Burton | Work That Works For Mothers

Featured Image courtesy of Burton via REI

Featured Image courtesy of Burton via REI

I'm a decent skier, but snowboarding is a liability for anyone as uncoordinated as I am.  Burton Snowboards is an unlikely brand for me to get excited about except that Donna Carpenter, their CEO, is a dream.  Her husband founded the now 800 people global business in 1977 and the two married a handful of years later. Donna took on co-founder status and was heavily involved with Burton including expansion into Europe and eventually the overall operations and financials as the CFO.  

She left that role in 1992 to focus on motherhood.  She took a seventeen-year pause from the day to day work at the company to raise her three boys but stayed connected and even more creative.  As the kids got older, she built Harvest Market, in Stowe, VT, inspired by her desire for healthy, convenient food options for families. 

Donna returned to Burton in 2009 when (if I'm doing the math right) her kids were in high school, taking on international sales.  She transitioned into the President seat two years later and as of this past year, now sits at the helm as the CEO.  

Donna mentioned to REI that "Because [Burton is] a private company, we can invest in what we want to invest in.”  So Donna has taken tremendous interest in advancing women in their organization - setting up mentorship programs, hiring policies to remove bias and most relevant for this conversation keeping a keen focus on making the workplace inviting to new mothers.

Outside of introducing a generous leave package for mothers and fathers, Donna includes in that policy ways to support those parents returning to the workplace.  Most enviably, Burton offers caregivers to accompany new parents on work travel, so they don't have to be away from their children.    

Someone once told me that for organizations to commit to supporting families, the company has to truly value the role of women and families at their core.  Burton and Donna Carpenter are case and point.

What organization do you know that are similar in this way?  We'd love to hear! xo

Source: REI blog: Life Outdoors