So when she became pregnant with her son, Anna set out on her new journey with confidence and clear focus. Much to her surprise, she found herself completely and utterly lost when her son Asher was born.
“I didn’t know what to do with him, what I thought was going to come easily and naturally didn’t happen. Feeding wasn’t working, he kept losing weight. I thought “Here’s one thing I was meant to do and I am failing at it”. She went from a woman in business who never failed at anything to crying every night because all of a sudden couldn’t make it work. Slowly but surely, though, things normalized.
Finding herself in a new city where her husband’s career had taken them, Anna began looking for a job. She was halfway through making a phone pitch to a potential employer, when her son Asher began to cry. She had to confess she had an infant at home. “Why are you even on the phone?” was the response. Though she still landed the job, this phone conversation became an introduction to her life as a working mom.
“Being a mother meant I needed flexibility. Even at work I am still a mother, I can't put motherhood to the side. But the market isn’t set up to accommodate motherhood. Many women freelance after their children are born, and it becomes difficult to build the ambitious careers we crave. But the credentialed, career-building jobs are - until now - not flexible.”
This was when she had conceived a business idea: a marketplace for flexible work.
“I like to say “You can’t win if the rules are broken”. But what if we changed the rules? There is a whole chunk of the market - highly trained, talented women - businesses are not tapping into by not offering flexibility.”
Around this time, Anna got a phone call introducing her to a woman who had been thinking these same thoughts. Annie Dean worked as a corporate real estate attorney in New York city until she had her second son. After doctors discovered that he had a rare genetic condition, she knew she couldn’t go back to her previous lifestyle.
Not having ever met, the two women wrote a business plan together, quit their jobs, and launched Werk, a marketplace for ambitious women looking for flexible work opportunities.
“We built our business remotely, calling and texting each other all the time. When I finally relocated to New York, Annie and I decided to rent a house away from the city, and live and work together under one roof. We spend mornings with our kids, work on our business in the afternoon, go back to our kids for the evening, then get back to work. We are living and breathing what we are trying to build.”
Werk grew very quickly in a short amount of time, boasting nearly 2000 members and posting 3 new jobs a week. The reaction to this idea has been overwhelmingly positive. With their ability to pitch the benefits of offering flexibility to mothers, they have not had a problem finding great opportunities for other women. Truly, together, these two smart, audacious mothers are reinventing work for women!