As we close out 2022, I’m pausing this week to reflect back on my experience with Mindful Return this past year. Mindful Return, the “business baby” I birthed 8 ½ years ago is behaving, I think, in a remarkably age-appropriate way.
We’ve moved past infancy and the wobbly toddler years. Now we’re in a stage in which we can speak in complete sentences, add, subtract, multiply, and divide, expand our friend groups, and develop patience for things that don’t always go our way the first time.
To be raising a company, alongside my two human boys, has brought me an immense amount of joy. And I am earnest in telling you that, just as with my kiddos, whatever developmental stage I’m currently in with Mindful Return is, in fact, my favorite.
As you may recall, I left my role as a Partner in BigLaw over the summer of 2021. Thus, 2022 was my first full calendar year not being employed by someone else. This past year, I devoted about 85% of my professional work time to Mindful Return, and about 15% to my legal practice. (Yes, my own law firm has now become, more or less, my “side gig.”) I don’t regret the transition for a heartbeat.
With more time, energy, and joy to spend supporting working parents, I’m excited to report that Mindful Return has grown by leaps and bounds this past year. Like a child whose growth we can’t see day-to-day, but notice abruptly when the top of their head suddenly reaches our chin, Mindful Return’s blossoming often slips by me, unnoticed.
Intentional end-of-year pauses are, therefore, really important to me for taking stock of where we are, and where we’re going as a company.
Mindful Return’s 2022 Year in Review
Here are a few of the things I’m celebrating about Mindful Return on this last day of 2022. This year, we:
- Led 28 cohorts of both new and “experienced” working parents through our Mindful Return signature 4-week programs;
- Grew our own internal team to 20 amazing and inspiring working parent leaders;
- Partnered with 94 employers to support their working parent talent;
- Launched 4 brand new programs – our South Africa Chapter, Spanish Language Chapter, and Portuguese Language Chapter for new parents returning to work after parental leave, as well as our Mindful Return 201 Program (for experienced parents looking for better work-life integration);
- Interviewed 10 authors for our Mindful Return Book Talk series (which is now in its 2nd season!). Want to catch up on those you missed? You can access all of the replay recordings here – just scroll down to the second half of the page);
- Published 52 weekly Saturday Secrets Newsletters (haven’t missed a week since we started back in 2015!);
- Led 22 Mindful Return community calls for our program alumni, to offer ongoing support at both US and UK-friendly times of day;
- Hosted 2 Mindful Return Fair Play retreats, one online and one in person;
- Recorded 7 new episodes of the Parents at Work Podcast, with my hubby, Jason Levin, in which we interviewed, diversity and inclusion professionals, leaders in executive search, and experts in the household division of labor; and
- Appeared as a guest on 20+ amazing working parent, HR, and leadership-related podcasts.
Behind the scenes – i.e. all the stuff you can’t see – we also did some serious operational work to accommodate our team’s growth. This included putting good financial systems into place, getting our intellectual property house in order, and onboarding a CRM. This not-so-sexy stuff actually makes a huge difference in helping everything run smoothly in Mindful Return land.
With Gratitude for Each of You
This blog, the newsletter, our courses…none of it would exist (or matter) without the amazing working parent community of readers, employers, and allies who cheer us on every day. You share your concerns with us. Ask for help. And offer words of solidarity and wisdom to other working parents in our communities. You are the reason we are here.
In these final hours of 2022, may you reflect on your own joys and successes from this past year. And may you look to 2023 with hope, health, and a sense of awe at the beauty to be found both in parenting and in work.
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave