November 2016 MBA Mama of the Month
As part of an ongoing content partnership with MBA Mama, an online resource for women proving that motherhood can go hand in hand with an MBA, we are pleased to present the November 2016 MBA Mama of the Month, Allison O’Kelly. A Harvard Business School alumna, O’Kelly is founder and CEO of Corps Team / Mom Corps, which she started in 2005 to help Certified Public Accountants like herself find flexible work that fit the needs of their families. In the decade-plus since then, the company has grown to become a leading provider of strategic workforce solutions across a wide range of industries and functions.
The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, MBA Mama.
November 2016 MBA Mama of the Month
Our November 2016 MBA Mama of the Month is Allison O’Kelly, Founder and CEO of Corps Team / Mom Corps, a national leader in strategic workforce solutions for highly skilled, hard to find talent. Allison is a 1999 graduate of Harvard Business School, an experienced Certified Public Accountant and an award-winning entrepreneur. Allison founded Mom Corps in 2005 to help other CPAs find flexible work without sacrificing the needs of their families. Since that time, the business has evolved into Corps Team, a leader in strategic workforce solutions for highly skilled, hard-to-find talent across multiple industries and professional functions.
Allison has been recognized in the news media (TODAY Show, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes) and awarded on a national level (EY Winning Women, Working Mother, Inc. 500, Conference Board). Before founding Mom Corps, Allison was in a fast track management program at Toys “R” Us, where she had various roles including launching the original Babiesrus.com site and running an $11 million Toys “R” Us Store. Prior to that, she began her career in public accounting at KPMG.
Allison is a mom to three boys, a contributor to the Huffington Post and can be found @allisonokelly on Twitter.
MBA Mama Q&A with Allison O’Kelly
What inspired you to choose your line of work? I needed flexibility after having my first son. I started with contract accounting work and realized I wanted to help other working moms achieve the same level of flexibility.
How has your company evolved since the early days? In many ways we are the same and in many ways different. We still all work from home and focus on helping others find careers that work both professionally and personally. That said, we are more formalized with our process and systems.
We also have realized that flexibility means so many things to different people, so we still help working moms find part time and seasonal work, but we spend just as much of our efforts matching companies with full time contract and direct hire professionals as well.
Why did you make the strategic decision to build Mom Corps as a franchise model? I saw it as a way to grow the business without taking outside funding. I feared that outside funding would change the culture of flexibility. However, we are not selling franchises at this time. We have a great group of franchise partners and also staff from our corporate office. For now, this is working for us.
How can women in the MBA Mama community engage with your company to further their career goals while also prioritizing family life? We post jobs almost daily at www.corpsteam.com. The best way is to just apply! We also have some great webinars and tools on the website.
What has been the most challenging aspect of integrating work and family life? How have you overcome that? Honestly it’s been great. Having my own business and working from home have provided me the flexibility to integrate fairly well most of the time!
What childcare resources do you personally utilize? I have had a full-time au pair or nanny since I began the business.
How did your time at HBS shape your leadership style? It helped me to focus on my strengths and bring in other experts for areas. I don’t try to do it all!
What are you passionate about outside of, or at, work? I have been involved in many networking groups, planning committees and boards. However, at this point, my major focus outside of work is on my kids! I have three boys 13, 11 and 5 and they keep me pretty busy! I’ve learned a lot about swimming, track and video games!
In the next five years, how do you hope corporate culture will change towards women and/ or women with families? I think we’ve come a long way already. In order to be truly “friendly” to women with families, flexibility needs to become the norm for men and women. I’d like to see less face time and more results-based evaluation.
How do you hope the working world will look for your children? I have boys, so in some ways, it’s easier for them. I do hope though that they will not feel the burden of financial pressure for their families. Flexibility for all will allow for more of a balance of power at home which will benefit men and women alike.
Parting words or advice for current and future MBA Mamas? Getting back in is hard. Stay in the workforce even if it is not traditional. Being an entrepreneur provides the ultimate in flexibility. Give it a try!