You may have seen in the news recently that Planned Parenthood is being accused of mistreating pregnant women, continuing the long history of Planned Parenthood not providing the necessary resources for those who actually choose Planned Parenthood. Here at Students for Life of America we work to try to ensure that every pregnant and parenting employee is supported while working at Students for Life of America. Do we wish we could do more and offer more paid maternity leave? Of course. But working within the constraints of a non-profit organization, we believe we have offered quality, family-friendly policies to our employees who are pregnant and/or parenting.
It Starts At The Top
As a pro-life organization that advocates for pro-life policies on campus and in society at large, we are particularly attuned to the needs of pregnant and parenting people. At Students for Life, 6 of our 7 directors (including Kristan Hawkins, who has four kids herself) are parents themselves, with kids between the ages of 2 months to 18 years-old. This includes four mothers and two fathers. The Human Resources director for Students for Life of America is also a mother to three children herself. Students for Life also allows team members to bring their kids with them to work; for example, Kristan brought her son Gunner with her to several speaking tour stops last year. And I also am a working mother, with four children myself.
Flexibility For Team Members
Our field team is on campus almost every day, meeting with students, attending group meetings (sometimes at night), and tabling on campus during the day. For parenting team members, this odd schedule can pose a challenge, as there is not the necessarily the consistency of a 9-5 job. Of course, there is also time working at home which can help even this out. The recent trend in past years is that if a team member wants to continue working for Students for Life but wants a steadier position with flexible and controllable hours, Students for Life will work with them to find a place within the organization. Recent examples include:
- Brenna Lewis—Brenna was Students for Life’s Kentucky and Tennessee Regional Coordinator for two years. When Brenna had her first child, she was offered a position to stay on as a staff writer for Students for Life (if you like our blogs as of late, you can thank Brenna!)
- Lori Cascio—Lori has worked as Students for Life’s Virginias Regional Coordinator for two and a half years now. Pregnant now with her first child, Lori is working now as the National Programs Coordinator.
- Lo Castillo –Lo worked as Students for Life’s Colorado Regional Coordinator while parenting, and eventually transitioned to working as a Major Gift Officer, which also reduced her travel.
- Reagan Barklage –-Reagan first started off with Students for Life as the Regional Coordinator for Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. She then moved up to serving as the Western Regional Director. The mother of a 7-month old baby, she has the flexibility to work from home every day with minimal travel.
- Michele Hendrickson—Michele first started off with Students for Life as the Regional Coordinator for the D.C.-area, while parenting a two-year-old son, and had her daughter while working for Students for Life. She then moved up to serving as the Eastern Regional Director, where she has the flexibility to work from home every day with minimal travel.
- Anna Allgaier– Anna started off as the Indiana Regional Coordinator for Students for Life and now works for Students for Life as the Pregnant on Campus Coordinator.
Our goal with any parenting team member is to ensure that their job works for them as well as for Students for Life. As working mother Kristan Hawkins, our president, noted in her recent op-ed, we are always working to create the best environment for parenting team members under the limitations of a non-profit organization as well as advocating for family-friendly policies.
Our current policy is to add a paid week of maternity leave to a generous sick and vacation time policy, as well as allowing parents to bring children up to 6 months old to work with them. Our entire structure is set up for flexibility.
We have very few team members who come into an office every day and many of our parents, such as myself, work from home. SFLA welcomes team members to arrange work hours around parenting, as I know first-hand. And it’s working for us.