When looking for a new role, have you ever been told not to mention your personal or family situation to prospective employers? Interviews can be stressful enough, but being a parent can add an additional layer of anxiety – especially for women in traditionally male-dominated industries like tech.
But as Verity Collins has discovered, you can grow your career and family with the right employer.
“It can be scary having a family and wanting a career!” said Verity. “I was looking for a new role with three stepchildren, and with my own on the way. Recruiters advised me to not mention my family, as it would put me at a disadvantage – especially in tech.”
But, after doing some research and securing a role as Growth Specialist for HubSpot, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, she hasn’t looked back.
“It’s been amazing finding somewhere like HubSpot, where I don’t have to hide the fact, I’m both an ambitious employee and a parent. In this role, I’m responsible for identifying, sourcing and closing good-fit businesses for HubSpot’s platform. I get to use my consultative selling skills, and partner with internal and external stakeholders to achieve team goals and work towards HubSpot’s mission of helping millions of organisations succeed.”
If you’re looking to grow your career and family, here are some questions Verity recommends asking yourself about prospective employers – so you can show up as your true, authentic self at work.
Does the organization genuinely value D&I?
Some companies mention diversity and inclusion in an induction slide… then never acknowledge it again! But, in Verity’s opinion, HubSpot’s focus on fostering a positive, diverse culture and employee wellbeing is truly genuine.
HubSpot celebrates employees from diverse backgrounds and gives people the space to live beyond the workplace, to achieve the best, most innovative outcomes.
“I knew I wanted to be part of a company that fostered a range of perspectives. I thought the culture and mission advertised at HubSpot was too good to be true. But the company understands diversity is a big part of its success and is so open in its diversity and inclusion goals.”
Does the organization offer family support and benefits?
“When I told my boss I was pregnant with my first child (and our family’s fourth), I was so afraid because I was only a month into my new role. I was terrified I’d be seen as ‘the new pregnant girl.’ But managements and my team’s reception of the news was overwhelmingly positive. I was given so much room to succeed in my role and take care of my responsibilities as a pregnant mum – to attend appointments and take time off when needed.”
Verity describes HubSpot’s culture as fast-paced and success-oriented, but without sacrificing empathy. And this shines through in many of the experiences she’s had with management and her team.
“My manager congratulated me on my pregnancy and work results simultaneously. I finished on a great month and worked until I was 38 weeks pregnant, so it was quite an achievement for me, personally. And it didn’t go unnoticed.
For Verity, HubSpot’s 16-week paid parental leave has been life-changing.
“It allowed me to spend time with my new baby – time you can never get back if you miss out! This means I don’t feel like I have to rush back to work. Paid parental leave is treated as sacred. It’s truly respected by everyone, and I appreciate that.”
And the evidence is clear: organizations that give people space to reach their goals in both work and personal life achieve the best outcomes.
“My last month of work, before taking parental leave, was one of my most successful yet; I achieved 200% above target. It was also one of the hardest. At 36 weeks pregnant, I found out that my bub would be born with a congenital heart defect. I was really vulnerable with my manager and let her know I was incredibly stressed and would need time away from my desk for additional appointments.
“My manager couldn’t have been more understanding and gave me the space to do what I needed to do. She was also open with me about the hardships she experienced during her own pregnancies. This made me feel extra driven during this time, as I wanted to depart on my leave on a high – and I did! If I had been forced to choose between work and family, I wouldn’t have had the chance to prove I can succeed in both.”
Does the organization value learning and continuous improvement?
It can be tough to grow in cultures where you aren’t allowed to make mistakes. Which is why Verity is grateful HubSpot doesn’t expect people to never make mistakes.
“During my first month here, I was told I wasn’t hired based on what I could produce from day one; but rather what I could achieve over the long-term. I’ve made many mistakes – from product knowledge gaps to awkward customer conversations and tense internal discussions. But throughout it all, management frames these as learning opportunities. You’re never chastised – rather, you’re given meaningful feedback to take forward into the future.”
There are likely so many awesome women out there who don’t know workplace cultures like HubSpot’s exist – Verity certainly didn’t! But the way HubSpot has accommodated her pregnancy and maternity requirements speaks volumes for her and is testament to the culture.
“Be dedicated to what you do. This shouldn’t be at the cost of family, mental health or personal experiences. The more open you are with your manager about what you need to be successful, the better outcomes you’ll be able to achieve. You shouldn’t have to hide what makes you different – that is, being a mother, woman, person of color, or person with a disability. Openness breeds understanding. So bring your full self to work!”