Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

To all the First Dudes

I have been glued to the Democratic National Convention (DNC). When Hillary Rodham Clinton came on stage last night I teared up. This is a woman, who in 1979 was told/asked by a reporter that “One gets the impression that you’re not all that interested in state dinners and teas and garden parties, the kinds of things we tend to associate with governors’ wives.” And last night she claimed the DNC nomination for President! President! This was an historic nomination, 240 years in the making.

But something else struck me — the role Hillary’s husband and partner, President Clinton, played. It was crystal clear it was his turn to stand beside her. President Clinton delivered a barnburner speech which re-defined Hillary, and talked about how she sacrificed her own political ambitions to stand beside him. As he walked behind her as the balloons dropped last night, it made me tear up for the second time. The Clinton’s have obviously had their challenges, but they faced them together — as partners — and kept supporting each other as they pursued their dreams. And now it is President Clinton’s turn to be first dude.

I have a strong other half. He is my partner in life, and now in business. And watching last night I couldn’t help but think of him.

Let me start by telling you that this is not a story I ever thought I would tell. Pre-Josh, I was a perpetual single career gal. I did not think I needed, nor was I looking for a partner.

But that changed pretty quickly.

Josh’s support for me, and his daughter, struck me so honestly after watching President Clinton’s speech then saying bye to him and his daughter at Penn station. I watched him sling his daughter’s dance bag over his shoulder, give me a kiss bye, then head off to bring her back to Toronto.

For his daughter, Josh is a rock. He brought her to New York to encourage her to follow her dreams; and side note, no big deal she won a scholarship at the Broadway Dance Center for next summer. But more, Josh had her experience NYC and encouraged her to be independent. He let her lead the way on the subway, taught her about the city, and talked to her about the importance of being able to stand on her own. He is purposely raising a strong independent young woman.

This support is something I am also very familiar with. I have experienced it first-hand. Because for me, Josh’s support help turn me into a co-founder and entrepreneur.

You see as former lobbyist and communications consultant you are paid to sell your ideas. And I did very well at selling my ideas. I was living my own version of a “lifestyle business.” Working for large multinational corporations, you make a certain amount of money and live well. But you are not taking a risk and don’t cash out on that reward. But more important, you only have so much control and responsibility.

It was one of those idea’s, while sitting on a patio with Josh, that lead to Hyr. What if there was an on-demand model for shift work? Josh knew to take that idea to Tom, and 72 hours after sitting on that patio, we were three partners embarking on the Hyr journey.

But even following that meeting, and Tom and Josh’s agreement that we should start a company, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Hyr was going to be my next “job.” It took months for me quit my other job and take the leap. The idea of giving up a by-weekly paycheck and benefits was very scary. But Josh made sure to keep encouraging me, and I can’t thank him enough for giving me the push.

I am not afraid to say that it was Josh’s support which helped get me here. I am a strong woman, but my partner makes me even stronger. He is not afraid to sling a dance bag over his shoulder, or help his partner achieve dreams she didn’t even know she had. And watching President Clinton in his ‘first dude’ role made me think of how important my first dude is in both my, and his daughter’s, life. We are very lucky to have each other on this scary journey of creating a startup.

Let’s encourage first dudes, because with them we all become stronger. It does not take anything away from my strong female voice. It helps amplifies it.

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