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The Power of Community in the Workplace: Emma Poulton’s Journey as a Working Parent

The first day of a new job is both exciting & nerve-wracking. For a parent returning from maternity or paternity leave, the same feelings surface—even if they’re a veteran employee.  

It’s these challenges that Emma Poulton, Director of Business Development, faced as she returned to work after her daughter was born. Thinking her worries might be shared with other working parents, she decided to post her struggles & thoughts on LinkedIn.

“I was driven by the desire to inspire & connect with others who might be going through similar challenges,” Emma says. “By opening up about my journey & experiences, I hoped to create a supportive space for dialogue where people can share their struggles, triumphs & insights.”

Opening the conversation with authenticity

Emma was hoping to foster a sense of community & empowerment for those returning to work with young kids at home. The response she received from her post did just that—and more.

Colleagues, friends & strangers alike from around the world reacted, commented & messaged in support of this working mom of two. Many said that they felt the same way but hadn't been able to put into words just how they were feeling.

“By being open & genuine about my challenges and experiences, I can foster a culture of authenticity & vulnerability in my professional community,” Emma says. “It allows me to connect with others on a deeper level, fostering empathy & understanding among peers.”

With more than 1,000 reactions & 100 comments, a supportive community of working parents formed. One person even reached out to Emma to say that her story gave them the inspiration to apply for a different role, taking a risk they normally wouldn’t have taken.

How strengthening bonds deepens support & belonging

Emma’s drive to connect with others & her dedication to being authentically herself (one of Spiro’s core values!) is a key part of understanding why so many others resonated with Emma’s LinkedIn post.

Connections develop when commonalities that bring people together are realized—and community develops when these connections work together to accomplish a shared goal or mission. A community member’s sense of belonging & understanding pulls them into that group & deepens the bonds, especially when the conversation revolves around something so personal & emotional.

“Reflecting on my journey, the concept of ‘community’ holds immense power & value,” Emma says. “It's the foundation on which I've built support, found guidance & developed meaningful relationships.”

Whether pumping between meetings or leaning on colleagues for support, Emma has found that embracing vulnerability & seeking support from peers can help, not hinder, the return-to-work process.

“This approach has not only strengthened my relationships with working parents but has also fostered trust & rapport with clients, ultimately leading to more meaningful collaborations,” Emma says.

By creating a work community that is understanding & trusting, the Spiro•naut community has been able to foster a positive & collaborative environment. The inclusivity & understanding of diverse perspectives are key in creating a space where every Spiro•naut can do their best work for our clients, in an environment that is welcoming to all.

“Community not only validates our experiences but also serves as a source of motivation, reminding us that we are never alone in our journey,” Emma says.