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Our Business Development Managers walk the talk

23 May 2017

Joanna Jacobs is one of our first Business Development Managers at 2to3days; she lives in Hampshire with her husband and four-year old daughter. Here she talks about finding her path and how the work she does enables her ideal work-life balance.


Tell us about your career prior to joining 2to3days

After university I joined the Sainsbury’s HR graduate scheme, had a wonderful 7 years working across the UK and China in exciting Talent, Development and Strategic HR roles. I then moved across to Telco and worked for Vodafone UK, before starting maternity leave in 2013.

After a couple of years career break, I experienced my own barriers in finding stimulating part-time HR roles, so qualified as a career coach for women looking to return to work. 2to3days was the final piece in my jigsaw, enabling me to connect mothers with flexible jobs and bringing together all my skills and experience.

Describe your business development role at 2to3days

I introduce 2to3days to the progressive businesses of Hampshire, as well as to the HRDs, Heads of Talent and Heads of Diversity within my own network. It’s amazing where the connections pop up and how supportive former colleagues are of what we are doing. 

I work three days a week when my daughter is at preschool.  A working day begins with checking LinkedIn messages whilst unloading the dishwasher and preparing my daughter’s breakfast, as most of my introductions happen online and at any time.

After drop-off I work from a cafe or from home, depending on what meetings or phone calls I have booked. I check in with HQ on the status of my live job adverts, before following up with clients that I met with in the last week.

I’ll have 3/4 meetings a day, mostly by phone, minimising travel expenses and maximising the value I can add during a school day. I will also spend time searching for relevant progressive companies online within my target locations.


What do you find inspiring about 2to3days?

I am most inspired about 2to3days’ mission to help other mothers find stimulating professional jobs they can do on a part-time basis which allow them to be a mum AND have a career.

The fast and continued growth of 2to3days makes this a really exciting place to work, where we each have a big and direct impact on the business. 

When you speak to Business Owners and Heads of Talent/Diversity about 2to3days, how do they respond?

Business Owners love the fact that we are highly cost-effective and they love the ease of using our dashboard to search the database and request CVs from relevant candidates as soon as their advert goes live.

For Heads of Talent/Diversity, diversity recruitment is high on their agendas. With 80% of Diversity recruitment focused on recruiting women, our proposition is perfect.

The fact that we have grown a community of 20,000 mothers in just 18 months, without any real marketing budget, impresses and demonstrates the power of our brand and the scale of the talent pool that we have available.

The conversations I have are warm and just that, conversations, seeking to understand their challenges and how we can best help them. No hard sales here!


 Do you think companies are opening up to the idea of mothers working flexibly?

I think the world of work is changing - more and more companies are waking up to the fact that the traditional 9-5, Monday - Friday contract isn’t relevant, and so the types of contracts offered by employers is changing.

The extent to which women are locked out of the labour market after having children is becoming increasingly known, with many companies I speak to saying ‘we’ve been meaning to do something about this for ages’ and our conversation opens up cost-effective and easy access to this growing talent pool.

I also think that organisations are helping employees to bring their whole self to work nowadays leading to greater understanding of the demands individuals face in their home lives – and raising children is a big part of that!

Technology makes it easier to work remotely; at any time meaning a mother can leave for pickup and carry on working after bedtime. Collectively this is a very powerful combination - which means there has never been a better time for organisations to advertise flexible professional jobs for mothers. 


What are the characteristics of a ‘forward thinking’ company?

One which embraces flexible working already, knows that it works, and isn’t fazed by any challenges or obstacles to hiring flexibly. Typically these organisations just ‘get it’ and the conversation moves quickly to the practicalities of working with us.

A forward-thinking SME may be a start-up, or needs the expertise in their business, just not full-time - so they love the idea of employing a mother who has the emotional maturity combined with skills and experience.


Finally, you are ‘now’ a wise 90 year old lady who has fulfilled her potential in her career and as a mother.  What is the single piece of advice you would give to:

Heads of Talent: Take a long term view of the capability of women; don’t judge them on their current situation. Nurture and support them and they will give back to you.

Your daughter: Every career move is a building block leading you closer to your true path; with every experience you learn more about what you love and what you don’t, what serves you and your family and what doesn’t. Don’t get bogged down in the here and now, you have your whole life journey ahead of you. Be kind to yourself.

Husbands in general! : Don’t underestimate your wife’s ambition; she might be busy changing nappies, pretending to be a monster or arranging fairy tea parties, but she still harbours her career dreams and goals. 

To yourself: I did it my way!! 

I’m proud of who I have become - I wish I had been kinder to myself along the way.