Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, is a multi-layered, interactive, and robust collection of first person narratives that provide a deep and personal portrayal of what it takes to significantly participate in the 21st century economy while raising children.
By presenting over thirty candid and compelling interviews with working women, mothers, and fathers, and including embedded interactive widgets, Lean On and Lead addresses the personal, economic, and cultural issues that impact parents. The interactive ebook presents perspectives from women and parents working in a variety of fields, and includes six interviews with fathers. Interviewees include medical and health care professionals, media executives, educators from middle school through college, an attorney, a software CEO, a transit worker, a venture capitalist, engineers, an inventor, women in the biotech industry, a vice president in renewable energy, the managing director of a social venture startup, a union organizer, a campus abstinence advocate, a student/entrepreneur, a U.S. Senator, and other elected officials.
This second update to Lean On and Lead (1.2) introduces our Family-Centered Design℠ framework. This is just what it sounds like -- a conceptual framework for designing as much of our society and economy as possible around the real needs of families such as those whose stories are told in this book. We are working to apply Family-Centered Design thinking to the reshaping of institutions, companies, services, products, infrastructures and education to fit the needs of the family rather than the other way around. Lean On and Lead (1.2) is a crucial, interactive tool that will engage readers in this process.
“I have been very fortunate. I didn’t ask about maternity benefits or part-time work or if any other accommodations might be possible when I first got hired. I was twenty-eight years old and I knew that I wanted to have children in the not-too-distant future, but it wasn’t something that I asked about. I just didn’t really think about child care when I first became a lawyer. Also, at some level, it may have been in the back of my mind that this would not be something that would be very helpful to bring up in a job interview." -- Rebecca, Attorney
“Now that my husband and I have been at Palo Alto Software for over ten years, I credit the geography of where we live and work for supporting the kind of family-friendly work culture that has become very important to us. For example, because we live in a small community, we have no commute issues. Our office is five minutes from our home. If we wanted to bike to work, it would take another one or two minutes. The public school is a twelve-minute drive away, and the swim team meets at the YMCA, which is only a few blocks from school.” -- Sabrina, CEO, Software Company
“For three years, child care expenses had me constantly evaluating why I had even returned to work. Half of the amount I made working part-time as an interpreter and an in-home child education specialist went to child care. And unfortunately, we needed the measly sum that was left over. But I also continued to work because I loved my jobs and I didn’t want to disconnect from work sources while I was waiting for my son to be old enough to attend public school. Now that he is in kindergarten, I am beginning to look at the option of working toward becoming a speech pathologist (finally, at 42!)” -- Karen, Medical Interpreter
Stories are complemented by more than one hundred interactive widgets and links, including slideshows, interactive graphics, charts, video interviews, current economic studies, and information on ongoing legislation.
Follow Shay on Twitter: @LeanOnAndLead
Complellingly Honest and Powerful
Riveting testimonials, intimate interviews that speak to the fragile balance of work and parenting, embedded widgets that reveal a new world of resources, and plentiful research useful to parents and policy-makers—all this and much more appear in Shay Chan Hodges path-breaking iBook, Lean On and Lead.
Her updated version captures 30 first-person narratives: deep portrayals of women and men juggling work and family in the 21st Century economy, with some “just one missed train or illness away from total collapse.” No one reading, watching or listening to this iBook can remain unmoved by tales of living precariously while raising children--even an entrepreneur with onsite child care.
Social supports in the United States are so limited—no legally-mandated access to child care or paid parental leave, no paid sick leave or vacation for too many families—that families live without a supportive infrastructure. With such low numbers of women in public office at all levels of government, is it a surprise that social supports are so meager?
--Louise D. Walsh, Founder and Chair, Berger-Marks Foundation
Changing the Narrative Around Work+Life
Lean On and Lead offers an important look at how women are navigating outmoded work constructs to become leaders in their own lives. Many of the stories Shay Chan Hodges shares are aligned with the stories of the 186 women I interviewed for my book, Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood without Killing Your Career (Pub date: Jan/2017). Both are a must read for women who want to architech full, rich lives that allow them to integrate their personal and professional goals.
A resource every soon to be mom should have on their screens
Through candid personal narratives, Lean On and Lead, both echos and validates the transition that I and many new mothers experience. It highlights what most of us don’t consciously realize, yet experience the minute we become pregnant - the larger structural issues that make new motherhood all the more challenging. Extremely well integrated with data and thoughtful commentary from a public policy perspective. It adds to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, because it got women talking about the nitty gritty reality of trying to deal with the day to day practicalities of work and care taking for children – day cares, nannies, maternity leave, paternity, commuting, sick leave, health complications, flexible hours etc. If you’re thinking of having children, the data also helps shed some light on what to expect from a career perspective. It not only validates on a personal level, it gets you to look at the bigger picture. It’s a book that will bring mothers together and hopefully encourage all of us to lean on each other!