We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Didrikson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I saw an opportunity to build something that I had wished existed when I returned back to work after parental leave. Women are asked to return to work as early as 10 days after birth due to a lack of support of any sort of federal comprehensive parental leave program in the US. This is such a disservice to parents and their ability to navigate this fragile and what should be an exciting time in their life. The idea that we can do it all personally felt impossible after having our first son, and when I looked for the village of career moms to guide and support me through the transition, there was no one. My first thought was I can’t be the only one going through this, and when I asked more seasoned moms how they navigated this transition, I was met with comments like, ” we just powered through” or “we paused our career until our kids were older.” I really felt like there has to be a better way, and when I didn’t see it, I decided to build it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Learning Motherhood provides working mothers and soon to be moms with research-based classes to ease the transition into motherhood during parental leave and better ensure that working women will thrive when they return to their careers. We also work with employers to build out employee programs that serve as an educational resource to create an opportunity to strengthen company culture, sustain and retain employees while attracting vital talent to an organization. What are you most proud of? Our first programming launch was our working mom series dedicated to supporting women through the transition back to work after parental leave. This program has been so valuable in understanding the needs of what women go through in returning back to work beyond my personal experience. We have had the opportunity to work with women across many different industries, including teachers, attorneys, scientists, sales professionals, and firefighters. We have found that there is a great deal of planning emotionally and logistically left for a new mother just to figure out. The employers expect that working families can do this seamlessly when they are returning to work. Still, the reality is additional support in retaining their employees is crucial. This series has been so rewarding in supporting and empowering mothers in the workplace. I’m incredibly honored to be apart of their journey in this fragile state of motherhood. What are you most excited about? As we look to the future, we have some exciting things coming in 2021 to scale our offerings and expand what is desperately needed for working families. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? Learning Motherhood launched in the fall of 2019, and the adjustment into entrepreneurship has been filled with ups and downs. The in-person series we were offering in Orange County was growing, and we were just beginning to expand into Los Angeles when the pandemic hit. While building a business has not been easy during a pandemic, it is clear that COVID-19 has given real validation of how much working mothers need support. This is why even though pivoting so quickly just nine months into our business was not exactly the plan, the importance of fast-tracking our online program offering seems crucial. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story? Learning Motherhood was created to impact change in the workplace, demonstrate the importance of what women bring to every organization, see that there is a human behind the employee ID number, and lift women up to know that they can be a mother and have a career.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I lived in the South Bay for two years and have such amazing memories of my time there. With money being no object, we would rent a place right on the strand and literally walk to everything for the entire week. Some of my favorite spots to go to were Martha’s 22nd st. Grill for brunch, lunch at the dive bar Shellbacks, and Petros for some Mediterranean food. I definitely enjoy being active, so beyond going for a run on the strand, if there were anything I would actually get in my car to take a friend to, it would be hiking in Palos Verdes and Malibu; you just can’t beat those views and that workout.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to friends, family, colleagues, and especially my husband for championing an idea that gave me the confidence to start Learning Motherhood. Exiting corporate America to build an organization on your own is way more involved than I ever imagined. I would not be where I am today without the countless conversations with others who believe in the vision, who support Learning Motherhood directly and indirectly.
Yelp: Learning Motherhood
Miranda North Photography, Monica Gomez Photography, Luminous Lines Creative.