After many years in the corporate world, Geard walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home mum, but it wasn’t until after they birth of her second child that the idea for recruitmymom.co.za hit her.
By this stage, she had started a marketing consultancy business that gave her the flexibility of working from home during her own hours and after engaging with several mothers, she realised there was a definite gap in the market.
“Many mums would tell me that they envied my ability to work flexibly, but opportunities in the corporate space for part-time or flexible full-time positions simply don’t exist,” Geard says.
READ MORE: Being a mother and having a career
“Traditional recruitment agencies often don’t take these women seriously, because recruiting tends to focus on revenue generation and more money can be made through full-time placements than part-time or reduced-hour ones. I decided that I wanted to start something to help mums find meaningful skilled work, without having to apologise for the fact that they want to integrate work and family.”
And so, in 2012, she launched the online platform offering personalised services for permanent, temporary and contracting positions.
Drawing on her consultancy experience, she was able to hone in on a niche market for the mums on her database – small businesses who are undoubtedly in need of high-level skills, but not always on a full-time basis.
It started as a one-woman show, but over the past six years, she grown the business to employ eight full-time workers and built up an impressive database from just 100 mums in its firs month of operation to nearly 50 000 skilled mums today and thousands of registered employers.
She believes that her business can be used as a case study on the efficacy of working remotely or flexible hours, all thanks to advances in technology that is making it easier for people to work from wherever, whenever.
“We all work virtually, spread across the country, connected with technology and demonstrating that flexible working can be a real solution for businesses to address the gender skew in organisations experienced as a result of the leak resulting from women leaving the workplace through the child-rearing years, feeling there is no alternative,” she says.
READ MORE: 4 benefits you should be negotiating
The skills mums on the database range from accountants, actuaries, lawyers, risk managers, analysts, managing directors and marketers to people with digital, human resources and office support skills.
Geard has made flexibility a key requirement for employers who want to register vacant positions on the website.
In recognition of her efforts to get more mums back into the workforce, Geard was honoured as the SA Small Business Awards last year as the National Woman in Business Champion.
She was also recently named the Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year Awards winner in the category of Job Creator of the Year.