with chores around the house. She sees me in a different way now, and has set certain expectations for her father now that I’m working, too. All these things boost your morale and convince you made the right choice, both to take a break, and to return to work after.” – Deepthi
“I really missed working and being a part of something. I was ready to go back…I was concerned about how my son would feel without me there all the time, but he was fine with it. One day, when I first started working at Cloudflare, he told me, “Mommy, you know, I don’t need you.” I understood that it was his way of telling me that it was ok for me to continue my career.” – Gloria
“I have two kids who are growing up in a world that’s ever-changing because of technology, and it’s exciting that I am a part of it. I am navigating this world and growing with them.” – Ellein
Soft skills from motherhood are always in demand at work.
“I found that the things that make you successful – like the ability to get things done, organization, being able to collaborate with people – never change. My career break even helped me strengthen those skills. Raising and chasing after children helps you with those soft skills.” – Jody
“The experience I got from raising my kids… helped me build up my organizational skills, made me better at dealing with stress, and helped me approach difficult situations more calmly and strategically.” – Heidi
“As for my career break, there were so many soft skills that I picked up: having patience, thinking outside the box, being a critical listener, adapting to different learning styles, appreciating other perspectives, and remaining calm under pressure. The list goes on and on. There are countless skills gained during my break that I’ve applied in my post-break career. I am definitely a better team member the second time around!” – Bridget
“Being a mom definitely makes you into the ultimate multi-tasker, and that’s definitely a skill I use in my job. We always have multiple projects in flight, and I have to know about all of them – what’s going well, what’s not, what needs to be adjusted and managed.” – Carrie
Professional fulfillment can lead to happier home life, and vice versa!
“Before returning to work, I was worried that [work or home life] would suffer… Wrong! If anything, it has made me stronger; I am meeting and exceeding expectations in both areas. What really surprised me is that, the skills I exercise at work, like problem solving skills, organizational skills and attention to details, are also very relevant in my day-to-day life. So now I see my work as a way to make myself better.” – Zandra
“I don’t have as much time to keep a perfect house, and that’s ok. The guilt is very real… but I am grateful for the opportunities I have. I go to bed exhausted but happy. If you put it in that perspective, things like that don’t really matter. I am proud of my son and grateful for my family’s support.” – Lavanya
“I feel like returning to work has been good for me socially and creates a sense of fulfillment and contribution… I feel more balanced, and this in turn benefits how I show up for myself, my family, and in the world. As a wise Path Forward alum once told me, “It’s not the quantity of time spent with kids, but the quality.” – Neema