Three's Company

By Kedem, Michelle; Roberts, Michelle | Working Mother, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Three's Company


Kedem, Michelle, Roberts, Michelle, Working Mother


My story: I used to be one of those over-the-top type-? people. You know, the ones who sleep with their cell phones next to their pillow and check office email from home every hour. But a workplace reorganization three years ago, coupled with the birth of my daughter, left me feeling disillusioned. Tired of bellyaching about the ills of big business, my friend Sarah Grayson and I decided to start a company that would help people like us: those who wanted to excel in corporate America but didn't want to surrender their personal lives. All too often, it seemed like it had to be 9-to-s or nothing. We conjured up the idea of starting a recruiting firm that specialized in finding a fit between companies and workers in search of flexible work arrangements.

When Sarah's husband heard of our plan, he put us in touch with his friend Harry Weiner. Previously a search consultant at a major alternative asset recruiting firm, Harry had just launched his own business recruiting mothers for full-time, part-time and project-based work. Because of the similarities between our goals and our backgrounds (I was a senior financial manager at Time Inc.; Sarah was an engagement manager at Katzenbach Partners LLC), the three of us decided to get together.

After some note-taking and brainstorming, we realized we had to extend our focus beyond mothers. They weren't the only people seeking flexible job arrangements, after all. The more research we did, the more we knew we were on to something: Our business could really make a difference. But we had some nagging questions. Could we work together? Would our personalities mesh? Could we trust each other? We needed to get to a point where we felt comfortable with one another and had enough faith to share all of our ideas and concerns.

We decided to accelerate the trustbuilding process by spending large chunks of time together, discussing possible scenarios for the business and addressing the areas we each felt passionate about - including our vision for where we wanted the business to be in ten years. We talked about how and who we would hire and what would make us different from other recruiting firms. We also studied dozens of business partnerships to determine what worked. When it came to creating the legal document, we simply started with a template (there are many online) and spent our legal fees where they were most needed: on customizing it to meet the specifications of our particular business. …

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