We’ve heard the stories—tech can be a tough destination for women, and perhaps even more so for mothers. The industry’s reputation is rooted in a culture where ping-pong tables outnumber lactation rooms, and late nights and sacrificing one’s personal life are synonymous with tech success. While this might appeal to some, the FreeWheel story has a very different narrative, where moms aren’t an anomaly at any level of the organization and our culture is built on putting family first.
According to a study by the National Center for Women & Technology (NWWIT), men who are mid-level in their career are, “four times more likely than women to have a partner who assumes the primary responsibility for the household/children.” Working moms are more inclined to have a unique challenge in the workplace: to balance the needs of her family without foregoing the demands of her career (and vice versa). The same report reveals that, in the high tech industry, the attrition rate is more than twice as high for mid-level women, as it is for men (41% vs. 17%). Companies that do not deliberately cultivate a culture incorporating the requirements of working parents, and working mothers in particular, are bleeding valuable talent.
Comcast doesn’t just meet these requirements, but strives to go beyond the essentials by offering a generous maternity leave policy, health benefits, employee support programs, fertility benefits, and even adoption assistance. Moms have a wealth of resources to tap into at the corporate level, and a thriving mom-squad to turn to at the local level for support and guidance. When FreeWheel was founded 11-years ago, “family-first” was a mantra our founders took seriously that has remained a foundational layer of our culture, despite the inevitable growth and evolution of our company.
There’s no better evidence of FreeWheel’s commitment to family than Bring Your Kid to Work Day (BYKTWD), a beloved day in the FreeWheel calendar celebrated annually across our global offices. On April 27th, our New York and Chicago offices hosted 125 children, from a few months old to teenagers, for a day-long event during which the kids were treated to age-appropriate activities to help them gain insight into what their parents do all day long. A favorite among the children was planning and filming their own commercials and seeing them inserted into an actual TV program (on a local computer, not live stream)—a hands-on way to learn about what we do.
Beyond giving our kids insights into our careers, which hopefully will also serve to inform and inspire their own choices in the future, it’s also an opportunity for parents to share a side of themselves that coworkers rarely get to see. A day to blend our work-life and family-life pays dividends that last all year by fostering new and expanded connections between peers. This is truly an all-hands activity with 50 FreeWheelers volunteering their time to plan and execute the day, ensuring both parents and kids left feeling special and appreciated (and more than a little exhausted).
In recent months, I had the fortune to sit down with over 30 women across the FreeWheel footprint to get an in-depth understanding of the experience women have across our departments and borders. The first video in the #FreeWheelWomen series celebrated our talented cast of engineers, product experts, sales leaders, services pros and marketers during Women’s History Month. Our second installment highlights our #MomsInTech – whose candor and heartfelt wisdom lend insight into the balancing act of “work/life chaos, ” as Paige Bilins, SVP, Product Management, puts it.
Wishing all our hard-working super moms a wonderful Mother’s Day! Stay tuned for the third video in this series which spotlights the life and career of Diane Yu, Chief Technology Officer, Comcast Cable Advertising.
Related reading: FreeWheel Women in Tech Video Series: A Culture of Inclusivity