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Mom to the Corps

Allison O'Kelly helps working moms like herself climb the ranks--without sacrificing the mom part along the way.

This story appears in the March 2008 issue of Start Up.

Vital Stats Allison O'Kelly, 35, of The Mom Corps Inc.

Company staffing company that provides flexible opportunities and training for professional working moms

Projected 2008 Sales $3.5 million

Juggling Act Allison O'Kelly, a CPA with a Harvard MBA, was on the fast track at Toys "R" Us when she had her first child in 2003. She always expected to keep working. "I'd always been able to do it all," she says, "so I thought, why wouldn't I still be able to do it all?" O'Kelly returned from in September 2003 but ended up calling in sick whenever her son was sick. "I knew it wasn't going to work for me--I needed to figure something out," she says. In January 2004, she left her job and started doing contract work as a CPA.

Go-Getter By her second year as a contract CPA, O'Kelly was so busy, she started subcontracting work out to friends. One suggested she take a cut. "I realized this was so much more than my friends and I," she says. "Here were all these companies looking for talent, and all these talented women looking for flexible work that met their personal needs." In March 2005, O'Kelly had her second child, and by July of that year, she launched Mom Corps.

Key Hire O'Kelly's original marketing for Mom Corps consisted of "tell a friend" e-mails to moms. One of the e-mails reached Maria Goldsholl, who had a strong background in HR and was looking for the kind of career flexibility that would give her time with her children. She left a six-figure job to join Mom Corps as its COO. "I would never have been able to afford that caliber of talent if I didn't provide flexibility," says O'Kelly. "Companies feel the same way. Certain industries are already feeling a huge shortage--particularly finance and accounting. They're dying [to find] people and are willing to be much more flexible."

Growing Up Mom Corps now offers services in seven cities and even launched an online job board in December. Sales more than doubled in 2007, reaching $1.6 million. The company is looking to raise additional capital to fund expansion.

Liz Hamburg helps entrepreneurs launch new businesses as the founder and president of Upstart Ventures. She can be heard on WOR radio (710AM in New York) on Launchpad, a weekly segment focusing on entrepreneurs and small business.

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