BIO Michelle Meyer is the Founder & CEO of Emissaries, a recruiting agency specializing in covering parental leaves via a nationwide network of vetted freelancers and “supertemps.” Emissaries connects high-quality, seasoned freelance talent with contract work, temp gigs and other awesome projects. Previously, Michelle spent 15 years working for some of the most innovative and iconic companies in the media, tech, and entertainment industries. Nearly half of those 15 years were spent freelancing, mainly filling maternity leaves in NYC, Silicon Valley, and L.A….which inspired her to launch emissaries.co in November 2015. Workplace equality, working parents, work-life integration and the growing independent contractor workforce are at the heart of Michelle’s mission with Emissaries.
WHAT BIG PROJECT ARE YOU WORKING ON? In September, Emissaries will launch a new online talent platmarketplace making sourcing and connecting with qualified freelancers turnkey, transparent and affordable. Say you’re looking for a freelancer from October-December in San Francisco with content marketing, lead generation and copywriting skills in a particular industry – our self-service search tool at emissaries.co will populate pre-vetted, industry-expert freelancers who fit that exact description. You can search our database of freelancers with a variety of specific search fields. Plus, unlike other freelance marketplaces, no additional fees apply for hiring, we don’t promote project bidding nor do we take a cut of freelancers’ pay. Pending any unforeseeable health issues, I will be actively working on fine-tuning the user experience and growing the user base from now until my daughter arrives in November. I’m definitely in high-growth mode!
HOW HAS PREGNANCY AFFECTED YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS? I’ve found that pregnancy has pushed me to expedite my professional goals. I’ve been so focused, excited and energized. I launched Emissaries at the end of November 2015 and four months later, I found out I was pregnant. Such a blessing but not the plan. My OB/GYN told me that at 34 years old it would most likely take 6-8 months to conceive…it took two weeks. One of my immediate thoughts that day was: “what am I going to do with Emissaries?” I’m constantly advocating and evangelizing for parental leave and I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t make a plan for my growing business. So I devised a plan to build and launch a self-service, online platform that will enable my business to grow while I spend a few months prioritizing my daughter’s health. Pregnancy has not been a disadvantage for me professionally; it has been incredibly positive because I can better relate to the families and teams I’m helping and because when else do you plan your professional and personal 6-12 month goals in this much detail? I have pregnancy to thank. Building Emissaries’ marketplace is a big undertaking, from a financial investment as well as the amount of time, thought and research I’m putting into scaling my business. During pregnancy your body morphs so quickly and in some ways, my expanding business is in parallel with this accelerated growth.
ADVICE FOR OTHER CAREER-MINDED WOMEN WHO LOVE “THE HUSTLE” & WHO ARE ALSO THINKING ABOUT STARTING A FAMILY? Last I checked, it takes 40(ish) weeks to make a baby so you have almost a year to plan the next steps for your career! Try to arrange for a slightly flexible work schedule so you can make time for all your doctor appointments, get in some exercise, stay sane, etc. See if your company will subsidize pre/post natal support, parental leave coaching, on-demand childcare, etc. There are several new companies in the parental leave ecosystem – take advantage of their offerings! My favorites: Instacare, Center for Parental Leave Leadership, LeaveLogic and Helpr. Planning for the next 6-12 months of your personal life forces you to think about your professional plans as well. Indulge in the forward-planning mindset you’ll be in.