The cavnessHR Podcast – A talk with Reena Gupta of Mom Relaunch
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Social Media links for Reena!!
Mom Relaunch LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/momrelaunch/
Mom Relaunch FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/momrelaunch/
Mom Relaunch Twitter: https://twitter.com/momrelaunch
Mom Relaunch Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/momrelaunch/
If you are a company who is a customer of salesforce.com and if you're
looking for getting some additional help from us. Or maybe hire some of our
moms. We can give you some exceptional services and of course excellent
rates. Call Jason we'll give you back further discount, how about that?
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I'm your host Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Reena Gupta. Reena, are you ready to be great today?
Reena: Absolutely. Can't wait for it.
Jason: Reena, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. Interestingly, dove into entrepreneurship when most women take a career break. After her first child was born, her first foray into entrepreneurship started with a staffing company, Avankia, Following, which she established a technology company, TargetRecruit. At TargetRecruit she achieved many milestones in Salesforce ecosystem, including being the first to be incubated by Salesforce and developing the first ATS and WMS on the Salesforce platform. She successfully exited from TargetRecruit early in 2018. As a leader in the technology SMB space, her passion has always been to give back to community. Recognizing the gap in job recruiting for stay at home moms. She started Mom Relaunch, an organization that empowers women on a current break to get back into the work force, with a focus on IT and HR. She finds fulfillment in transforming the lives of women and enabling them to be financially independent. An active advocate and spokesperson on entrepreneurship. She mentors and nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Reena also leads a Salesforce women in tech users group with the aim of fostering a network of like minded women to learn and exchange ideas.
Jason: Reena has been featured in CRN 2016 Women of the Channel, in Entrepreneur Magazine, Power 50 Solution Providers, and much more. She is a regular speaker at various Women in STEM conferences, was one of three finalists in Dream Pitch, a Salesforce event. Mom Relaunch was also shortlisted as one of the top ten companies for the startup pitch contest at Grace Hopper competition September 2018. For Reena, success is beyond setting up a profitable business. It is being able to give back to the community and to do her bit for women who need support. She plans to continue supporting and mentoring women who want to rejoin the workforce, or who are seeking to embark on their entrepreneurship journey. Acting as a voice of evangelism for these women. Reena, thanks for being here today, and quick question, you do all that and plus you're a mom too? That's pretty impressive because both are full time jobs.
Jason: So Reena, what are you focused on right now?
Reena: So the latest thing that I am doing is Mom Relaunch, for last I would say 6 to 8 months, that has been my focus. Ever since I exited my previous company TargetRecruit.
Jason: So Reena, I know you focus on moms, but I just want to talk about something different a little bit. About a month ago we actually talked about this topic too. So military spouses, people don't realize that military spouses actually have the highest unemployment demographic, because most spouses have college degrees. But because the husband moves around so much. Nobody really wants to hire them. How do we solve this?
Reena: One of the first hires for Mom Relaunch, I wouldn't say first, but it was most one of our client where the person had a military background. She was not only a military spouse but she was in the military for some time. But the thing that ... the industry that we are in, which we are in IT and little bit on HR earlier when we started. Most of the work can be done remotely. When the work can be done remotely, it just doesn't matter where you are located. With the latest technologies and the latest adoption of telecommute work. It has become easier for us to go and hire mom talent, train them and nurture them and they can still have a flexible and remote work schedule. So that's the right approach in my mind to address this concern. Of course, if you ask women and mom to leave their job, they will do in a heartbeat when their family is relocated. But in their own heart, they want to continue their own career. We are able to just bring together this gap, or bridge together this gap, by asking clients to give us a remote and flexible work schedule.
Jason: So Reena, the gap, you just said that word, so I know a lot of people that have a resume gap. Three, four years, or whatever the case may be, and so a lot of recruiters would be like, "Well you have this gap, what do you do?" To me it is like, well they're raising a family, they're doing something else, I mean does it really matter? How do we get recruiters to change their mindset on this and to stop seeing that as a negative so much?
