Erica Mackey is a mom on a mission. In this “Lesson on Self-Assurance”, the CEO, and Co-Founder talks founding MyVillage-a company training an army of women entrepreneurs to run their own businesses–raising six million from impact investors and her solutions for the broken, messy problem of childcare in America.
Erica Mackey is a mom on a mission. In this “Lesson on Self-Assurance”, the CEO and Co-Founder talks founding MyVillage—a company training an army of women entrepreneurs to run their own businesses–raising six million from impact investors and her solutions for the broken, messy problem of childcare in America. If you’re a mom who was told to get on the childcare waitlist while you were still pregnant, this episode is for you.
Previously, Erica co-founded and was COO of Zola Electric (previously Off Grid Electric), the world’s first massively scalable off-grid electric company, connecting over 1 million Africans to affordable solar energy. Her ventures have raised more than $250 million from world-class investors including Tesla, Paul Allen, and others. She was a fellow at the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and she has been recognized among Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs (2012). She was a delegate for the Academy of Achievement (2014) and was awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize (2015).
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TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Why the average American mom can’t ‘“stay-at-home”.
- What is My Village? Why/how was it founded?
- What do being humble and “being the rock” have to do with it?
- How role models like Finland’s Sanna Marin, New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden and Senator Tammy Duckworth are changing the conversation.
- Obstacles that women face as working mothers around an unconscious bias.
- Creating a really powerful on-the-ground community that supports each other.
- “Why are women expected to work like they don’t have children and mother like they don’t work?”
- Why aren’t childcare providers able to be written off in the same way that other employees are?
- How Erica’s confidence and passion attracted investors to her business.
- Women raise on 2.8% of venture capital. How did Mackey raise 250 million and 6 million for her ventures?
- What is an Impact Investor?
- Do women lead differently?
(8:03) We’re using a lot of principles that are out there around child centered, child led, play-based programming. But we are doing it in a way that we really help people thrive in their first six to 12 months of running a home based business.
(12:54) We’re seeing so many more women right in this moment, I think of Jacinda Arden who brings her baby to the UN general assembly for the first time ever. Who’s out there breastfeeding. Finland’s female prime minister who’s the youngest female prime minister in the world and she posts selfies breastfeeding. And then Tammy Duckworth, she got caught on her zoom call saying “ you’re going potty mommy will be there in a second.” She told it to the whole democratic caucus, which I thought was hilarious and I personally, I love this.
(14:49) That boundary between personal and professional as you start framing it, you can’t be the best and exclude the other side.
(15:52) We’re still having this conversation in the United States, strangely about women who work and should women be allowed to work where you should be at home with your children. And there’s still this kind of unconscious bias and this push pull a lot of the times still between moms who work and moms who don’t about what is best for children.
(17:34) I think in the world that we’re in now where unemployment is going to be a major issue and flexibility around employment and trying to make all of the puzzle pieces work in a way that don’t. It’s going to have to be at the forefront and the political conversation.
(19:00) I built that business over seven years. I was COO and built a thousand person team. We raised about 250 million over the course while I was there to scale the business and at the point that I moved back to the States we were selling about 10,000 houses a month.
(19:53) Focus on solving important problems. And I think that’s where a lot of my confidence as an entrepreneur comes from and how you present the opportunity, how you work your way through your network to get to the right conversations at the right time.
(20:42) Having a strong conviction to the problem and a true deep passion for wanting solve it I think is always been a successful first step for me.
(21:27) I was very specific about picking impact investors for our initial round. Impact investors are really mission aligned, so they’re looking for a double, triple bottom line business. Some of them are environment, profit, people-focused. Some of them are just people profit-focused, so they want a return. But they really understand that the best impact that can be made in a society is usually in a really complex system.
(23:20) It’s more of a place of leading from self-assurance. If I have doubt about the direction, it’s anchored in a place where I’m sure we will get to a solution on the other side.
(26:24) Feminine leadership will often will make you much more successful in the connection and coming from a good place, coming from a place of support, which then I think as long as you’re delivering the directness, on the other axis at the same time where you’re really able to not get hung up by worrying so much about people, how it’s going to land, and where it’s coming from. A true, honest place. I think that women, in general, are much better at getting that balance.
(28:59) This is about creating an army of small female entrepreneurs that are going to change the world but just really tackle the childcare crisis on their own.