When we heard Avanti was going to be recognized as a 2021 Best Workplace for Women, we were naturally excited for the recognition. Avanti is a great place to work for all genders, but what makes it so special for women? Instead of writing some PR fluff, I thought I’d write a truthful piece on what makes Avanti a great experience for me and other women in the organization.
A day in the life
My day starts around 6:30 am. My husband and I have worked out a plan where he walks our 6-year-old daughter to school every day, so I get her ready. Once he shuttles her off to class, I get prepared for my workday.
My first daily meeting starts at 8:30 am. By then, I’ve had a chance to have a coffee, get dressed, and go through my emails. Sometimes I’m ahead of the game and have already had a few conversations, and other times I’m just hopping online right at meeting time.
From 8:15 to 2:15 pm, I’m solely focused on my work. I sometimes have the occasional personal or family appointment, but for the most part, I’m working. Avanti is fine with whatever appointments we have during our workdays. There’s an expressed trust between Avanti employees and the company. If we’re getting our work done and attending our meetings, we can adjust our hours to accommodate our lives. In fact, we’re encouraged to put ourselves and our families first.
At 2:15, I pick up my daughter and stay with her as she plays with her school friends outside for a half hour. This is her only social time these days and it’s important to all of us that she gets it. I’m typically back in my seat at 3 and work until 4:45.
This schedule is of course the result of a global pandemic, but I don’t hate it. I actually like it. I don’t miss my child being in daycare until 5:30, I don’t miss commuting, or paying $12 for lunch every day. Working from home can be an ideal situation for young families and Avanti recognizes that a distributed work model has made work/life balance easier for some team members. When things get “back to normal” it will be up to each team member to decide if they want to continue to work from home, come in a few times per week, or every day. It’s this empowered, people-first kind of mentality that makes Avanti a great place to work.
You gotta have flex
I recently read this great quote from gender equality expert, Michelle Penelope King:
“Workplaces want men and women to work as though they don’t have children. However, society requires that working mothers raise children as though they never work.”
When I asked Avanti’s Senior Manager of Product, Allison Swelin, what makes Avanti a great place to work, she spoke about how Avanti’s workplace flexibility gives her the confidence she needs to integrate her career while raising a young family. “Avanti has been consistent in supporting the flexibility that I need in order to thrive with a young family. If I can't make a meeting or if I ask to move things around due to something going on, I never feel any kind of pressure or shame as a result.”
I feel the same way as Allison, that absence of guilt or feeling of letting people down doesn’t haunt me like it has at other organizations I’ve worked at. Looking back, I was never letting anyone down, but I was made to feel as though I was. Like being a parent was a complication or obstacle.
Avanti’s People Team recently announced a new (and frankly, amazing) Parental Leave Program. Throughout the presentation, parents were making jokes about having more kids and Moms-to-be were excited and happy, which is exactly how you should feel when starting or having a family. You shouldn’t be worried that you won’t have a job when you return, or that you’ll have to prove yourself all over again. That’s not how equality works.
What glass ceiling?
Of course, being a great place to work for women isn’t only about raising a family. Knowing your company respects women, values our contributions, and features women prominently on the leadership team is just as important.
Talking to Avanti newcomer and Manager, Product Marketing, Julie Kerr, she mentioned representation at Avanti. “For me, it’s about seeing women in senior leadership positions, and as an aspiring leader, I can see where my career can go. I’ve worked in places where the C-suite is all males, or where I’ve been the only female on a team of 20. At Avanti, we have a culture of inclusion and respect regardless of gender or your role within the company. It’s that compassion and empathy towards every single member of the team that makes you feel comfortable sharing ideas and speaking up.”
That sentiment is shared by Lisa, Avanti’s Team Lead, Implementation Consultants. “I’m so proud to work with such amazing and fearless female leaders at Avanti. All the women I work with want to see each other succeed. We all set the bar high and go the extra mile to help each other achieve our goals. I’m grateful to be part of this team.”
I’m grateful too. In my role as a Content Manager, it’s my job to talk about Avanti, but I wasn’t asked to write this post. I wanted to. I want other women to read this and be encouraged to explore jobs with organizations that value women – companies that take the time to understand why representation and equality matters.
I recognize that sometimes we don’t have much of a choice in where we work, sometimes it’s necessary to just get a job. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep looking and networking with companies that you want to be a part of, even if it takes longer to get there, the respect is worth the effort.