Deena is one of 7 children and a mother of 4 who works as a philanthropic advisor at the IDI – Israel Democracy Institute.
Q: Hi Deena, thank you so much for being our first feature! Could you start off by telling us a little bit about your business and what you do?
A: I am a philanthropic advisor. I work for a foundation based abroad but that does a lot of its work here in Israel. I manage all of our non-profit investments that are geographically in Israel and some that are geographically focused on Israel that are abroad.
Q: What are your preconceived thoughts about co-working environments?
A: I love them, as sort of a one man shot myself, I appreciate the efficiency of them and the idea of a co-working space where everything is ready for me is incredibly enticing and really rewarding. The reason it doesn’t work for me as well to work in a coworking environment is because I deal with a lot of sensitive financial information so it wouldn’t work for me to be sitting with other people.
Q: Given those preconceived notions, how would onsite childcare in a Montessori-style environment change your thoughts?
A: I’m a mom of 4 with my oldest being 12 years old and youngest being 3 years old, however if I had the opportunity to work in proximity to my children when they were younger while knowing they were with someone responsible would have been amazing. It’s a mixture of all the benefits of working at the office and all the benefits of working at home. There would be none of the distractions of being at home like throwing in a load of laundry. MamaLab would provide a space where you can feel 110% professional and 110% a mom which is absolutely the dream and I would definitely want this over any other office.
Q: Do you typically prefer working in a noisier environment such as a busy coffee shop or in a quiet and calm environment?
A: I actually prefer to work in a noisy environment. I grew up in a big family so I do my best work when there is a lot of noise around me but because of the nature of my work I’m not really afforded that ability.
Q: Do you have full time childcare when you are working at home?
A: Before corona, I did have full time childcare every day. During the last year and a half, I haven’t been able to have the support and childcare I used to have for a couple of different reasons so it’s been a lot harder.
Q: What are some of the the challenges of working at home and what could we provide at MamaLab to help?
A: I think there is often this feeling that if we are working from home, we are neither giving our kids 100% of our time and attention but we are also not spending 100% of our time being productive for work. If I could be proximate to my child and know that the childcare provider is being that 100% attentive to my kid and giving that experience of being with them and playing with them while I’m able to give my 100% at work is pretty much the dream.
Q: How do you think you could benefit and grow from working in a co-working space with other working mothers in a similar situation to you or do you think you would prefer the semi-private office space instead?
A: Thinking back to when my kids were younger, I think it would have been amazing to be surrounded by other working mothers in similar situations to sort of create a little community where you’re able to feed off each other and bounce off ideas. It’s a real blessing for young mothers to be able to discuss with other mothers in the workplace the things that give them anxiety especially because you spend so much time there.
Q: Is collaboration encouraged at your company?
A: In general, collaboration is very encouraged.
Q: How do you think that introducing MamaLab into your life could reduce some of the hardships that come with being a working mother?
A: There’s so much anxiety that comes with leaving your kids and being so far away from them for the day. My husband and I both worked in the city when we lived in New York but before we moved to Israel we made a pact that one of us was always going to work near the kids in case of emergencies so the peace of knowing you’re close to your children while at work would definitely relieve some stress.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected your work situation from the aspect of having your children at home with you?
A: I was a mom that always returned to work soon after having my babies and was never able to be home with my kids when they were toddlers so the opportunity to be with them all day every day and have the joy of seeing my 3 year old has been great. On the other hand, trying to be a full time professional/mother/teacher has added a lot of stress and anxiety. I felt like I came to work every day on zoom with 4 kids hanging off of me and invited my personal life into my professional life.
Q: Now that covid restrictions have been lifted, could you share a little about your challenges with getting back into the workforce?
A: I think the most difficult part has been changing my pace and not being around my kids at every given moment. A year and a half is a long time and I sort of forgot how pre-covid life was so finding that balance on both sides for kids and for work has been a little bit of a challenge.
Q: What do you think are three important elements that a work environment must have in order to help generate success?
A: I think commodore is very important. Also reliability on a clean, nice, and set up place to work every day is very important. I would also say aesthetic because I think places need to look good and inviting for people to feel happy to be in them.
Q: What are some of the most important benefits that MamaLab has to offer?
A: I think the beauty of the model that you are offering is the ability to be in a work setting while having the comfort, peace, and knowledge that your children are being taken care of by people you know and trust and especially in close proximity if your kids are younger and you are a nursing mom. After my maternity leave, it was hard to deal with the whole pumping situation, so I think the proximity that MamaLab offers is gold. It’s not necessarily a natural thing for a new parent to be separated from their child for 8 to 9 hours of the day so the ability to be able to pop out and nurse or even just cuddle and then get back to work is a dream and such a great benefit that MamaLab has to offer.
Q: What are some of your professional goals and how could an environment like MamaLab help you achieve those goals faster?
A: I think for young moms it’s really hard to see how you will find the time in your life to be all the things you want to be for all the people you want to be that for. There was a psychologist I was watching that said something like as a young mother you have to recognize that life is a constant juggling act but not all balls are made of glass and that some of the balls are made of rubber but you can’t juggle them all. As a young mother, it’s so important to recognize which balls can fall and which can’t. I think that MamaLab allows for childcare to be a rubber ball. The knowledge that your child is near you and being taken care of someone by someone you trust and feel confident about allows for you to juggle all the other things in your life which is an incredible gift.