Bringing children into the boardroom

Notes From Another Land | Nap Time Brainstorm

Yesterday, I posted a snap on Instagram about my business adventures with a little one in tow. It received a good response and I am always inspired by the other parents, parentpreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, employees, founders and spokespeople I see shedding light on the need for flexibility and gender equality in the workplace.

I was prepping for an exciting meeting I had this morning with an organization interested in my business concept. I brought my toddler son and 35 weeks pregnant self along in full glory. I mentioned a positive mindset, meeting objectives and a flexible schedule before and afterwards were key to feeling prepared for these types of unpredictable and unnerving encounters.

Happy to report it went well, I was up early to get ready before my son woke and then we did breakfast and some play time at home before getting into the car to visit a part of the city I hadn’t been to before. We made it there ahead of schedule (yay!) and even had time for a leisurely stroll in the parking lot and building hallways before heading to the meeting boardroom.

During the meeting, I had brought along diapers, wipes, snacks, a drink, a toy and a book to keep my son content, as well as a notepad and pen for myself. The person I was meeting with kindly gave my son two foam soccer balls to play with before we started chatting and she took breaks throughout our conversation to address his questions and comments, alongside mine. The meeting itself lasted under 45 minutes, before she gave us a tour of their office and saw us out.

He was so good and I have to say she was so kind! He wasn’t shy at all and I think he felt comfortable in the space. I usually try to remain calm in order to keep him calm but it always helps when you have an empathetic, patient and understanding person sitting across from you at the boardroom table.

On yesterday’s post, I mentioned some of the other things I’ve brought my son to, which are usually seen as traditionally adult-only events including:
💸 Pitching to a seed investor for feedback (while wearing him in a baby carrier)
📈 Presenting to and fielding questions from accelerator programs (in between feeding him snacks)
💼 Interviewing for a corporate mat leave contract (which I’m proud to say I was offered, happily accepted and recently completed)
📅 Business workshops about cash flow and income tax (wheeled him in stroller and all to the 7:30 a.m. sessions where I proceeded to feed him breakfast)
🎨 Creative Mornings Ottawa events (again, stroller and all to listen and be inspired) and the list goes on.

I will continue to compile these experiences as I build my business, because I believe that parenthood and professional development don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

However, I also recognize that poop explosions, a lack of baby change facilities, snack supply shortages, distant parking facilities, cranky kids, inaccessible buildings, random rapid fire questions from said children and many more compromising and unpredictable scenarios are likely to happen in the lead up to, during and after each planned outing.

Notes From Another Land | Toddler Mum Adventures

But it’s all part of the journey, I learn as I go and in the process my son gets to see me adulting, growing as an individual, embracing challenges and bringing him along for the ride. Plus I feel like a bad ass business momma and only recently at a women’s breakfast networking event did I feel like I couldn’t bring him with me. Luckily my lovely sister was with us so it was impromptu adventures with Auntie so I could still attend. 👊

Any and all ideas, tips, experiences (good and bad) are welcome! What have you done with your children to challenge norms, put aside fear and go for things you didn’t think were meant for you?

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