Community Spotlight: Cassie Manning

Cassie Manning

This is a guest post by Associate Program Manager, Cassie Manning. If you are a Community member with a unique story to share let us know.

Pivot to Passion

The year 2020 ended with a noticeably heavy weight on my shoulders. The physical muscle fatigue of stress and tension alone was undoubtedly the product of 10 months spent in international pandemic turmoil with only a temporary remote job and the mental taxation of full-time toddler parenting. Far greater than the strain I felt physically, was a deeper emotional nagging that I knew had been sitting in my subconscious for a while, previously buried in the constantly moving pre-pandemic life I used to live.

With so much unrest, discomfort, and catastrophic change, all seemingly crashing down overnight. I began to wonder if the pandemic was a final straw that would break my ability to hide behind 55-hour workweeks, two-hour-long commutes to the office, and never-ending family needs and plans.

Now, months into isolation, with only the constant minute-to-minute questions of my toddler, I realized I needed a change. More significant than a career change, I needed a whole life pivot.

My professional career spanned ten years of sales and customer service in the hospitality industry. Mostly all corporate work, with a few years as a wedding planner and a stint working for a friendly mouse in Central Florida. The problem? How exactly could I craft my story to prove my skills could pivot into more meaningful work?

If I were making a whole life pivot, I’d need to think about, you guessed it, my entire life! I’d spent years compartmentalizing every piece of me. There was professional Cassie, mom, and wife Cassie, just Cassie as Cassie (the last one carries the most sarcasm). To finally do this career thing right, I set out to decide what I needed as a whole and made a goal list of my non-negotiables for my next career move. My list was three things: flexible scheduling, which for me meant fully remote work, a company culture that fostered and encouraged work-life integration and making an impact. As it turned out, the nagging feeling was a feeling brought on by a misalignment of my personal and professional values. I felt robbed of family time and dissatisfied by the hundreds of hours a month I was giving to a career that no longer suited me.

But could I find work I was passionate about? Could I find what felt like having my cake and eating it too? Did such a unicorn of a company or job exist?

Enter The Mom Project.

For the first time in my life, I started my job search focusing on the company rather than the position or job title. I knew if I could track down companies and organizations that aligned with my new list of goals, I would waste less time on endless applications and more time in efforts that pinpointed what I was looking for. It was a brief morning scroll of LinkedIn that effectively sealed the deal on my pivot.

A post by a company called The Mom Project. The company name was intriguing, but the website search drove me straight into a world of powerful women I didn’t know existed. “Moms deliver,” right out of my goal list, was the mission statement of my dreams. Here was a company outwardly boasting the benefits of moms and women in business and boardrooms. Asking women to bring their whole selves to work and businesses to understand the litany of benefits they would reap in return.

As fate would have it, as it so often does, there was a LinkedIn Live scheduled for a week later. The Live focused on RISE, the first initiative of The Mom Projects, newly formed non-profit MomProject.Org. It is a scholarship program committed to accelerating equity for moms of color, it provides access to upskill certifications while harnessing the power of community, support, and job placement—all in as little as three months and at no cost to participants! The program details compelled me. I connected with the director right after, and we had a great conversation. That same day (here’s that fate part), an associate program manager job was posted. Passion to pivot into mission-driven work isn’t enough to make you qualified for the job, but it’s enough to compel you to craft and deliver your story. 

Everyone’s journey to a career pivot is very personal and raw. For some, it comes from a place of joy, sadness, craved or feared change, a job loss, or a pandemic push. For me, it was all the above, with a little voice that told me I deserved to bring my whole self to every part of my life and a gnawing dissent for change in my family and career trajectory. If you’re considering a pivot or have been thrust into one, I implore you to embrace it, make your list of must-haves and don’t stop until you get it. If you feel stuck or out of place, remember that your daily feelings won’t just change, you have to set the boundaries, block the time, and change your path. You must do the work to architect the life you desire. Your unicorn is out there, and with some hard work, it may not be as mythical as you think. 

Q&A with Cassie

1. How did you find The Mom Project?

I was scrolling through the jobs section of LinkedIn when I saw a job listing with a small icon that said, “The Mom Project.” The company name struck me right away and I clicked the link to connect to The Mom Projects website.  


2. What motivated you to sign up?

I was blown away by The Mom Project—right on the home page was a call to action that “moms deliver.” I was amazed a company was talking and advocating about all the ways moms contribute to a thriving work environment versus detract. The Mom Project was the first time I realized I could and should be both a mom and a career professional, bringing my whole self to everything I do. It was such a confidence awakening for me I created my profile that minute.


3. What are your favorite resources of The Mom Project? 

Once I found The Mom Project, I scoured The Study and attended as many LinkedIn Lives and community events as I could. These were huge motivators to keep going and the resources were speaking to me both as a mom and career professional. The single biggest resource was The Essential Interview Guide. I referenced this often once I was offered interviews.  

Cassie Manning is a compassionate listener and talent advocate, helping women and moms advance their careers to unlock economic growth and greater representation while encouraging them to bring their whole selves to career and family. Currently, she works full-time as an Associate Program Manager at The Mom Projects non-profit She lives in Central Florida with her husband and a spunky three-year-old little girl. She can be found in an acupuncture session in her limited free time, hiding from her toddler. 

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