Kerry Dolan Gehringer 14 hrs
Manhattan Alumni Kerry Dolan.
Can Women Have It All? Transitional Moms Struggle to Return to Work
THE BLOG 05/02/2016 01:37 pm ET Jennifer Musselman
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Kerry Dolan, Founder of OptIn (www.OptBackIn.com) experienced these set-backs first-hand. She started Optin in California a couple of years ago after facing her own career transition challenges. OptIn is a multi-platform start-up resource for women looking for support as they navigate the challenges when re-entering the workplace.
“When he met me, I was a high-power executive. By the time I thought to go back to work, I had no resources, I had self esteem issues and I’d lost my sense of self. It [work] turned out to be a very big part of who I was. I had lost a big part of me.” – Kerry Dolan, Founder, OptIn
Dolan, herself a mom and former successful Manhattan executive in the tech start-up industry for over 15 years, got married and gave up her career a year-and-a-half later when her doctor gave her an ultimatum: “Go on bedrest or your babies are going to die,” she says. Dolan spent the next 8 months tending to her delicate identical fetuses, who are now healthy 12 year-old girls.
Work was on the back of her mind even as she nursed her then newborns, but Dolan says, “I couldn’t keep my foot in the door at the rate I was used to working. I was used to giving 115% and at the time, it wasn’t going to be possible.” So she stayed home full-time while her husband worked full-time. The couple went on to have a third child.
“I felt totally trapped. I had even considered taking a job as a dental assistant. My husband reasoned that it wouldn’t even pay for the gas and dry-cleaning bills. My self-esteem took a big hit,” Dolan boldly acknowledges. Eventually, she and her husband started having marital issues and sought the support of a therapist. Her “aha” moment came when the therapist asked what the conversation around career and staying at home had been like. She realized then there had never been a conversation. After giving birth, she says, “I just kind of fell into being a full-time mom.”
Dolan and her husband are now divorced. She contends her not going back to work ruined her marriage. “When he met me, I was a high-power executive. By the time I thought to go back to work, I had no resources. I had self esteem issues and I’d lost my sense of self. It [work] turned out to be a very big part of who I was. I had lost a big part of me.”
With two girls of her own, Dolan says she wanted them to know women needed to be independent and financially secure for themselves. Her bigger life’s purpose today is to be what she calls a mother’s advocate. She envisions a cultural shift around the perceptions of working moms, one state at a time. And this is what she says she hopes to achieve with OptIn, to help women find their way back to work and, for some, their selves. Optin offers a 6 week workshop including interview prep, self-esteem courses and connection to other women like themselves. Dolan notes many of the women are well-educated women who were feeling down on themselves. She says they were grateful for the opportunity to stay at home, but many were not fulfilled the way they had once been in their careers.
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Dolan, Kerry [MC????]
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I believe that Kerry is a member of the Class of 1994.
McEneney, Mike (MC1953)
[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.]
Dolan, Kerry [MC1994]
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