pro parent panel: Our top takeaways

Thursday, 20th June 2024

pro-manchester was proud to host a lively panel discussion on the experiences of non-birthing parents on 12th June.

Our panel was chaired by Joanne Grobbelaar, strategic business consultant and coach. She was joined by Lee Chambers, Colette Morgan-Ford, Dr Carl Austin-Behan and George Crawshaw. You can find out more about our inspirational panellists here.

Each shared their own unique perspective on the challenges of balancing parenthood with a busy career and shared their thoughts on creating more inclusive working environments.

While the event was full of inspiring stories and insights, we have gathered a few top takeaways below.

  • The importance of treating people as people and understanding their stories – whether a parent or not, everyone has things going on in their own lives and boundaries should be respected.
  • When it comes to juggling family, career and your own wellbeing, it’s important not to see them in silos – these factors are all hugely interconnected and need to be treated as such.
  • Things will only change if we speak up and change them. Sometimes it’s exhausting to have to be the person to do that and it takes a lot of bravery.
  • Having the right policies in place is crucial for ensuring people feel their experiences are seen and validated.
  • Communication is the key to mastering the juggle. It’s only through trust and transparency that we can build positive working relationships with an employee/employer.
  • Organisations often have a very traditional idea of what parenting is.
  • The working week was established to fit in with times when the male body is most productive, and it hasn’t evolved to fit the changing demands of modern life.
  • Community is so important when it comes to parenting and working. Whether that’s having someone to call who’s been there before, or people who can help with childcare when you’re in a fix, we all need a support system.
  • Only 70 companies in the UK offer the same level of enhanced paid parental leave for men as they do for women.
  • The cost of retention vs recruitment – employees remember how they were made to feel when they return from maternity leave. Normally small adjustments can’t make a huge difference.
  • We spend 70 per cent of the time we have with our children before they reach 12 years old, so getting the work life balance right is crucial.
  • Often the best laid plans can be disrupted, and what’s important is how we deal with the cards we’ve been dealt and try and take a positive approach.
  • Everyone can play their part in making change happen by parenting loudly and leading by example.

Overall, the panellists agreed that balancing parenting with a career can never be a one-size fits all approach. The stories they shared about how they adapted to the changes and challenges were truly inspiring and we’d like to thank them all enormously for taking part in our discussion.

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events from the Pro Parent committee and if you’d like to find out more about getting involved, please reach out to the pro-manchester team.