Reena: I will be very honest with you it is considered a negative thing when we go back. However, the most important thing is not educating the recruiters. It is educating the moms themselves because they are not just sitting at home. Look at them, they are volunteering, they are doing all those things. They are learning the skills during that parenthood and they are not putting it as a transferrable skills in their job hunt. So, when we are talking to these women and they come back and say, "Oh, I have not done anything." Then I say, "Where do you spend your time?" "Oh, I have been volunteering and doing the project management..." and doing this. All those stuff that they do at their schools and all and they just don't value that time as something that they can use for that. That's the key. If moms are confident enough to talk about those skills, they will convince the recruiters. They will convince the clients during the interview process that while I was not in a 9-5 job or doing 40 hours a week job. I was still learning skills that I can use during my new job. It is a two-way education.
Jason: So when you think about it, to me, moms can put on their resume that they were a CEO of their family for that time period. Because basically, they are the CEO's of the family.
Reena: Absolutely. But the problem is it's not about convincing recruiters, it is convincing mom's themselves first. So that's very interesting when we talk to moms, and we ourselves get surprised just like, "Hey, you have been doing this, you have learned this skill, why don't you do this. Now how will you transfer those skills?"
Jason: You're saying that it is more of education on moms part then, that's a good point, I never thought about that, but you're absolutely correct.
Reena: See, whenever somebody is looking for a job or doing something, it's a sales job. A salesperson can do better sales if they are themselves convinced of their product. Right?
Jason: Yes, very true.
Reena: So, it's the other way around. Why do we need to start convincing the whole world? First convince ourselves, be confident, and once you are confident, the world will follow you. That's the thing that we are trying to teach our moms.
Jason: Reena, what is your definition of a mom?
Reena: Well, the definition of a mom is somebody who is taking care of the people, and I, the reason I say mom because sometimes the definition of mom expands in our world as like you are taking a career break. Not only because of your kids, but maybe your parents. Maybe somebody you care for, right? Or for some other reasons. But in this context is a mom, a bigger definition of a mom is somebody who's taking care of someone beyond herself. So just whether it is kids and all. To some extent, somebody who is putting others priority above herself. It's a very broad definition. It's not just "Oh, I'm a mom of two kids." It is like you're a mom of two kids, that's great. But are you doing your responsibility? Are you taking care of your dependents? Are you taking care of the fact that your kid has to be fed on time, and this and that, and everything. So taking the responsibility, making sure that ... or just in nature as a caretaker, we just put ourselves as a back burner. Mom does all that. They are not only just cooking and cleaning, they're prioritizing in their head saying that, "Oh, my child has to be fed before I can work on my own job." So that's the definition and the person who does all those things whether it is a mom or somebody that's taking care of because of the family situation. That's a very important aspect. It's in the mindset of a lady who's doing all these things.
Jason: I think as individuals, a lot of us forget what moms really do on a daily basis. Because most of us just take for granted mom's doing this, mom's doing her thing and we don't realize everything that mom's doing for all our families everywhere.
Reena: Absolutely. I mean again, the reason they take for granted again, is the fact that we ourselves go back and say "We'll do it, we don't mind doing it." All that, so we ourselves don't keep on saying, "Hey I'm doing this for you." It's there, I'm here, I'll do it for you first, and then I'll think about myself.
Jason: Reena, how does the Mom Relaunch process work. Does a mom come to you and apply for a job? Do companies come to you? How does that process work?
Reena: We call it a four-step process and the first step is where moms can reach to us. Then they reach to us, either through we are doing some info sessions, webinars, social media. They go and register on our website. From that, we send them a link to register for what we call as the career assessment. Where we have a small group anywhere from one to six people joining together as a group learning from each other. When I'm telling something to a mom, maybe someone else can take from it so that we call as a career assessment. In that we talk about what your past experiences were, what are you planning to do. Then what is your action items to reach from where you are to your goal. We count our vote and from the career assessment, the outcome of that is a career path. Second step is they get into the training program. Our system provides training programs, but we partner with our training partners. We have partners who teach soft skills. We have partners who teach hard skills. We have partners who teach things like how to interview, how to do those things in terms of broad spectrum of work-related skills. We bring them and then from the training if there is a path to get certified, they get certified.
