As I’m writing this, I am in a cafe across the road from a public library, waiting for baby story time to start, drinking a cup of tea, and rocking my son to sleep in a pram with my left foot. I’m typing with a single thumb, slumped rightward on a stool at a precarious angle to counteract physics and gravity to keep all of these things happening at once. I do it without thinking.
This scene is one working mothers, or working women in general albeit metaphorically, will be very familiar with; working to keep multiple things on the rails, and other people content, while sacrificing your own comfort, but still with a desire to be efficient, proficient and personally fulfilled.
My name is Kristen Souvlis, and I am a Part Time CEO.
Let’s take a step back.
Team Mamamia confess: I chucked a sickie so that I could…
It’s 2015 and I leave my awesome full time job producing television to start a company with my business partner, Nadine Bates. We’d just received our first two commissions, one from Disney, and one from Sesame Street USA.
We have a choice – either produce these things after hours from our already demanding jobs, but while earning a wage, which is almost impossible (even for workaholics like us) or quit our jobs, use our savings and get as far as we can without an income and try to grow a global production business from scratch out of Australia. So… also almost impossible.
Nadine and I took this non-choice, worked incredibly hard with talented people, had a lot of support for our vision from our families and organisations like Screen Queensland and Brisbane Angels, and built Like A Photon Creative from a two person operation with not enough money to pay for a single desk at a co-working space, to a six million dollar company employing 35 people across media sectors.
And then I had a baby.
There’s never a good time to have a child, so there’s never a bad time either. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t come with its challenges. This would also be an understatement. How much of one, we had to find out.
For one, I was the CEO. Nadine and I work incredibly well together. She as the creative head and me as the operational. We had always acted more like co-CEOs, but me leaving presented a significant operational challenge. How do I take all of the stuff out of my head, turn it into process, hire some support and ensure our insurances get paid on time?