Amy Nelson

CEO & Founder, The Riveter

Mom to 4

We were immediately impressed by Amy when we heard her speak at Mom 2.0 this year! Her hustle and passion shined through when she talked about the amazing company she created: The Riveter.

 

The Riveter is a national membership network of community, content, resources and coworking spaces, built by women for everyone. The Riveter is built with intersectionality at the core - including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality and age - and see a world in which equity of opportunity in work and business is not a promise, but is a reality. Since day one, they've been committed to providing best-in-class professional and personal development programming and events, flexible membership, and collaborative workspaces to help everyone accelerate their companies, their careers and their lives.

Read our interview with Amy below, and check out The Riveter and their locations today!

https://theriveter.co/

 

The Returnity Project: Tell us a little bit about yourself and The Riveter!

 

Amy Nelson: 

I founded The Riveter in 2017 to create a space where I, as a woman and a mother - and others like me - could access tools, resources and community that felt relevant and helped me achieve my professional goals. This was not something I was able to find throughout my career in Corporate America. Before founding The Riveter, I practiced corporate litigation for over a decade in New York City and Seattle and worked as a political fundraiser for President Obama’s National Finance Committee. I had a successful career - and for many years felt comfortable working in the male-dominated space that is corporate law. However, when I shared I was pregnant with my first daughter, I felt a fundamental shift in my colleagues’ perception of me. This affected how I viewed my own career trajectory. 

 

I began exploring the idea of launching my own business when I was pregnant with my second daughter, around the time I learned a fact that has stuck with me -- nearly half of all highly trained women off ramp professionally after they have kids. This statistic angered me, yes - but given my own experience becoming a mother in Corporate America, it was not surprising. 

 

I signed up for classes to learn how to launch a business (after all, you don’t exactly learn how to write a business plan in law school). Many of these courses happened to be in coworking spaces - which felt shockingly similar to the male-centric corporate world I was leaving behind. There were very few women in the spaces and none in my business classes, so this felt alienating as I looked to build a new network and find guidance from other women founders who had made similar career pivots. And that’s how the idea for The Riveter was born. We are a national membership network of community, content, resources and coworking spaces, built by women, for everyone. We have raised more than $20M in venture capital funding to date, with ten coworking locations across the country and many more to come. 

TRP: You’ve spoken What inspired you to create The Riveter, and what gave you the courage to start your own business?

 

AN: I always say that I built The Riveter because needed it. As a working mom pivoting from corporate America to start my own venture, I lacked the resources and community to feel safe in doing so - and if this was my experience and what I needed, I figured other women must need it too. Much like the corporate world, entrepreneurship is often male-centric and lacks the infrastructure and focus to help women and other underrepresented groups succeed. And with women starting businesses at five times the rate of men, this should be something we’re all working to solve. 

TRP: Many of the stories we've shared on The Returnity Project focus on both the challenges and beautiful moments of motherhood; specifically the return to work. What was the return to work like for you with each of your girls? 

 

AN:

I was in a different place in my life and career with the birth of each of my daughters. With my first and second, I took a full six months off from my job in corporate law to spend time with my family and ease into motherhood (I know I was incredibly fortunate to benefit from paid leave and the ability to tack on unpaid leave on top of it - without the guarantee of parental leave in America, this unfortunately is not the reality for most women). When my third daughter arrived, my world was different. I learned I was pregnant just after I signed the incorporation documents for The Riveter. When she was born, we had just launched our second location and we were ready to raise our first round of venture capital financing to begin our national expansion. So, the early months post-baby were a constant juggle - sometimes the baby came along with me on fundraising trips, others she stayed with my husband and all days involved pumping between meetings and juggling the million other things involved in raising our two older daughters - that was just the reality. 

 

Each pregnancy and experience was wonderful and challenging in its own way. I am now on my fourth (and definitely my last) parental leave and will be taking about two months off before returning to the office. I plan to ease back into my full-time routine as it feels natural and comfortable to me and my family - this will mean bringing my daughter with me to work for a few months, whether I’m in the office or traveling, and other adjustments as necessary. I feel very fortunate to be directly benefiting from the flexibility and acceptance we have created for working mothers at The Riveter.

 

 

TRP: What advice would you give to other working moms? 

 

AN:

Part of making it all work is being intentional with your time. I am very clear with my personal commitments when scheduling and will decline an invitation if it interferes with family plans. I typically stop work around 5pm and jump back online to finish up after the girls are in bed. 

 

But my biggest piece of advice is to involve your support system. The only way this is all possible for me is because I unapologetically reach out for help, all the time. I convinced my mother, who is amazing, to move in with us when I had my third daughter. She has become a third parent to the girls. My husband, who is also highly career-driven, and I are very honest about our goals and how we work together to achieve them, both professionally and in our family. We trade off travel schedules so one of us is always home with the girls and coordinate on other obligations constantly, from school drop-offs and doctor appointments to swim practice. My colleagues are also incredibly understanding and they keep the magic happening when I have family obligations and especially now that I am on parental leave. However your support system looks, be transparent and lean on others for help - it truly takes a village. 

TRP: What are you most proud of?

 

AN

This is a tough question, but I am most proud of being a mom. My family is the most important part of my life and, at the end of the day, I am most proud of getting to raise four strong and wonderful girls. But The Riveter, in a way, is also my family. I am proud of the community we are building and the growth I witness every day. There is more in common between growing a company and growing humans than one would imagine.