Arranging fruitful partnerships is the cornerstone of Kelly Watson's Los Angeles-based business, Career Partners. Watson creates high-level job-sharing opportunities for executives in companies that would otherwise lose valuable managers to the mommy (and daddy) track.
Watson, 37, started the company in August 2006 after opting out of her own career as a marketing executive to take care of her three small children. "I've been on both sides," she says. "I know what it's like to have a valuable member of my team leave, and I also know what it's like to be a mother who just can't do a 60-hour workweek anymore."
Using precise psychological and skills testing, Career Partners finds two executives to share a job and then provides ongoing coaching to ensure the success of the partnership.
This novel approach has struck a chord both with employers, who are keen to retain and attract the best people, and with parents, who don't want to entirely abandon their careers during the early years of child rearing. "There's no limit to this concept," says Watson. "I can see a co-CEO one day."