Hey Sarah - tell us a bit about yourself: What do you do, how old are your children and what happens with your kids when you are at work?
I am Sarah Coles-Porter, Founder and CEO of Inspired Media Group, a global media and Information services business. I’ve spent 22 years in a male dominated industry and held positions in both start-ups and large corporates where I was frequently the only female board director (and person with children)! My children are 4, 8 and 11. Having used every form of childcare over the last 11 yrs they are finally all in full time education with a combo of after school nanny, clubs etc etc
1. ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE HOW BEING A WOMO MAKES YOU FEEL?
2. WHAT’S THE FUNNIEST EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE HAD JUGGLING KIDS AND WORK?
My childcare fell through last minute and I had to attend an event in Barcelona so I took my 5 month old baby with me. Baby Bjorn carrier and breastfeeding in a large scale tech conference is an enlightening experience.
3. WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD OFFER ANOTHER WOMO?
I have a few…..
- Don’t scrimp on first class childcare, go for the absolute best you can afford – it will save you later.
- Don’t judge yourself and turn a blind eye to anyone who judges you.
- Don’t lose your identity as an individual. Yes, you’re a mum but you are also still you, your personal time to do whatever retains your identity and self is sacred and essential– it's not selfish.
4. WHAT’S THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SLEEP YOU’VE GONE TO WORK ON AND HOW DID YOU COPE?
Sleep? Sleep is so overrated – we are Womo’s! #caffeine
5. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMO?
That time is precious and I am now ruthless with what I give my attention to and how I plan my days. It’s far better to read to or play with your babies after a long day as oppose to tackling the washing basket or doing housework or trivial stuff. Focus your time on the essential. Everything else can wait.
6. IF YOU HAD A WOMO ANTHEM OR MANTRA, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“Assume the power position and go conquer”. Power structures that exist in modern day society are outdated, there should be no boundaries or glass ceilings for WoMo’s, no unjustified unequal pay, no discrimination against anyone or anything that isn’t white, middle aged and male. It’s time for change: respect, empowerment and equality. I will accept nothing less.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE TO COMBAT WOMO GUILT THE BEST?
Sunday lunch with the family all together, making time without fail for gym, swim, sauna, steam; and of course: wine, wine, wine.
8. WOULD YOU RATHER BE DEALING WITH A TANTRUM OR PRESENTING IN A BOARD MEETING?
Board meeting. Although tantrums occur there too.
9. IF YOU ASKED YOUR CHILD / CHILDREN WHAT YOUR JOB IS, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY (EXACT QUOTATION IF POSSIBLE)?
Just asked them;
4 yr old: You are a business worker on your telephone and you’re a doctor. (I’m not!!)
8 yr old: You’re a great mum and you basically do like, er, working things in London.
11 yr old: A business woman and go to lots of countries making events.
10. WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN BEFORE YOU BECAME A WOMO?
Just how bloody awesome a lie in really is. That finishing dinner in a restaurant or reading a book uninterrupted is a downright luxury.
11. TO DATE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST WOMO ACHIEVEMENT?
I created my first business after being made redundant when pregnant with my first child and with a gigantic mortgage to pay. I took a stand at an exhibition (blagged for free off an ex colleague) won my first big contract for the London 2012 games and decided to employ other WoMo’s on flexi, homeworking contracts. This grew to a network of over 30 employees who were raising young families whilst working part time with my business – something they couldn’t have done elsewhere. Inspired Media still offers some of the best pro-parent and WoMo flexi working opportunities I have seen with mums being able to work as little as a few hours a week from home. I am proud to be able to create genuinely awesome working opportunities for mums who don’t want to compromise family time on rigid employment contracts and defined office hours.
12. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT WORKING MOTHERS?
That WoMos and dare I say it WoFos deserve 100% admiration and respect. My daughters and my son equally have the same opportunities and that they should never tolerate anyone that discriminates based on gender or for being a parent. I hope that by the time they are out in the working world the current gender biased inequality ‘madness’ that exists in hierarchal society and work structures has been obliterated, blown to smithereens and a thing of the past. And of course, and that their mummy helped to make that happen with an army of WoMo’s beside her.
Big thanks to Sarah - our featured WoMo, and thanks to author Clare Bennett for providing our 12 "Meet the WoMos" interview questions.