Meet Mary Kay Ziniewicz
Entrepreneur, Wife, Mother, Forever Learner and Scrappy Survivor.
We knew we didn’t want kids
I was certain I didn’t want to be a mom. My husband, Keith, didn’t want kids either. It was one of the things that made us a perfect match. And then the unexpected happened—we found out we were pregnant. We’d been vacationing in Costa Rica for a month, and when we returned home to Minnesota, got the surprising news. It completely caught us off guard. But when we saw our baby on the ultrasound for the first time, everything changed. In a split second, Keith and I fell in love with the tiny dot on the screen and couldn’t wait to meet our daughter and take on our new role as parents.
After Lily was born, we decided Keith would be a stay-at-home dad, while I worked in marketing and business development for two different Twin Cities law firms. Then, when Lily turned 10, Keith went back to work and I decided to work from home on the marketing consulting company I’d launched. As I waited with other moms at the bus stop, I began to notice one question the women were asking each other regularly: “What are you doing today?”
Bus Stop Conversations
I quickly realized how different my situation was from the other mothers. I had a successful business and a fulfilling career. Many of the other moms were highly skilled professionals interested in working, but there were all kinds of barriers—family responsibilities, lack of support, scheduling constraints, guilt. I learned that more than 40 percent of women don’t return to the workforce after their first child is born. Those who do face all sorts of biases and misconceptions around availability, dependability, relevance and more. As I continued to do research, I realized the enormous impact that removing those barriers and stigmas could have on the economy. I began to dream of a business model that would allow moms flexibility to work when, how and where it made the most sense for them and their families. And that didn’t necessarily mean returning to the same type of work we did before having children.
The idea continued to grow
The idea bounced around in my head for a while. I thought I’d need funding to build a website and hire a team. Then I had coffee with a successful startup entrepreneur in Minneapolis who suggested there were ways to put my idea in motion without a lot of money. His encouragement was just the motivation I needed to take the leap. I began developing my new business concept in 2018 while I continued to work as a marketing consultant. This new venture pushed me outside of my comfort zone on an almost daily basis, and there were times I thought about giving up on the idea. That’s when then-12-year-old Lily stepped in and built the company website, and Bus Stop Mamas officially launched.
Bus Stop Mamas is Launched
With Lily as my chief technology officer, and the additional support of a dedicated team of volunteers I call Super Mamas, I developed a network of moms with a variety of skills and backgrounds. Those moms have filled a critical need for hundreds of small to midsize business owners seeking workers in all kinds of positions—temporary, part-time, full-time and more. I calls it the #9to3movement, because I believe work needs to look different in the 21st century. Providing moms with the flexibility to meet family obligations—like being at the bus stop—would advance equality in business practices exponentially.
Bus Stop Mamas is not a staffing or recruiting company that uses keywords and algorithms to match candidates and employers. I’m all about putting people first. The process for connecting moms and businesses is straightforward—businesses post any job opening to the network as long as it offers flexibility—and moms select opportunities that appeal to them. I and my team make introductions and the business owners and moms take it from there. The businesses pay a referral fee to Bus Stop Mamas. Women pay nothing to join the network, which is currently more than 1,000 moms who all heard about Bus Stop Mamas via word of mouth.
Bus Stop Mamas is growing quickly and has attracted the attention of the Twin Cities startup community. I have shuttered my consulting business and now devotes 100 percent of my time to what has become my second baby. I credit my first baby, Lily, and my husband for making the new business possible. Though I may not have planned to be a mom, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. If I hadn’t experienced motherhood, I would never have had those bus stop conversations or recognized the need to elevate the extraordinary talent of a huge and underutilized segment of the population.
More About Mary Kay
For over 20 years, I’ve transcended business cultures internally and externally. My footprint is seen in law firms around the country. Most recently, I launched Bus Stop Mamas, a digital platform, that instantly introduces super businesses with super people–moms and dads. We’re called Bus Stop Mamas for obvious reasons–mom tends to interrupt her career for her family. Not always, just mostly–over 40% of women exit their career after their first child is born. Bus Stop Mamas believes mom knows best in what works for her family. That’s why we let her decide. Check us out. You will find an opportunity that works for you and your family schedule too.