Reena: Then the third step in our process we call it as a launch pad. Now the purpose of the launch pad is to we give them volunteer experience to work on real-time projects, maybe some nonprofit projects, maybe some other things. A simulated environment where they fill out their time sheets, they record and they do all things as of work. That is the key I call it as the unique source for our program. Because that's where they fill in their career gap. When you are having a resume and you say you have certified, but what about your work experience? They say, "I have shown another three to six months of work experience in our launch pad." That changes the game for them. The fourth step is to find them projects or to find them jobs, either permanent or consultant. Or we take on projects to execute in house. So that's the four-step process for our moms.
Jason: Do you help moms across the United States, and how do moms find out about you?
Reena: When we first started, we wanted to be global. But then we realized we have to take a market, take a specific skill and idea and make sure we do everything correct, and then start replicating. So, we started to be global, now we are pretty much local in the Bay Area to start with. That has been my background. Unlike other companies, where we want to start small and all, we had a big vision. We still have that vision. But we realize that if we put everything together it will be hard to just manage it. So, we narrowed it down to this here and we just want to focus on one area, one skill, and then expand.
Jason: Reena, you were at TargetRecruit for quite a while. What made you start another company? What made you do that?
Reena: It was not only TargetRecruit, but I had another company before I started called Avankia, which is still there. I call myself as a serial entrepreneur while I don't think I can just not do anything. In my entire entrepreneurial journey, I have seen in my own companies that women that we have hired and given them a little bit of flexibility, trained them. If they have a family obligation and all those things, they still are so productive. Because they are the ones who just want to get the job done, go back home, be with their family. They are very loyal and again, this is my experience working with my own company. I feel that there's a pattern, and this is what I wanted to do for a long time as a service and expand the model of what we have done in our own company. And that's why I started Mom Relaunch.
Reena: Now, I think I feel I'm pretty successful in my entrepreneurial journey. But the fact that this is my real passion. This is where I want to help women, this is where I want them to be successful. I have a very lofty goal that every woman should be financially independent. That's why I'm here. It is just my passion.
Jason: Reena, so everyone knows that starting a company is not easy for anyone. What additional barriers do females have being entrepreneurs, that men might not know about?
Reena: Yeah, so, if you think about it, the additional barrier for women. Whether it is job searching or being an entrepreneur is the same. Because they have more obligations at home. Even if they have a partner who shared the responsibility. But somehow, it's in our mind and brain we are wired to take on more responsibilities at home. Even if we are not doing it, we are planning it. We are doing it. I've seen and worked with a lot of women it is like my partner works and helps. But I still have to tell him to do that. Right? So that part is like itself, it's like you're not comparing apples to apples. Women are always overloaded with more responsibilities. The fact that I've tried to tell women that if you're owning your own business, you can manage your own time and control the outcome and things at the pace you want. That's how I did it. I was working for a company then when my child was born. I went into an entrepreneurial journey, and I feel that being an entrepreneur is much easier than doing the job for somebody because you are in much control. Of course, it has his own challenges. Didn't mean to say it's very easy. But the fact that I can say I want to grow this percent this year because that's all I can manage. As compared to being forced by somebody to do something that I'm not able to do it, and I'm still struggling to do it. So that part I feel like it's, in my opinion, being an entrepreneur ... even its as small as that. It's something that you can manage. I teach entrepreneurship to kids. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I feel like that's much easier option for women when they are looking for flexible jobs.
Jason: Reena, let's say there's a woman out there and she wants to start a business. What advice should you give this person?
