Trying to keep the pieces together. Working hard on all that stuff that you do see – and all the stuff that you don’t see. All of us with the belief that mothers stand stronger together!
Founder and General Manager at MAMAGORA. Chaos Pilot. Talent Manager. Web Developer. Organizer at Fairplay Tribe. Focusing on putting passion and skills to good use. Mother of 3.
I moved to Switzerland with my family in 2010. Having small children, not having family around, not speaking the local language, not knowing the market, not having a network, and the reality of childcare options forced me to be a stay-at-home-mum. And I really enjoyed spending a lot of time with my children, but something was missing.
Quite soon I met up with other mums. Our neighbourhood is pretty amazing. We gathered regularly, we organized lots of events and helped each other out. I’m not quite sure how my life would have been without them. We had fun! But something was still missing.
I knew I couldn’t change the system and the gender-related issues in the society. But I did know that I could start by doing something for me and for my fellow mothers. And eventually I discovered what I had to do:
I realized that we as mothers need to connect with each other on a bigger scale to be able to use the synergies within our separate professional skills and capacities. We need to support each other with ideas and projects, work together and shape an atmosphere where there is room for the family as well. I needed to make a platform and a physical space where mothers could meet up, share ideas and projects, look for collaborations, discuss work-related issues, network and update their skills – all within the community of all the talented mothers in Switzerland.
This is how the idea of MAMAGORA was born.
Board Member. Communicator. Mother of 2.
I was an unapologetic stay-at-home mom. The fact that I could make that choice speaks of my privilege. It was not an easy decision. I struggled often because of my own shortcomings but I have never regretted my choice. Not even when I struggled to reenter the workforce. Underlying my decision to opt out was the glaring truth that I am terrible at multitasking. Ironically, in the work world, prioritization is an important skill that is prized. But my choice was viewed by employers as an irreversible one accompanied by steep sanctions. When I reentered I believed the myth that I was not as qualified as my peers. That the work I had done both at home and in the community did not translate. That is a complete falsehood. I found that I had a deep bench of soft skills that companies are in dire need of cultivating. And contrary to popular belief, I had not lost my ability to either think deeply or to think on my feet.
MAMAGORA is born out of our shared belief that mothers deserve the right to choose. And that choice ought to be judgment free. The work we do in the home is vital to building a healthy society. That work also develops us as critical thinkers and empathic beings. Society’s problem-solving institutions are in dire need of our talents. The opportunity is now to negotiate a new way of working, on our terms.
STINE RUSBJERG GULDAGER
Founding Member. / Rhetorician and Mother of 2.
MA in Rhetoric from The University of Copenhagen.
Moving from Denmark to Switzerland in 2012 I was amazed that the Swiss society had so little useful focus on helping to get women back to work after maternity leave and years of more or less forced housewife life. And I’m still overwhelmed by the struggle and missing confidence many women go through because of this lack of gender equality.
So I spent challenging years rethinking how I – besides enjoying more time with my kids – could make some kind of work-value out of my new life situation. I published a book, I set up exhibitions, I passed art and graphic design classes, I did freelance assignments, I participated in art and photography competitions, and I started to do skilled based volunteer work at the Department of Marketing and Communication at the Red Cross Zürich.
I’m many years wiser now and my network has grown big. But I can’t shake off the constant feeling of being alone with widespread searches for work, never really finding solid ground within Zürich’s permanent workforce, and fighting to keep up my motivation.
Switzerland is missing out on an immense, intelligent, and experienced female workforce, mainly because the societal system has it’s focus elsewhere. That’s why I’ve teamed up with MAMAGORA: To help change the way we connect as working women, the way we work, share what we have to offer, and make use of the knowledge we have. On our terms.
TINA ZELLER ENGELHARD
Founding Member. / Marketing and Communication Specialist, and Mother of 2.
My name is Tina Zeller Engelhard, after my studies in Munich in economics and tourism I moved to Zurich almost 20 years ago, when my first job offer called me. I worked for over 8 years in marketing and communication in the airline industry. When my husband and I started having a family, I realized how hard it is to combine two jobs and children, I struggled as most of the moms and found it difficult to make everything work. I tried to be everywhere and fulfill all expectations, but I had to realize controlling everything is impossible. Having a family taught me more things than I thought.
After my second child I decided to be a fulltime mom for several years, since I prioritised my family life, but this never meant I didn`t want to come back, but reentering the job market is not easy, since there is a lot of competition, and my networking over the years was not strong enough to make it easy being back in the market. But all women in Switzerland should be encouraged to use their full professional potential in the world of work, no matter whether they raise kids and manage a family. I joined MAMAGORA because I`m convinced that women in Switzerland need a platform to network and interact constantly in order to stay tuned to the market and its possibilities.