I am a mum of three, dog walker to Maggie, the Scottish Terrier, the family secretary, taxi service and holiday planner and keen yogi. And #ialso run my own business, the flexible jobs matchmaker, The Daisy Chain.
I started my business because I wanted to help. I knew there were other mums out there just like me – those struggling to get the right balance between their personal and professional lives. And moreover, a surprising amount of people I met were missing out on employment opportunities altogether because employers were not willing to offer the flexibility required to meet childcare responsibilities.
The Daisy Chain is now a year old and I’m incredibly proud to have reached this milestone.
Aside from making sure the platform runs smoothly, I also spend my days seeking out the best family friendly companies to drive sign-ups while figuring out ways to attract the smartest candidates who are keen to find flexible work. I also drive the marketing strategy, write and post regular blogs and use my network of contacts to offer up their best advice to The Daisy Chain community. I also work closely with groups – such as The Equality and Human Rights Commission and Changing The Face of Property – who champion women in business and support the flexible working debate which is vital to keep parents in the economy.
We are only at the beginning of the journey to change office culture and make flexible working the norm. To move away from the staid traditions of nine-to-five work days, male breadwinners, female primary carers and towards a more agile, unisex approach which focuses on delivery to measure people’s success.
Yet it’s funny. Most women tend to focus on their professional achievements and almost apologetically – if at all – leave any mention of children to the end of conversations; “Oh and… I also have two children”. Being a mum teaches us so many important things that we can use professionally. It gives us a different outlook on life. It gives us drive. It teaches us empathy. It gives us patience we never knew we had, killer negotiation skills, time management, positivity in the face of adversity… I could go on.
We are lucky to be part of the #ialso movement. We’re women who have managed to juggle home life with work we find interesting and worthwhile. We stand up and make things happen. We want to help affect change, to help each other, encourage each other and support each other through successes and those all-important failures. And prove that you don’t need to be sat in an office from nine to five to achieve great things.
Louise Deverell-Smith is the founder of The Daisy Chain.