September 17, 2020
A Conversation: Rise to the Occasion in 2020

Motherhood in 2020. We have had a YEAR. Between a global pandemic, job losses, school and childcare disruptions and and a movement for racial equality on top of managing you career and your family. There is no question about it -- it has been A LOT.

We sat down (virtually, of course) with 4 powerhouse business leaders, advocates and mothers to discuss how they're managing their lives, businesses and families during these challenging times. The conversation was hosted by Tech Sesh founder, Jessica Naziri with Hitha Palepu, Temi Adamolekun and Joy Burkhard.

This event was held in conjunction with our *Add to Resume campaign. Learn more (and get your tee) here and help us surpass our fundraising goal of $10,000 for Black Mamas Matter Alliance. 

While there is a lot to unravel in this year, we broke down the best, most-actionable takeaways for you to enjoy.

You can also listen and watch here (guaranteed to inspire you!)

Our Top Takeaways:

The stress and ups and downs of 2020.

  • Joy: “You’re allowed to be sad: acknowledge it. THEN figure out what is actionable.” Focus on one thing and do something.
  • In regards to a recent NYT article highlighting employees without caregiving responsibilities’ frustration that parents are receiving stipends/perks. In 2020, it’s about human kindness.  Think “Is my house on fire? No. But my neighbor’s house is, and I want them to get help.”


Love & Marriage in the time of Corona. 

  • Hitha’s suggestion? A Sunday check-in with your spouse or partner. The weekly ritual includes the unsexy stuff —  budgeting, weekly schedules, and also the emotional aspects of a marriage. It helps to level the playing field and to acknowledge the division of labor- all that goes on within a household and family.
  • She swears by the relationship frameworks in  Eve Rodsky’s Fair Play and it’s on our reading list, too. 

    Has 2020 pushed women’s issues back or has it brought attention to the broken, unbalanced system?
    • “Since March, things haven’t gotten easier, we’ve just gotten better at managing”
    • Hitha: We shouldn’t go back to “normal”, let’s use this time to reset our values and systems. They were broken before. Our capitalist system is designed to benefit white men. So when we think about the future, we want to redesign capitalism to be more inclusive.


    Motherhood gives us a unique opportunity to shape the future through the values we instill in our kids. Each of our panelists shared their favorite anti-racist resources for the whole family.

    • How you, as a mom, can make an impact on what has become of 2020? Think about your sphere of influence. Moms are incredibly influential. Start with your family. Have the age-appropriate conversations with your kids.
    • Kids read subtle messages (i.e. shushing,  avoidance) and internalize them, so be explicit about what you want them to understand about race and racial justice.
    • Temi: “Give kids books with diverse protagonists! They don’t have to be on combating racism specifically, but just exposing your children to other cultures and races is a good start.” 
    • Two Must Reads: Temi’s piece in Mother Mag about raising anti-racist kids and her piece on Cupcakes & Cashmere about diversity in kids books
    • “Choose books for yourself about people from others cultures and race”: Check out Kiley Reid’s  “Such A Fun Age
    • Buy from local bookstores or online at Ashay By the Bay (Bay Area-based) or The Lit Bar (NYC- based) 
    • Watch: Motown Magic (fun for the whole family!) on Netflix


    Confronting the Black Maternal Health Crisis | Black women are 2-3x more likely to die of pregnancy related causes.

    • Consider getting involved in policy solutions, learn more about Mom Congress:
    • Subscribe and support the Natal Stories podcast: a docuseries about having a baby while Black. Beautiful  and personal stories that communicate the history and the serious impact of this problem.
    • Learn more about Black Mamas Matter Alliance: 
    • $10 from the sale  of every *Add to Resume tee goes to BMMA. Buy one for you — and a friend! Flex your Motherhood Superpower and contribute to a worthy cause.

    For the remainder of 2020, what’s your vision? 
    • Jessica: Ask explicitly for what you want. 
    • Temi: Be honest with yourself and your time. Do what makes you happy. 
    • Hitha: Embrace No. 
    • Joy: Reset. Don’t forget about self-care. 
    • Everyone: Get rid of Mom Guilt. 

    Keep in touch with our panelists!

    • Joy: @2020_mom, @momcongress and 
    • Hitha: @hithapalepu on instagram, sign up for Hitha’s #5SmartReads @ and listen to her podcast at 
    • Temi: @tigertemi and @pembrokePR, a luxury and consumer lifestyle PR firm
    • Jessica: @jessicanaziri @techsesh

    What kind of panel should we host next? Send ideas to