Hosts Jill Brady and Amelia Lyon, and Boulo’s Founder & CEO discuss challenges working women face on the Make Yourself Podcast. A lively discussion ensues. The hosts relate to Boulo’s mission of helping women remain in and return to the workforce. Personal stories are shared.
Read some of the highlights (edited for brevity) below. Then, be sure to listen to the full podcast here. You’ll hear about Type A personalities, Suits & Suspenders and a meme that says: Society seems to expect us to parent their children like we have nothing else to do, but then work like we don’t have children. You’ll also find out why small and medium-size businesses may have a better chance of winning in the talent game as the hiring market becomes tight again. Finally, there are tips for entrepreneurs, including pointers on how to raise capital.
“Companies have told us: we believe in diversity, we believe in getting women back into the workforce, and we believe in the quality.‘
Gender Disparity for Women in the Workforce
Make Yourself Host (MYH): It seems there has always been gender disparity in the workforce and employment opportunities. The recent pandemic underlines contributors to this phenomenon are still in play, chiefly the increased burden of unpaid care.
A 2020 Women in the Workplace study showed that as many as one in four women are considering leaving the workplace or downshifting their careers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that of the 1.1 million people who exited the workforce in September of 2020, which was when schools were returning, 80% of those people were women. Unaddressed, the situation can undo decades of progress towards gender inclusivity in the workplace.
Today we are welcoming Delphine Carter, Founder & CEO of Boulo Solutions. Boulo helps women return to or stay in the workforce by matching them with flexible job opportunities. Boulo builds a 360° profile for each woman, encouraging employers to get hooked on the person, not the resume. Delphine has over ten years of experience in product development. She raised $500,000 seed stage while working and raising children during this pandemic.
Boulo’s Mission for Women and Work Hits Close to Home
MYH: I was researching your company, and it really hit home for me personally. I was an executive at a bank before I had kids. When I became pregnant with my first child, one of the other female executives, who has much more senior than I was, said “however many kids you want to have is up to you. But, you need to have them as quickly as possible and get it out of the way so that you still have a job to come back to.” So it sounds terrible, but she wasn’t wrong. It was honest and actually, really significant advice. But it is terrible, and it’s terrible that that’s the way we have to think.
The other thing that I was thinking of when I was researching the company is that I had a friend of mine a few years ago who was going through a divorce. She called me in tears asking if I had a job for her. Because, and I quote with her permission, “apparently raising kids for 10 years makes me unqualified to do anything else.” She wasn’t able to find work. And I felt so bad because she was this really dynamic, talented person. She just had this huge gap in her resume that made her basically unmarketable. It was so sad.
And I know that this is a problem so many women are facing. I was so excited to see somebody was out there to address this issue for women who just lack the flexibility in employment to be able to manage all the things that they have to at home and in their career.
So I’m curious, could you tell us about your background, your experience with entrepreneurship, and how Boulo came to be?
Delphine Carter (DC): Those stories actually nail it, but I’ll tell it from my perspective. I have been a product manager for a good bit of my career and working in software. So, building web apps. I’ve always been driven to try and solve a problem. It’s just that somebody else used to pay me to do that! And I’d work with developer teams and have a nice little budget.
So when I built these products, I’d often find myself needing a copywriter to just help me figure out how to get the messaging across. Or, I’d need somebody to help me run a project to launch it. Or any of the little tasks that you need as a microbusiness to get something new off the ground. Well, the resumes that I received from the hiring team looked like the same person over and over again. There was just no variety, and it just never seemed to fit what I wanted.
But on the weekend, I’d be at the soccer fields or the lacrosse field with my kids. And the genius that I’ve been looking for was sitting right next to me. And she was sitting there saying, “Wow, I’m so envious that you get to go to work. I really envy that you can have this career side of yourself, because I can’t find a job to save my life!”
But she had all the qualifications.
Solution to Women’s Non-linear Work Careers
DC: So I started doing research into it. I realized that a lot of these searches, including the AI that is now driving ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and Indeed, do a disservice to anyone who has a nonlinear resume. Nonlinear basically means you’ve done different things, or you’ve taken a gap. You didn’t start off as a marketing assistant and grow to be the head of marketing; you’ve taken different paths.
3 out of 5 women have nonlinear careers. We tend to follow our passions, we tend to follow opportunities, and we don’t just kind of stick with the typical career trajectory.
And so my thought was, what if I could help these women find flexible job opportunities but then also be surfaced? What if I could help make them shine and help your friend, who says she has ten years where people now assumed she was sitting on the couch eating bon-bons? And help them realize that she was doing some really cool stuff, she was just out there doing it for free, or she didn’t even realize that she was building skills in herself along the journey.
On-Ramp or Off-Ramp: Women’s Career Choice
MYH: I ended up being one of those women who left the workforce because I just really didn’t have any other options.
DC: And that’s what makes me so fired up. That we really do feel forced into it. You feel like it’s a choice of on-ramp or off-ramp. You’re either going to kill yourself everywhere on two wheels trying to get everything done that you need to, or you’re going to have to put to sleep a side of you that is significant. And we just shouldn’t have to make those drastic of choices.
And so we thought, let’s create the 360-degree profile to help women return to the workforce. But let’s also solely focus on finding women job opportunities that are flexible.
When we were doing the research, we found women leave work because of lack of flexible job opportunities, lack of career progression, and then lack of career support. So our greater vision focuses on helping with all of these issues.
Value of Moms: Diversity and Quality
DC: The most beautiful thing is that client’s instantly recognized the value of a mom. So my biggest fear when I went into this idea and was testing it, I was wondering: what would (employers) think about moms? The way your friend who just got divorced thinks about herself, or the way she’s received? And it turns out that people, our clients, love moms. They say they’re more efficient; they get more they get so much done in less time. Moms help keep the office flowing and orderly. And so the appetite has been incredible on the corporate side.
We’ve had many companies tell us, we’re willing to let you be our exclusive recruiter. And we don’t work on an exclusive model. But, they said we’re willing to let you do this because we believe in diversity, we believe in getting women back into the workforce, and we believe in the quality.
If you are a woman, mom, or individual that could use flexibility in your professional life, sign up with Boulo today to be matched with flexible job opportunities. Our Boulo team will become your team, your personal network. We will advocate for you!
If you are an employer that values women’s influence in the workplace and diversity and believes in getting women back to and helping them remain in the workforce, partner with Boulo. We quickly deliver high quality candidates who will exceed your expectations.