Why I Quit the Corporate World and Founded Avanti Alliance
I’m Dana Underwood, founder of Avanti Alliance. I have spent my entire professional career (13 years and counting) working in corporate retail. It’s a career that I loved… for its creativity, daily demands, and constant change. It has afforded me a great salary, opportunities to travel the world, and a network of amazing colleagues and friends. Sounds great, right? Well, it was and then, I quit.
I waited until later in life to start my family for a plethora of reasons including my successful and fulfilling career. When I did finally start my family, I came full stop into a brick wall professionally.
I knew juggling work and a family would be hard, but this was HARD. Insanely hard. I felt like a failure at all things constantly. I was torn between needing to spend more time at work and missing time with my baby.
The expectation that women will return to the workforce after baby and pick right back up without missing a beat, is a falsehood. I was driven to succeed and was used to the demanding hours my career sometimes required. But, what I hadn’t anticipated was how big of a toll those demands would take on me and my new family.
My female boss at the time was not supportive with challenges and appointments during my pregnancy. She was even less so once I returned from maternity leave and was juggling my job responsibilities with the demands of a new baby. I was certain that I deserved the latitude to have both a meaningful career and personal life. I felt alone and knew something had to change.
Overwhelmed, I did some research and learned I wasn’t alone, but rather in good company – one of the 43% of highly-qualified women with children who had left careers or were “off ramping” for a period of time, according to Harvard Business Review.
I was certain there had to be a better option which would allow me to perform at the high level I was used to, without feeling like I had to sacrifice my personal life for career success. And so, I started looking, and looking, and looking.
Spending hours searching for part-time jobs, I soon discovered there wasn’t a single place I could easily find and review jobs that were focused on the flexible schedule I needed at the professional level to which I was accustomed. It turns out the work situation I had returned to after my maternity leave, was the very best situation I could have hoped for, as it forced me to think and act differently and create Avanti Alliance.
The goal of Avanti Alliance is not only to curate amazing part-time and contract positions for experienced professionals, but to curate a pool of top talent for progressive companies who understand the value of individuals, who would leave the workforce altogether if not for these opportunities.
There is no better case for flexible working arrangements then the potential talent who would otherwise be overlooked.
We are the 43%
- The professional who needs to offramp to take care of an ailing family member or a new child.
- The millennial who just wants more out of life.
- The Gen Xer who has worked half of their career and needs meaningful work, control over their schedule, and work-life integration.
- Talented, smart, and driven experts.
Our Core Beliefs
We believe that personal and professional success is not mutually exclusive.
We believe that a great career and a great life are possible, but in order to achieve a high level of success in both, we need to think AND act differently.
We believe that work should fit life. Not the other way around.
I am grateful for all of the connections I have made along the way and the inspiration I have found in many of you. Should you ever find yourself asking the same questions I did and dreaming of something better, take the leap and join Avanti Alliance. If you’re intrigued by our mission, connect with us and follow our story as we redefine careers.
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