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By Moms at Work
Meet the founder:
Allison Venditti is a career coach, Human Resources and return-to-work expert with over 15 years of experience creating programs, policy and best practices that improve workplace cultures and increase employee retention.
After becoming a mother and surviving a life-altering brain injury, Allison decided to leverage her expertise as a corporate recruiter for industries ranging from healthcare to banking, to start a career coaching business to help women, and especially mothers, build meaningful careers and develop leadership skills to become changemakers in their organizations. She has since grown Moms at Work to Canada’s largest professional network for working mothers, providing resources, community and support to over 13,000 women.
Allison is passionate about breaking down the barriers to women succeeding in their careers and motherhood. She is a sought-after speaker and regular commentator for national news outlets on return-to-work, pay transparency and working parenthood.
In 2021, she organized a roundtable discussion with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. This roundtable discussed ways the government could better support working families during the pandemic. She is also regularly invited to provide input at the provincial and federal level on policies impacting women and families.
Today Allison is one of the few experts in Canada for parental leave program development. Allison, along with a team of experts, developed the My Parental Leave program to bridge the gap between employees and companies and to make the transition seamless between parental leave and return to work.
When not working, Allison can be found sitting on her front porch in her favourite Star Wars tee-shirt planning her next advocacy initiative or biking around Toronto with her three boys – yes, even in wintertime.
1. What does your organization do?
Moms at Work is Canada’s largest and most trusted community of working mothers. With over 13,000 members, we understand what matters most to women who are navigating the demands of work and family life. Our unique position enables us to deliver on our community’s needs by offering powerful programming, networking opportunities, courses and resources. Moms at Work has been featured in over 100 media interviews, hosted a public roundtable with the Prime Minister and conducted Canada’s first survey on the maternity leave experience. Moms at Work continues to advocate for improvements to the working world for women and parents.
2. If you could get Canadians to understand one thing about your work, what would it be?
The motherhood penalty is real. Moms at Work hears hundreds of stories each year of pregnancy discrimination. Women often have their ability to work and their commitment to work questioned. Motherhood is one of the largest reasons that the wage gap exists.
Moms at Work is a movement of people at heart. We do not take money from corporations or receive government grants. This financial independence is key to our political independence. We direct money from our business offerings towards our advocacy efforts. We are also supported by members that recognize the importance of having a voice for working mothers.
Being a social justice organization, our financial independence has allowed us to continue to criticize, educate, support, and grow a truly grassroots feminist movement.
3. What are some unique challenges that you have faced in your work? What are you doing to overcome them?
The pandemic was shouldered by mothers. The industries that were impacted the most were female-dominated. I like to think that we did everything in our power as a movement and a community to help our people.
During the pandemic we:
- Did over 100 media interviews to bring attention to the struggles of women and working parents
- Created a job board to showcase family-friendly jobs and employment opportunities
- Organized over 65 events focused on job hunting, career change and salary negotiation
- Created My Parental Leave, a course designed to help parents navigate the tricky questions around EI, leaves, rights and more
- Advocated and met with numerous politicians, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development as well as the candidates for the Ontario Premier race
- Grew our community from 2,500 to 13,500 members
For Moms at Work as an organization – keeping committed and grounded in our commitment to our members and sharing their stories has meant we have turned down several corporate sponsors who asked for our silence on certain topics. Challenging the notion that foundations and granting organizations need to silence women to fund them has made us even more committed to doing this differently.
4. How has the pandemic impacted your work?
Like most other small businesses, the pandemic nearly destroyed Moms at Work. We had no clients, corporate work dried up and I worked for free for over a year to keep it moving. Women have been the first to be laid off, the first not to be called back, and have suffered incredible mental health strains from carrying so much. But I look back and know that I did something. I showed up every single day and gave people hope. We have turned a corner, but we still rely on our community to support us which is challenging amid a recession.
5. What keeps you going? Are there any hopeful stories that you can share with us?
Advocacy is 99 losses for every 1 win. But at Moms at Work, we have had a lot of wins.
- Our work around pay transparency has been a movement. We have so many people talking about it and companies implementing it. It is wild to watch.
- We had over 600 women go through our PWYC webinars. Teaching has been so wonderful to watch.
- I have been tracking the pay increases our community has been reporting. Some have increased their annual salary by over 50% to date. In less than 3 years, we have seen over $5 million in collective salary increases (NOT including bonuses etc – just salary). Our teaching and education is working!
- People know who we are and that is important. We have a community that trusts us because we have shown up loudly and with conviction at every opportunity. That is our big win. Our people matter and we remind them of that every day.
Learn more about Moms at Work by visiting their website and following them on social media:
The Equal Futures Network acknowledges that Indigenous people are the traditional guardians of Turtle Island, on the land also known as Canada