Reena: First thing, she has to know how to do time management. Without time management she will not be able to manage herself, forget about people that she will hire. My second advice for this, she has to learn to prioritize. If she doesn't prioritize, and say, "Oh this time and this time, between this time it's my job," it's my time after this like I'll give you my own example. I've been running these companies, but after three o'clock in the afternoon, I don't work. Of course, everybody check emails and all those things sometimes. Because after three o'clock it's my kids time. I manage that and I prioritize and my kids know before three o'clock no matter unless it's something really big. So prioritization is important because at one point where it's important for you may not be the same prioritization as the other. My most important suggestion would be, you should outsource. Do anything and everything that is only important for you, that only you can do. Otherwise, outsource anything and everything that you don't have to. That's another problem women face. They try to do everything themselves. That's a recipe for failure I would say. If you can't clean, call somebody. If you can't cook, call somebody. You don't have to be doing those things. So outsource everything and anything that you can and just focus on the time. Spend as much time with your kids. But don't spend time every time cooking or cleaning. I would say outsource everything that you can.
Jason: That's truly great advice. Reena, changing the topic now, can you talk about a time you were successful in the past, where you learned from your success and what we can learn.
Reena: I will relate to one specific instance here because every time ... I'll go back to my other company TargetRecruit, okay? So we built a product. It was a software product to manage the hiring and managing the hiring process and all. So we built the product, we were a services company. It turned into a product company. But I didn't feel as successful by selling it the first time. What I felt was when the first client gave me the recurring renewal money, like they bought it the first year and they paid it again next year. I felt like yes, it is a viable product. Similarly, for Mom Relaunch, the mom that we launched, she was on a career break for 9 years. She got hired with one of the really big companies and it was such a big satisfaction that, yes, somebody with that kind of mindset, that kind of career gap, that kind of skills. We had been able to nurture, we had been able to train and they have been able to successfully place her. So that level of success is not only called success, but it is called a career satisfaction.
Jason: Reena, when someone gets hired from Mom Relaunch, are they on your payroll or the other companies payroll?
Reena: Depends if they hire the person directly, they will go in their payroll. If they hire through us as a consulting or staffing thing, they will be on our payroll.
Jason: Okay. So, follow up question: talk about a time that you failed in the past, what you learned from this failure, and what we can learn.
Reena: Mom Relaunch we call year 2018 as the year of experiments. Because I was telling you that we started with global and all those things. We started with very lofty goals and failed at some of the incidences where we felt there was void in the gap. The process was not very smooth. So learning from that, we have experimented. We have failed numerous times in terms of that process. We have brought in people who we thought would be very successful. Several instances last year I have failed continued to learn, we have focused our approach for 2019 as a learning process. We are going to continue on our very focused approach this year. So that's my learning experience from the multiple failures. I can't tell you how many things we have failed there.
Jason: Reena, I understand you have something for our listeners today.
Reena: As I said, we are focused on the Salesforce ecosystem. We are developing and nurturing candidates, moms who are in that skill. If you are a company who is a customer of salesforce.com and if you're looking for getting some additional help from us. Or maybe hire some of our moms. We can give you some exceptional services and of course excellent rates. Call Jason we'll give you back further discount, how about that?
Jason: That'd be great. Reena, can you share your social media links for both yourself and your company so people can reach out to you?
Reena: The social media links. If you can find me on LinkedIn, I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. My website is www.momrelaunch.com. There is a Mom Relaunch page on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, as well. If you go to our website, momrelaunch.com, it has a link to all my social media sites.
Jason: For the listeners, we will have the links to social media and other links on our show notes and you can find our show notes at www.cavnesshrblog.com. We also ask that you subscribe for any of you to the cavnessHR podcast on whatever platform you're listening to it right now.
Jason: Reena, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide us any last minute wisdom or advice on any subject you want to talk about?
Reena: I don't know if it is a wisdom of advice or something here. But if you're a company it's more like a request: please value the talent we are nurturing. Give them an opportunity. If you're a mom, please take this time to rebuild your career because in my opinion. This time is one of the best time in my whole entire career that I have seen. Or in the past, for women to go out, build their career, get out of the regular work at home thing, and make an identity for yourself. And we are there for you.
Jason: Reena, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it and especially thank you for all the things you do for our community. Thank you very much.
Reena: Thank you, Jason.
Jason: And to our listeners, thank you for your time as well, and remember to be great every day.