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Parents: the biggest under-utilised pool of talent in today's workforce


Hoxby Partner Louise Webster, Founder of & Author of ‘A New Way for Mothers’ shares her journey and an excerpt from her book.

The untapped talent of parents is something I am deeply passionate about and the impact this has on the well-being of families, society and the economy. I think this significant group within society can truly create a new way of working not only for themselves but for future generations too.

This is not something I would have been aware of before having children, although when I set up my PR agency I set it up with the intention of creating a flexible workplace for myself once I had children. So I guess I was aware of how this maybe couldn’t work within working within an ordinary organization.

What I didn’t realize then was I grew a business based on the old model; I hired staff, worked towards gaining more and more clients and created very little flexibility. When I had my first child I soon realized this wasn’t working for me so I made a huge change, sold the business and moved out of London.

By taking this space, I started to really see what was happening - the talent drifting from the school gates, why this talent no longer fitted into the workplace, the issues for women remaining at senior levels and empowerment of our girls to achieve what they wanted to do.

It was with this, and a deep sense of needing to be part of the change I created in 2012. A place to inspire, engage and connect parents with their skills and talents in the hours available to them.

Mother and Daughter walking

That is exactly what I did for myself. I worked every window I had available to me alongside caring for my two children. It started with a few hours whilst they slept, then moved into longer school days. When I set up the website I really wasn’t sure where it would lead, I just knew every time I worked on it, I experienced something I had never really experienced before from work – it gave me energy and a huge sense of purpose and satisfaction. It lit me up. Within 6 months of launching it I was invited to No 10 Downing Street to share the concept and although there was so little written about this subject or spoken about it at this time, (things have changed now) this opportunity really gave me the inspiration to keep going with it.

So where am I now? Beyondtheschoolrun has grown into a platform empowering mothers through wisdom, connections and opportunities with a popular newsletter, daily motivation, Beyondtheschoolrun TV and events. I was also, to my surprise, approached by a publisher in the USA to write a book. ‘A New Way for Mothers’ is now out and in it, I share all my learnings, tips and the wisdom of many others.

Here is an excerpt from my book and the Chapter ‘ A New Way of Working’:

“We are creating a whole new way of working. For many of us, up until this point, work has always been full time, five days a week. So we need to develop ways to really make this new way work. We need to create routines both flexible and productive, and we also need places to work that will nurture us. Remember that this is a new journey for you and for many others. So keep reviewing, developing, and looking for ways to improve. But the main thing is to stay focused on your purpose and dreams, because each day will make a great difference, and each step will take you closer.”

So when we talk about flexibility I truly think the parent talent has the potential to reshape the way we work forever because their drive to be there for their children is so strong and create positive change. Before I set up Beyondtheschoolrun I couldn’t see any role models working in this way, combining caring and work and dreams, now 6 years later I am seeing them daily in my community of parents, on social media and in the press. This is a huge subject and one that I am deeply proud to be part of.

My plans for Beyondtheschoolrun is to connect all these organisations, individuals, campaigns, opportunities in one go to place. So parents and businesses can find exactly what they need in one place and grow from there. For Beyondtheschoolrun to become the go-to place for parents wanting to take their steps beyond the school run and for businesses who want to connect with this talent.

So if you want to create a new way for yourself and for future generations – join us. Together we can make the greatest difference to our lives and the lives of others.

Mother reading to daughter

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‘A New way for Mothers’ which is available on Amazon.