Meet Manon DeFelice, Founder of Inkwell – a Woman in Business Showcase for January 2015
Manon DeFelice started Inkwell as a side project in the Summer of 2013. She left her full time job as the executive director and general counsel for a women’s rights foundation in April 2014 to pursue Inkwell full time. Here’s her story:
Tell us about your business:
Inkwell connects highly accomplished Moms to businesses and nonprofits who need specialized help on a part-time or project basis. Our Moms are graduates from top academic programs. They are though leaders, entrepreneurs and industry trailblazers. Companies that use Inkwell know that they are hiring top tier talent on a more flexible project contract basis at a rate they can afford. Inkwell is more than a network. We are a true support system for Moms and provide them with opportunities for ongoing education and inspiration. We organize periodic events and speakers to help our Moms keep their skills fresh and connect with each other.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
I am a Mother of three children, an attorney, and the former executive director and general counsel for a women’s rights foundation. I am a dreamer, a believer, and an agent of change. Women’s issues are my passion, and it is with this mindset that I created Inkwell. I love seeing a problem and trying to fix it. There are thousands of talented women sitting out of the workforce because they want to spend time with their children. It shouldn’t be an all or nothing decision. I knew there had to be a better way so I sought a path for creating it.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
I am greatly influenced, inspired and pushed to succeed by Bring constantly inspired and pushed by other female entrepreneurs such as my close friend Ellen Gustafson, co-founder of FEED.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I am inspired daily by the women I assist in finding better career opportunities while they also juggle caring for their family. These mothers want to be able to take on both of those responsibilities and find great satisfaction in them. I help women find a way to do both – focus on fulfilling a career AND have time for their family. Being able to provide women with new opportunities and be an active agent in changing how the world sees and approaches working mothers as resources drives me to continue the growth of my company.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Live in the grey: the space between work and play. People are happiest, and most successful, when the lines between work/life, professional/personal and black/white are blurred. (http://www.liveinthegrey.com )
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Word of mouth. Everyone knows a mom or business that needs help. I bring them together.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
It’s a marathon not a sprint. And that every relationship leads to another door opening.
Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.
We are excited that larger corporations are starting to take notice and come to us to reach our pool of executive talent. But I’m equally excited to be able to bring affordable access to this level of talent, on a flexible project basis, for start-ups and other small businesses.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Travel with my family building new memories. One of the best things about what I do is being able to work from any location.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
To directly help every woman and business that comes to Inkwell. To match Moms with jobs they can be proud of and bring affordable executive talent to businesses.
You want to write a book on … How Women Can Have it All..
I really believe that you can have a high level and fulfilling career part time especially during those few years when women want to be at home more with their small children. Women shouldn’t have to choose.
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?