Jill Holtz is co-founder of Mykidstime.com, an award-winning information website for parents, that has grown from a local Galway directory to a global website and one of the most trusted online brands for parents. Jill also co-founded a spin-off company Clearbookings.com, which offers tailored online registration, ticketing and payment services; and most recently Digital4sales.com which gives resources and online training courses for businesses who want to target and market to parents. Jill is also a consultant and speaker who loves sharing her passion for content and social media to help businesses drive results.
Prior to founding Mykidstime, Jill worked for 15 years in CRM and Marketing Support managing projects for British Gas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, AIB, as well as holding product management and communication roles in a variety of industry sectors. She holds a BSc in Mathematics from University of Glasgow, an MSc in Operational Research from University of Strathclyde and a 1st class honours Executive MBA from NUI Galway. Jill was included on Technology Voice 2014 list of Ireland’s Talented Technology Women.
Mykidstime started as a Galway based listing website 10 years ago and over time has evolved into an information website for parents with a very large and engaged social media community of 630k fans and followers. There are 5 members of the Mykidstime team, the company operates as a virtual organization and they help businesses who want to target families and parents with their digital marketing.
HERizon: You are an impressive hybrid of entrepreneur and life-long learner with two Masters degrees. Clearly, education is a top priority for you. 57.4% of Irish women and 44% of Irish men have a third level qualification, yet women still lag behind men in career and business. What do you feel could be done in society and in education to increase female leadership?
Jill: In two words, affordable childcare!
HERizon: What doors did education open up for you?
Jill: Education gave me the grounding to apply for jobs, it gave me professional qualifications to further my career, it gave me a network of contacts to keep in touch with, it gave me confidence as a leader to grow and continue to learn.
HERizon: Are there more opportunities for women in technology?
Jill: I feel maybe on balance there are more opportunities for a couple of reasons. Firstly, technology can facilitate flexible working so any technology company is naturally going to be more receptive to people using tech to work from home occasionally – this helps women who have kids who need that flexibility. Also, technology start-ups are great places for women returning to work to look for jobs – those companies need experienced people but can’t necessarily afford a full time salary so women returners can then get more flexible or part time opportunities. I think there’s also a great network of women in tech out there that women can tap into.
HERizon: Do you see a changing landscape for women personally and professionally?
Jill: As a mother of 2 girls, I feel that things have slowly improved but at the same time it’s a bit dispiriting to hear of continuing inequality in pay, lack of representation at board level etc. So, to keep myself positive I like to follow organisations online like HERizon and Mighty Girl, or great women in technology and businesses like Whitney Johnson who help keep a positive message going about women’s achievements and gender equality.
HERizon: You’re a highly successful female entrepreneur with a parent community of 650K members. What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?
Jill: My top tips to women starting their careers are:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more salary. If you get a no ask for a written agreement that you will receive more salary if you achieve certain targets.
- Always build your network because people in your network open doors and opportunities. It’s up to you to grab those opportunities then!
- Don’t be afraid to move if you’re not satisfied.
HERizon: From working on Mykidstime, do you have any insights into how mothers balance their lives? What trends do you see in terms of women’s working lives, what they can aspire to and what opportunities are there for women if they decide to work outside the home?
Jill: I don’t think having children and a career has really got any easier. Our mothers were told basically to stop having a career once they had kids. Then our generation were told the world was our oyster, but having kids does set your career back. My advice would be to seek out employment situations that are supportive, that offer flexibility.
I often say to women looking to return to work, take a look at startups, they may not be secure as who knows if they will succeed, but they need experienced people and can often only afford a part time person or are prepared to be more flexible with working hours.
HERizon: What about gender partnership, are men co-parenting more? Gender pay gap and parental leave are barriers, do you see what can help women?
Jill: My own personal experience has been great. My partner definitely shares the parenting and shares the housework. I’ve always felt that what is needed is a sea-change in everyone getting more balance in their lives. Why should women be the only ones to get flexible working opportunities to spend time with kids for example? The more diversity we get at the top of organisations, the more this change will come for everyone I believe.
HERizon: Do you notice opportunities for women to work from home?
Jill: So, at Mykidstime, over the last 10 years, we’ve made that a firm tenet of our organization that you can work from home for our company. This was for 2 reasons, it kept our costs down when we started as we didn’t have to fund an office space, but also it was because we wanted that for ourselves so why not facilitate that for our employees.
I believe technology has allowed more people to work from home. So yes, I think there are more opportunities to be home based and work.
HERizon: If women decide not to work outside the home and rear their children full-time, can they get involved in community issues? Do you see any trends here?
Jill: I think by nature, women are very involved in their different circles and communities. If a woman chooses not to work outside the home and be a full-time mother, of course she may seek outlets for herself and a kid-free social life. I don’t think every woman gets involved in community issues per se, I think it depends on where their passion lies.
HERizon: Where can women find out more about mykidstime?
Jill: You can visit the website at www.mykidstime.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mykidstime, Twitter @mykidstime, Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/mykidstime, Instagram at www.instagram.com/mykidstime