By Juliana Feliciano Reyes
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) If there is anyone who knows how to navigate the professional world as a mother it is Emily Foote. Foote, co-founder of an educational technology start-up called “Practice” shares some of the highs and lows of integrating professional goals, pregnancy and parenting.
Emily Foote was on an important conference call when her days-old newborn started wailing. She quickly hit mute.
Foote, cofounder of an educational technology start-up called Practice, was about to pitch a corporate client while her company’s potential acquirers — an education software company Foote had long admired, called Instructure — listened in. Its executives wanted to see Foote in action.
But now, Hazel was hungry. So Foote turned her video camera off and started breast-feeding. Eventually, the child now quiet, Foote switched back the sound (camera still off) and made the pitch — while still breast-feeding.
It worked. Three months later, on Nov. 22, Foote and her team closed the deal.
Conference call after conference call (and a few funny mishaps) with Hazel by her side is how Foote, 38, will remember the months leading up to the deal. The baby was so ever-present — Hazel was born the week official acquisition talks began — that lawyers included her in roll call.
The timing was, of course, not ideal — so long, maternity leave — but there was no question for Foote: Instructure was the company in the ed-tech industry on which Practice had modeled itself. She knew it was the right decision for her start-up, but more importantly for her staff of 21, which includes her husband, David Williams, the director of marketing, she knew their job prospects would grow if the acquisition were to go through. So she skipped any semblance of a real maternity leave and headed straight back to work — with Hazel.