This past week I was featured as part of Impact Academy: City Maker Edition, a program I’m participating in, made possible by Impact Hub Ottawa, Synapcity and the City of Ottawa.
Back in May 2018, while I was heavily pregnant with my second son who was born the next month, I started a list of parents (mainly moms) based in Ottawa who are interested in pursuing professional development alongside their children.
I called it ‘Babies, Business and Breakfast‘ to keep it simple and straightforward and I had quite a bit of interest in my posts in local Facebook Groups. When I would meet parents who were complete strangers in the park, at the library and even at IKEA, I would approach them, ask them about them, their children and then mention the concept.
I had made little business cards with coloured confetti graphics on them containing my name, number and email, which I had printed eight up on a sheet of A4 paper and cut out with scissors at home. I carried them in my wallet in my diaper bag and purse, depending on where I was going and I doled them out when people asked for my details. I also passed them out to local business contacts at networking events. I had people tell me they were cute and smile when I passed them one of my homemade ‘business cards’.
Coming from a marketing communications background it felt slightly painful to hand them a crinkled card on thin and cheap white paper but I wasn’t going for luxe quality. I’m still not. I was trying to get a bit of momentum until baby number two arrived and I wanted to see what would happen when I put more effort into making connections and taking action than the pursuit of beautiful design, perfect branding and a cohesive message. Those things can and will come in time. Right now, I’m evolving as I speak to more people and test out the ideas I have.
I would take their details down, follow up with a phone call and/or email, add them to my list and send them my progress updates as I researched the concept. In August 2018, when the next round of Impact Academy was accepting applications for their Fall program, I applied, was accepted and now I’m becoming a bit of an equity and inclusion activist on behalf of other parents. Not sure how that happened, but here I am.
In the spirit of keeping it real and actively practicing making progress over pursuing perfection, I also posted about the profile photo featured on Impact Hub Ottawa’s website, social media and my own channels:
For transparency’s sake, in this shot I’m for reals breastfeeding my two-and-a-half-month-old son BUT the laptop was off. I had blowdried my own hair that morning, did my makeup and brought a dry-cleaning bag of top options, since it was my first professional photoshoot. AND I had a newborn who was cluster feeding and in the 99th percentile.
Why did I book it for when he was less than 12 weeks old? Well, I had been meaning to get new headshots for years… I could have done them when I was pregnant and not-so-glowing or waited until 2019.
Since having kids I’m all about progress over perfection and now I’m on mat leave, wouldn’t I have heaps of time!? Hahaha oh sweet naive, newborn bubble mom me – the reality was I had a toddler to pick up at daycare at lunch time and a limited window to get stuff done, so I booked a photographer for a Friday at 10 a.m., scouted out a café and asked a friend to help me in case things did not go as planned. Funnily enough, the baby slept in his car seat THE. ENTIRE. TIME.
I had to wake him to feed before we headed off to get his brother and then we snapped this and a couple of other shots. Turns out they’re some of the best! Shout out to the fellow mama and wonderful friend, who watched my son as I moved indoors and outdoors, awkwardly posing, hoping my shirt wouldn’t get baby spit up or leaky nip stains and that I was ‘smizing’ effectively enough to mask the sleep deprivation. It definitely helped that the kind folks at Mamie Clafoutis in Westboro had cleared a section of their café for our photoshoot since I had asked them for permission to use the space in advance and they made me feel not-so-unusual for asking.
Moral of the story: less self-doubt, more making stuff happen seems to work out better for me when I get up the guts to go do it! And now I have a nice series of photos which actually look like me (hoping I eventually look less tired but hey – doesn’t that make me more relatable?) and our son got to show off his baby lounging skills. 🤱🏻
Photo by: Danielle Lynn Bernier (thank you so much!) and graphic from Impact Hub Ottawa’s post, with their text from the original Instagram post below:
After spending the better part of a decade as a freelance and remote worker in Australia, Ireland, and England, new mom Amy Lynch returned to Canada with a newfound motivation to address the isolation she sometimes faced as a working expat and new parent.
She set out to make more space for ‘parentpreneurs’ looking to invest in themselves, and the project she is working on here at Hub Ottawa, Babies, Business & Breakfast, is the result.
A pilot program for parent-friendly professional development, Amy’s initiative aims to improve parental mental health and accessibility of professional spaces across the city.
For the past two months we’ve been collaborating with the civic superstars at Synapcity to deliver the 7th edition of Impact Academy, a 3-month immersive and experiential learning program for creative and entrepreneurial change-makers. Today we’re excited to start sharing a little more about their journey.
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