Michelle Kennedy wears many hats. Among them, she’s a true entrepreneur, tech-savvy trailblazer, and a badass mom to four-year-old son, Finlay. She was the deputy CEO of European dating site, Badoo, and remains a trusted board advisor at Bumble, which she helped to launch alongside Whitney Wolfe. Now, as co-founder and CEO of Peanut, an app that “shows you like-minded mamas near you and makes it easy to meet,” Michelle has finally landed on the thing she is most passionate about — transforming her own experience of loneliness and isolation as a new mom into an opportunity to create a platform where new moms can connect and foster a real sense of support and community. We’d say that’s a pretty empowering way of turning lemons into lemonade.
We asked Michelle what it means to be a mom in 2018, what working-mom hack she can’t live without, and what it means to have it “all.” Here’s what she had to say.
Peanut recently turned one. What has been the most rewarding part thus far?
Some pretty incredible things have happened to Peanut since we launched. From being featured on Good Morning America, to the Today Show declaring us an app “you can’t live without,” and of course, Apple featuring Peanut at WWDC 2017. We have over 300,000 women using the app and the highlight is always when we hear the success stories. We love when women have connected on Peanut to start a business, to find a nanny share, to find a real support network. I mean, when a woman finds her best friend on Peanut, how cool is that?
When people say, “Wow, she has it all — CEO of a successful startup and a working mom!”— what are your thoughts?
LOL! What does it mean? Life is a juggle. Sometimes I’m amazing at work; sometimes I’m the best mama; very rarely, I achieve both at the same time. There is no “all,” particularly as an entrepreneur. There is huge sacrifice — the magic is in being confident in the decisions you make.
So, what does it mean to be a mom in 2018?
I think motherhood has completely transformed in terms of how society views it. To me, motherhood has always meant superhero status. When we think of what women who are mothers are achieving personally and professionally and the perceptions we’re challenging, we’re driving the conversation away from the “traditional” views and making a difference to how future generations view motherhood. So what does it mean in 2018? To me, it means changing the conversation surrounding women.
How do you find balance? Any particular self-care rituals you turn to?
As much as I can, Friday nights are for being at home and Sunday afternoons too. I also try to be disciplined and turn my email off at 11 p.m. on at least a couple of nights a week. And… does red wine count as self-care?!
Have a tried-and-tested working-mom hack to share?
Choose outfits (kids and yours) the night before. It makes getting out of the house a little easier in the morning.
Who’s your power-mom crush?
Every mama! Seriously, the more stories I hear about mamas, the more I realize how incredible they are. But you know, Tammy Duckworth is pretty cool.
What’s one thing you want to tell every new mom?
Get a network. Find people who can support you, who can pick you up, who can listen. Not just because of motherhood, but because they understand you, the woman, and your journey.
THIS STORY IS PART OF OUR SERIES WOMEN OF THE FUTURE. WE BELIEVE IN WOMEN SUPPORTING OTHER WOMEN AND IN THIS SERIES, WE FOCUS ON THE EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN WHO REPRESENT INNOVATION, RISK-TAKING, LEADERSHIP, AND STYLE. THESE WOMEN RAISE THE BAR FOR THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, REDEFINING MOTHERHOOD FOR THE BETTER AS THEY PURSUE THEIR PROFESSIONAL CAREERS AND PERSONAL PROJECTS. THEY ARE THE WOMEN OF THE FUTURE.