J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: CEO of Inkwell, Manon DeFelice @InkwellTeam

Name: Manon DeFelice Title: CEO of Inkwell Twitter: @InkwellTeam

Manon DeFelice is a Mom, an attorney, the former executive director and general counsel for a women’s rights foundation and the founder of Inkwell, a startup that draws upon her diverse experiences. Inkwell connects talented parents and other flexible workers with businesses and nonprofits who need specialized help on a part-time or project basis. Manon is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Manon: I love building things, so it’s exciting for me to have a startup; it’s a chance to build a business from the ground up. I also love being my own boss and having the ability to craft my schedule so that I can have time with my three kids and husband. In fact, I created Inkwell so that other women can do the same: find flexible employment that lets them use and express their skills and talents, yet that also gives them work-life balance.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Manon: I’d like to see more women have the options that I have. The problem that I noticed several years ago, and that inspired me to create Inkwell, was that everywhere I looked I saw fantastically brilliant women leaving the workforce to have more time with their children. The result was a brain drain, a loss of talent from the workplace. At Inkwell we have a solution for that: We connect people who are seeking flexible, rewarding work (think of all the accomplished moms that you know) with companies that need exceptional yet affordable talent. A flexible worker costs less money, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Manon: I wish I had started Inkwell a year earlier. Even though people told me it was a great idea and I should go for it, I sat on it for a while. It was safer to stay in my old job, with my steady paycheck, than to take a risk and do something. It’s not easy to take a leap like that, but I’m glad I finally did. We need the kinds of opportunities for women that Inkwell can offer.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Manon: It’s about providing for my family financially as well as physically — and by that I mean being physically present in my family’s life. Being a mother, and making sure my family comes first, is totally tied into my idea of success. It’s about putting my husband as #1 too. Having a successful marriage is just as important to me as having well-educated and well-provided-for kids.

Me: Who are your heroes?

Manon: My heroines are everyday women who are making it work despite great challenges. Women who survive breast cancer. Single moms juggling work and kids. Everyone faces significant struggles and obstacles at some point, and nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone handle them with strength and grace.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Manon: I think it would be the untapped workforce of highly accomplished women that inspired me to create Inkwell. These women are eager to lend their skills to companies and organizations that need them, and are looking to make a difference in today’s dynamic, evolving workplace. Finding them was like finding gold — a valuable resource that the world needs to keep moving forward.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Manon: I don’t know, but I wouldn’t craft it myself. Instead I would have an awesome Inkwell mom come up with something great. My approach is to surround myself with experts, people who are amazing at what they do, so that I can focus on what I do best. It’s important to get help; we can’t do it all ourselves. We need support from friends, family, and a top-notch staff.

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Manon: I am creating my life every day so that I will have no regrets. I think one big regret that many parents have later in life is that they spent too much time working and not enough time with their family. I have designed my life in a way to make sure that’s a regret I will not have.

Me: Anything else we should know about?

Manon: We have a lot of amazing candidates at Inkwell — highly accomplished professionals with talents across a range of industries. If you or someone you know is looking to hire, please check us out or send your referrals to Inkwellteam.com.

This post originally appeared on Kelly Hoey’s website. Keep up to date with Kelly’s latest Insights by signing up for her Innovator Insights newsletter.


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