Mama Mentors is powered by Lincoln. Learn more about our partnership here. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests.
Through projects like this one, HeyMama endeavors to enhance the professional success of our members by bridging the gap between those who have already arrived and the ones who are still on their way. We hope this journey will keep us all moving forward, just like Lincoln.
Katya Libin, the CEO and co-founder of HeyMama, is not oblivious to the insurmountable difficulties facing working and entrepreneurial moms. During the month of September alone, over 865,000 women were pushed out of the workforce — a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and existing gender disparities within the home. At a time when men are three times more likely to be promoted than women, moms are facing an impossible choice that, let’s face it, isn’t a choice at all: crumble under the pressure of facilitating your child’s at-home e-learning while parenting, cooking, cleaning, and working, or quit your job.
“What we’re witnessing, in real time, is the ramifications of a system that has never benefited working moms, and certainly has never encouraged moms to enter the workforce at a high level or start their own businesses,” Libin told HeyMama. “Moms have always faced unfair burdens to career success in a country that refuses to pass equal pay for equal work, mandatory paid family leave, affordable childcare, and other systemic support systems.”
And Libin would know: After she had her daughter, as the only working mom in a corporate atmosphere that was far from understanding, she felt a deep need for a community of other like-minded moms who could understand the trials, tribulations, and successes that so many working moms experience.
“I aimed to create what I needed and what I couldn’t find at the time,” Libin said. “I was lonely, and when relationships and networking are often required in order to excel in any kind of corporate or entrepreneurial environment, my loneliness wasn’t only hurting me mentally and emotionally — it was likely to hurt me career-wise, too.”
Since its founding in 2014, HeyMama has reached 11 cities and boasts members from across the globe. But it’s the personal relationships and mentorship opportunities within the HeyMama community that Libin prides herself on the most — especially now, when working and entrepreneurial moms need community, support, guidance, and a space of shared knowledge arguably more than ever.
“Within the HeyMama community, we have had members help one another secure funding in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic. We’ve had members share their bootstrapping knowledge so businesses can continue to not only survive, but thrive,” Libin said. “We’ve had members support other business owners by purchasing their products after they’ve pivoted to meet the needs of customers during this time. These possibilities are difficult if not impossible to find anywhere else, yet they’re borne out of the very foundation of HeyMama: a community for working and entrepreneurial moms, by working and entrepreneurial moms, here to provide endless support, solidarity, and success for working and entrepreneurial moms.”
And of course, Libin believes in leading by example. In the midst of raising her daughter, managing a business, and handling the seemingly endless responsibilities that go along with both, Libin was also one of many mentors that participated in this year’s HeyMama Mama Mentors program, powered by Lincoln. Members were paired with other members who were best equipped to help them meet the needs of their businesses during an unparalleled time of financial uncertainty.
“Our HeyMama Mama Mentors program really speaks to the core of HeyMama itself: working moms helping working moms,” Libin says. “Just like raising a child, no one starts a business or reaches a corporate career goal on their own — we’ve all had mentors who have helped us at various times along the way. This is an opportunity for our members to give back and I am so thrilled to not only bring this program back this year, but be a part of it.”
While the future is always uncertain, especially as the COVID-19 crisis carries on and moms are continued to be disproportionately impacted, Libin is confident that the necessity of digital social networks like HeyMama will remain. Because whether it’s parenting, business ownership, corporate ladder climbing, or all of the above, we can’t do it alone. We have to rely on a trusted community, and Libin is proud of the one she has worked so tirelessly to cultivate.
“The benefits of a community like HeyMama for working moms of all types cannot be understated,” Libin said. “And I have no doubt that those benefits are only going to work to create a workforce that works for all moms in the future.”