That Works For Me Heroes: Joeli Brearley
Welcome to the That Works For Me Heroes blog series!
As you may have gathered, we are deeply passionate about flexible working and bringing work-life balance to people’s lives. The benefits speak for themselves. For people – better health and happier families. For businesses – better cultures and improved financial performance.
In my Heroes series, I will be personally saluting people; organisations and businesses who are doing something amazing that aligns with our mission to:
- Facilitate a more diverse range of professional flexible working opportunities so people can reclaim their time, and small businesses can manage their resource more efficiently
- Bring parents back into the workplace and stop hard-earned skills going to waste
- Bring businesses skills and experience without the long-term commitment, making consultancy affordable
I recently met Joeli Brearley at Pregnant Then Screwed Live in London and not only is she a hero of mine in the professional sense but she is also a really lovely and warm individual. You know when you meet someone and they make you feel great about yourself? She’s one of those. She also has a very entertaining Instagram Account!
Joeli is founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, an incredible organisation “working to end the motherhood penalty”. They run a free legal advice line, a mentor scheme for women taking legal action against an employer and a flexible working helpline. They lobby the government for legislative change, organise events to help mums find work that works for them, support mums to start a career in politics, and document the stories of mothers who encounter workplace discrimination. They also have my favourite tagline ever – “together we will stop women getting screwed for using their uterus” – is there anything not to love?!
They also run incredible events. I attended Pregnant Then Screwed live earlier this year and left feeling empowered and buoyant having met some very inspiring people and attending some really useful talks and workshops. These events are fantastic for motivation, advice and guidance, as well as community building. This is particularly apt if you have recently had a baby and need support. Having to deal with risk of redundancy or changes to your job during a time when, if you’re anything like me, a little lost and not feeling at your most confident is really, really hard. Thank goodness there are people like this out there to help.
As if this isn’t enough, one of the things we love most about Joeli Brearley and Pregnant Then Screwed is their attitude to flexible working and the advice they provide if you’re submitting a request to your employer. Whilst I have written my own guide on things to think about, these gals and guys will arm you with all the legal information you need to stand the best chance of succeeding.
What truly makes Joeli our hero though is that she not only talks about issues (loudly and proudly!) but she takes action. She has lobbied the government on a number of issues, most recently petitioning to increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim against your employer from its’ current three months; and to stop non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) being used by powerful employers to cover up the appalling treatment of some of their staff. They are both up for discussion now and have the backing of MP’s – 103 have already signed their early day motion to extend the time limit to raise a tribunal claim.
The That Works For Me heroes award might not be the most exciting award Joeli will receive this week, or even this year, but we want her (and you!) to know that we love her! We haven’t mentioned the hundreds of women she has helped, inspired and supported, but we know they are out there.
If we had a medal, Joeli Brearley, it would be yours. Instead, we have flowers! And they’re on their way to you! Thank you for inspiring us.