MomForce Network is expanding deeper into the Chattanooga market with a new local hire and additional members here.
MomForce President Courtney Jones started the business after struggling with the question of why women often have to choose between staying at home with a family or going back to work after giving birth.
Although she was able to negotiate a flexible corporate work schedule that allowed her a good balance between work and motherhood, she encountered many women who didn't find that option.
They wanted to work but had trouble finding a job with the needed flexibility. So Jones set out to solve that problem with MomForce, a Knoxville-based business that advocates for the professional mother and connects them with flexible employment.
Through MomForce, Jones connects professional mothers with flexible full-time jobs, permanent part-time jobs, telecommuting opportunities or job-share options.
She's recently brought on local entrepreneur Carlene Vital as director of market development for the MomForce Network in Chattanooga.
In October, the network had 1,300 mothers and dozens of businesses. Since then, about 100 Chattanooga women have joined, Jones said.
Click here to read the October article on the company.
Work in Chattanooga
So far, Vital is learning about the structure and process of the company. She's talking to employers here, and she's already working to place some women in jobs.
She's working to place a civil engineer, nonprofit coordinator, medical billing specialist, graphic design artist and copywriter.
"I am interested in meeting with and educating employers about the benefits of this opportunity," Vital said. "It's about finding the right combination of home and office time for employee and employer."
Jones said that she and Vital are now looking for "Chattanooga's forward-thinking employers to embrace flexible employment," which she said can help businesses increase productivity and employee satisfaction, and decrease overhead costs.
So far, Chattanooga leaders and businesses have been supportive.
"Our goal is to be a great steward of the trust of Chattanooga businesses," Jones said. "We are genuinely committed to finding the right fit for our employers and our candidates. We are intentional and strategic about finding the right candidate for Chattanooga businesses."
Vital has a master's degree in public health and has worked mostly in the area of health education, she said via email.
"I have a 17-year-old daughter and a 13-year old son, and made a conscious decision to stay home with them when they were young," she said.
But she stayed involved with the community by teaching, serving on boards and volunteering.
"However, I have to admit that I was not completely fulfilled, given that I had spent quite a bit of time and energy on my degree," she said.
Vital met other women who felt similarly, and they decided to start their own business, a small finance company.
Vital and her business partner bought and sold personal property and later owned rental properties, she said. It was a good balance for them because it allowed them to be at home with their children and still feel professionally and intellectually challenged, she also said.
After reading about MomForce Network, Vital felt a connection with the mission and "utterly compelled" to reach out to Jones.
"I have always felt there was such an untapped potential workforce in educated women who want to balance work and care for children and/or aging parents," Vital said.
After she met with Jones, she was even more hooked.
"It was a bold move for me, but I knew I was not going to walk away from that meeting without telling her that I wanted to be involved," Vital said. "I feel entirely committed to this idea and mission."