Jodi Geddes and Kate Pollard, Co-founders of Circle In

Creating your own Career Circle

There is something really special about the sisterhood that comes with your first mothers’ group. Getting mothers together to talk about anything and everything is powerful and fun. In the space of an hour, a mothers’ group conversation can move from the consistency of poos, to how many hours’ sleep, to date night ideas with your husband, to the latest election. My girls saved me in that first year of leave.

So, when I returned to work, I missed the regular catch ups and the conversations with mothers experiencing the same thing. I was naïve and thought walking through the doors at work would feel like it always had.

I was wrong.

Walking through those doors as a mother now felt different. That’s because I was now wearing two hats, a mother and an employee. I now had different priorities, different needs and different expectations. Most of the time, they were competing.

There was so much going through my head and I needed to know that others were experiencing the same thing. I needed career mothers. So I decided to start a group at work.

I needed others who understood how damn hard it was to get out of bed after being up all night with a sick child. Who understood what it was like when your former peers were now a level above you. Who understood how working flexibly was tough. Parents who were going through the same things and thinking the same thing.

So, I came up with the idea of bringing together recently-returned mothers to connect, share and inspire one another. ‘Pop up Parenting’ was born, and with the help of my manager, I connected my network (about 15). Some I knew, some I didn’t. It was essentially anyone who had returned in the last year.

And it took off. Everyone loved it. We didn’t talk babies. We talked career and confidence because that’s what we all needed help with.

It worked. It really worked.

Before I knew it, the group had grown to over 100, and women were connecting just about anywhere to share their journey and help one another. It’s such a simple, powerful and cost-effective idea for workplaces.

Without a doubt, it helped me and many others through that first year. It expanded my network and gave me strength when I needed it. There is something about sharing stories with other parents. It makes you feel better. Feel stronger and more confident.

Finding your group at work is easy to do. It could be a few mothers or it could be many, depending on the size of your workplace. The best part is there’s no set script or agenda. Like your traditional parent’s group, it’s about getting together and talking about what’s on your mind.

Here’s my tips on how to go about it:

  1. Send an email to all recently-returned mothers (See our Template to create your own Mother’s Career Circle)
  2. Invite the group to a coffee. Suggest you start with once a month.
  3. Meet with no agenda. It’s a chance to talk about challenges, opportunities and strategies that may make life a little easier.
  4. Don’t bitch. It’s not a session to talk about the workplace and possible lack of support.
  5. Have fun. Enjoy it. Laugh. Cry. Hug and tell each other it will be okay.
  6. Agree on the next catch-up date and how you want to stay in touch.

So go on, create your own Career Circle. Your confidence will love you for it.

Written by Jodi Geddes, Co-founder of Circle In

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