After 20 years building my career in the City, I returned from 8 months’ maternity leave to a job share at HSBC, where my colleague and I were responsible for Communications to the Investment Bank, globally. We reported to an HSBC Board director, handled crises and all sorts of high-profile Corporate Communications. I did the job share for a year, and after 5 years at HSBC started to think about where I’d go next with my career. I had a 12 month old baby and was clear that I wanted to keep working but would need some kind of flexibility for the next 5-10 years. Despite my Oxford degree, 20 years’ in large corporates, and Board-level experience, I was unable to find anything at my level that offered any flexibility. So I left HSBC and set up a recruitment consultancy that specialises in helping working mothers stay in the careers they have worked so hard to build. We do this by talking to the client up front about flexibility and opening the door for our candidates so that from the first interview they can raise this subject. We have now been in business for 15 months and our clients include, HSBC, Lloyd’s of London, Nestle, KPMG, Arup, the Civil Service and SMEs and agencies.

Because we are inundated with more candidates than clients, I have also recently set up a Facebook Group and accompanying blog called Careering Into Motherhood. This is not for profit. The group has nearly 900 members in 4 weeks, and we are sharing support and advice on how women can go out and find flexible work for themselves. Start ups are invited to post flexible job opportunities for free on the group and I share knowledge about CV writing, using LinkedIn, how to ask for flexible work, what kind of flexible work exists and so on. The idea is to provide the tools, advice and support to keep more women in meaningful work after maternity leave.