January 28, 2019

By Kay Knox

Baby Jeremy joins the WithinReach team (and everyone wins!)

Chris working with her son, Jeremy, by her side

In my last blog post, I wrote about how 30 years of women in leadership has benefited WithinReach’s work on behalf of WA families.  In fact, there are plenty of data points that reinforce the unique and powerful leadership qualities women bring to the workforce — things like increased collaboration and inclusiveness, greater strategic and entrepreneurial thinking, and advanced learning in the face of adversity.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that women bring these unique and powerful skills to the workforce, today’s workplace still does not encourage or support women in their quest to bring their best leadership forward, in balance with building healthy, thriving families.

One of my favorite LinkedIn influencers, Melinda Gates, wrote an article last year titled:  “We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads.” She notes that though the workplace has definitely changed with our evolving workforce, too many work policies still make it challenging for women, causing many to “find themselves straining to balance their jobs and their families, and life both at home and at work suffers as a result.”  Everyone loses out — companies are less effective and families are less healthy.

WithinReach has always tried to create a work environment that supports women, moms and families.  Whether it’s working a flexible schedule, working remotely from home, providing time and space to pump breastmilk (baby’s best first food!), or bringing kids to work. We try to support women as they build their careers and their families.  This is our mission in action — creating healthy, vibrant communities where all families have the opportunity to thrive.  And, it makes our work better.

This winter we are excited to have baby Jeremy, son of Chris Gray, WithinReach Healthy Connections Coordinator, join his Mom at work. Our Baby at Work policy enables Chris to bring Jeremy to work with her for the first six months of this life. Through this policy, Chris is supported to more easily blend work and home life, as well as, to spend more time with Jeremy early in this life.  It goes without saying that this policy also benefits the rest of our staff — a meeting with sweet, smiley or sleepy baby Jeremy brings joy to the room in a way almost nothing else can!

Beyond WithinReach, there is other exciting news for women and moms in the workforce.  Starting in January 2020, our state’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program will make it possible for workers to be there for family during exciting times like the birth, and during hard times of illness.  This month, we are were excited to join the statewide insurance pool that will fund the leave program for our staff.  We are grateful to all those who helped Washington create this “best-in-the-nation” support for working families, especially our friends at MomsRising, who were a major engine behind this policy success.

Without a doubt, everyone wins – families, businesses, communities – when women are supported in all aspects of their lives.