#WMNWORK Recap: Tips for Women in the Workplace

Zipwhip and The Riveter joined forces on May 16 to launch #WMNWORK, a campaign to support the next generation of women in business through real-time advice via text message and a live panel event.

We took the idea of The Riveter’s monthly office hours and extend it beyond the walls of their coworking space, giving the public an opportunity to participate. Whether interested in pivoting a career path, starting a business from the ground up or navigating the ins and outs of a current workplace, women and their colleagues were encouraged to text in their questions to receive insights and practical advice from Seattle entrepreneurs and executives that have encountered many of the same challenges and opportunities.

Our experts included Nancy McSharry Jensen, CEO and co-founder of The Swing Shift; Karen Manuel, director of business operations at Apprenti; John Zagula, founder and managing director of Ignition; and Kirsten Spoljaric, SVP of People at Zipwhip. They tackled over three dozen questions ranging from finding funding (expert tip: don’t rely just on internet tools) to whether you need to let a future employer know you’re pregnant (expert tip: you don’t have to disclose it until you get the offer).

Apprenti's Karen Manuel.

Later that evening, a group of the Pacific Northwest’s leading female executives, including Spoljaric, Amy Nelson, founder of The Riveter and Merrie Williamson, vice president at Microsoft, all shared entertaining and sobering anecdotes on the upside of motherhood in the workplace, ways women can speak up in meetings, how to decline the “office housework” and more.

Williamson highlighted that she would like to see the culture around maternity leave change. Instead of worrying about taking time off, she hopes women can experience an environment where they can unapologetically take the space they need. She noted that in other situations where employees have to take leave, such as surgery, they’re not treated as “pests”; we give them the time they need to come back healthy and ready to work. Williamson added that women should have the same opportunity to heal and return to work, ready to “kick ass.”

Moderator and Panelists at Zipwhip and The Riveter's WMNWORK panel.

On joys of motherhood in the workplace, Nelson shared that she’s learned new skills after becoming a mother.  She’s become super-efficient at work, because it’s important for her to leave on time to be with her kids. And Nelson is a better communicator thanks to hours of practice spent negotiating with her three-year-old daughter – clear and simple communication has proven fundamental for both coworkers and children.

As for Spoljaric, she noted one way men in particular can help women be more visible in meetings: ask them if they have thoughts or ideas to contribute. Doing so can create a safe space for women to share feedback and opinions.

Zipwhip's Kirsten Spoljaric

Thanks to everyone who texted in questions or came out to the panel! Watch the full video of the panel of The Riveter’s Facebook page.

The #WMNWORK campaign partnership also includes a first-of-its-kind program for Zipwhip employees, which enables Zipwhip team members to access The Riveter’s shared coworking spaces, networking events and a unique on-site learning and development program. This custom programming further establishes Zipwhip’s reputation as a progressive and inclusive employer, continuing to identify valuable team-building programming. Check out our current job openings and come join us!

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