Patagonia VP's Comment to a Breastfeeding Employee Deserves a Round of Applause
A recruiter for the clothing company, who was breastfeeding her infant at work, took to LinkedIn to share her colleague's praise-worthy comment.
All too often, we hear about companies that do nothing to make parenthood easier for their employees, whether that's by failing to offer any sort of parental leave or to have a comfortable space on-site where moms can breastfeed or pump. Thankfully, the tide does appear to be turning, as a recruiter at Patagonia proved with a heartening post on LinkedIn that's gone viral with almost 50,000 likes.
Holly Morissette shared that she was breastfeeding during a morning meeting after recently returning from maternity care when their VP Dean Carter turned to her and said, "There is no way to measure the ROI on that. But I know it’s huge."
The comment left Morrissette feeling especially thankful to have on-site childcare and to be with a company that supports working families.
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"It got me thinking...with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a 'call to action,'" she wrote. "A PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut-wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies. TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES. That perhaps just one person will brave the subject with their employer (big or small) in the hopes that it gets the wheels turning to think differently about how to truly support working families. That with a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren’t hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass."
The downstream effect is apparent: "It’s no wonder that Patagonia has 100% retention of moms," Morrissette noted. "Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done. Thank you, Patagonia, for leading the way."
The post has wracked up over 1K comments since Morrissette shared it a day ago. Many were from moms who have faced far less ideal circumstances in their careers and wanted to applaud Patagonia's contribution to the shifting tide.
Leslie Summers Bandy wrote, "Amazing post. I am facing the obstacles of re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. No one seems to recognize my 17 years experience, only that I have not worked for 12. Keep up the fight."
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Nicole Walter shared, "20 years ago i was given a broom closet to pump in. Someone even went so far as to nickname it THE BARN. So degrading and humiliating that eventually I just stopped. Thrilled to read this story."
A LinkedIn user and new mom named Grace Li Bergman shared, "Today is my second day returning from a 12-week maternity leave. I woke up 4 times last night tending my 11-week old baby, so I can't help to tear up while I read 'TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES.' While not all companies can provide on-site daycare (Rock on, Patagonia!), we need to acknowledge a family-centric work culture is ultimately more favorable for companies, our families, and our society as a whole."
It's no surprise the response to Morrissette's post has a been a resounding round of applause. The culture she describes is one that's long overdue in all too many workplaces. Fingers crossed companies that aren't Patagonia are quick to take a hint.