Creating Parent-Friendly Business Spaces and Experiences: Transcript of Lightning Talk for Eastern Ontario’s WEKH

I presented at the June 12th, 2019 Carleton University Launch of Eastern Ontario’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) at Impact Hub Ottawa, where I spoke about ‘Babies, Business + Breakfast: Creating Parent-Friendly Business Spaces + Experiences’.

Amy Maureen Lynch presenting while babywearing at Impact Hub Ottawa
Amy Lynch babywearing during WEKH talk

Carleton is one of nine regional hubs for WEKH, which includes VentureLabs at Simon Fraser University, Mount Royal University, the University of Manitoba, the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Université de Montreal, Yukon College, OCAD University and Dalhousie University.

It was an evening networking event including pop-up childcare, which I advised the event organizers on. My entire family accompanied me to the event, where our two children–aged almost three and one year’s old–tested out this service provided by SitterNextDoor.

Amy Maureen Lynch's children using pop-up childcare at Impact Hub Ottawa
My children testing out the pop-up childcare at Impact Hub Ottawa provided by SitterNextDoor

I ended up wearing my baby for the talk as it was past his bedtime and we missed out on the post-event networking, as we had to head upstairs to get our toddler, thank the sitters, pack up our gear (diaper bag, backup toys, dinner picnic, stroller), head down to the parking garage and drive home for a–mostly tear free but very rushed–late bedtime.

Amy Maureen Lynch packing dinner picnic for kids at evening networking event
What goes on behind the scenes when I speak at an event with my kids: Operation dinner picnic prep, you can never have too many snacks
Prepping for a networking event with kids by Amy Maureen Lynch
Bags packed, stroller loaded in car and one child ready to go before we pick up the next one at daycare, before driving downtown for the evening networking event

All in all, I think it went well and while I don’t plan to use on site childcare for evening events in future unless I’m part of the event until my children are a bit older, I do believe it is going to be an essential service (as opposed to a neat idea or unique value add) in future. If you want to aim for a diverse and inclusive audience as part of your programming and events, you should also be including the needs of primary caregivers and their loved ones in your initial conversations and plans.

Lightning Talk: Babies, Business + Breakfast

Scroll through to listen to my talk in audio only format via SoundCloud or read the transcript of my talk in its’ original format.

This SoundCloud audio file is just under 2:30 minutes and contains only my talk:

Transcript Of My Lightning Talk For The Launch Of Eastern Ontario’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

Hi, my name is Amy Lynch and I am a writer, freelancer and Founder of Babies, Business + Breakfast.

It’s a community for people who want to invest in themselves alongside their children: think a business mastermind for parents, where you don’t have to leave the kids at home.

My own two children are almost three and one years old and are upstairs testing out the pop-up childcare tonight, which I’ve helped advise the event organizers on.

You see, if I hadn’t been asked to speak and help with advising the event organizers, I probably wouldn’t have attended as it is also during my children’s dinner and bedtime.

Since becoming a parent three years ago, I have been living my belief that parenthood and professional development don’t have to be mutually exclusive, although it is not always the reality I am faced with.

This challenge is something I’m reminded of often, when I venture into business settings promoting diversity, inclusion, innovation and entrepreneurship, with programming and spaces which don’t consider the needs of primary caregivers as a target audience.

When you are required to attend a series of 7am workshops in order to even be eligible to apply for government startup funding, do you bring the baby and feed them there, or stay home and opt out completely?

When there isn’t a change table on site, do you change them on a dirty restroom floor for privacy or on a sofa where meetings are often held in plain view of complete strangers?

When the networking events are during family mealtimes, bedtimes, school drop off or pick up, do you bring them with you, scramble to find flexible and affordable childcare or just opt out again completely?

I choose not to opt out and by sharing my experiences, I have started a community of parents who also want to invest in themselves alongside their loved ones.

I believe this is what the future of work looks like: parenthood and professional development don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

If we’re creating resources for aspiring and current entrepreneurs, how can we also create spaces, programming and experiences which don’t exclude primary caregivers and their loved ones?

My next Babies, Business + Breakfast pop-up event is on July 31st – if you’d like to learn more please subscribe to my newsletter or check out the event link below.=

Thank you for listening and for your time!


Launch of Eastern Ontario's WEKH Lightning Talk Speakers

It was great to have the opportunity to speak at this event and represent Impact Academy as one of three 2018 Alumni giving a talk that night.

Other Lightning Talk Speakers included:

  • Quayce Thomas, Founder of Timsle, Inc.
  • Jace Meyer, Lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Shopify
  • Nickie Shobeiry, Creative Content Director at Creatorland
  • Helen Hirsh Spence, Founder and CEO of Top Sixty Over Sixty

About the WEKH and Carleton University’s Regional Hub in Eastern Ontario

Unfortunately, I missed the earlier address from the Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion–as I had to do daycare pick up, pack the dinner picnic and bring the kids downtown to sign them in at the pop-up childcare–but the event stakeholders have published some recaps, including quotes from her speech.

I managed to sneak into the room during the panel session but as the venue was packed, I didn’t get to hear much of their points. Panelists included:

  • Wendy Cukier, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, Director of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University
  • Tracey Clark, President & CEO of Bridgehead Coffee
  • Sharon Nyangweso, Communications & Gender Impact Consultant
  • Melissa Cook, Program Manager at PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise

You can read about the WEKH and the launch event at these links:

The WEKH is a federal government-supported national network and accessible digital platform for sharing research, resources and best practices aimed at increasing female entrepreneurs in Canada.

Led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, in collaboration with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Ted Rogers School of Management, WEKH is developing a platform to build a more inclusive innovation ecosystem.

Launch of Eastern Ontario's Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)
WEKH Panel Event at Impact Hub Ottawa
Launch of Eastern Ontario's Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)
WEKH Group Workshop at Impact Hub Ottawa

JOIN the Babies, Business + Breakfast community!

I’m focused on providing parent-friendly professional development, through an online newsletter and face-to-face event series, designed to start conversations, share ideas and create a sense of community.

Learn more about Babies, Business + Breakfast™.

Flexible + Remote Work Resources For You:

FREE Digital Resources, Templates + Guides

• Template – Remote Work (With Kids) Time Blocking Made Easy [LEARN MORE]
• Guide – Babies + Business Mini Guide To Navigating The Corporate Jungle (With Kids) [LEARN MORE]

You can also follow my parenthood + professional development adventures on Instagram and via my previous blog posts:

Published by Amy Maureen Lynch

Over the past decade, Amy Maureen Lynch has negotiated remote work arrangements, freelance client work and validated business ideas, in between living and working in Canada, Europe and Australia (and having three kids). She writes about travel, international family life, creativity and flexible work on her blog, where you can read about her experiences bringing her children into business settings and access flexible and remote work resources to help you navigate the future of work: She produces and hosts the Mixing Babies And Business™ Podcast, parent-friendly professional development events, digital resources and advises others on creating inclusive and flexible work solutions at: Amy’s first book, Startup Blogging: Validate A Business Idea and Build Your Audience, is based on her journey as a blogger, writer, founder and parent to date.

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