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Olas at 4: A Conversation with the Co-Directoras

In their first month together as Co-Directoras, Sindy and Rebecca sat down for a casual conversation with Beverlyn (longtime Olas mom and now communications coordinator) to reflect on Olas at four years!


Check out the highlights of their conversation...*

What is a normal day at Olas?

Beverlyn: Rebecca, now that you're back full-time, what is a normal day like for you?

Rebecca: I don't think there is such a thing as a normal day at Olas! But it's amazing to be back and part of this team and culture that Sindy has built so intentionally over the past year and a half while I was in school. On a daily basis, it feels like we all have a lot to do, but these days the burden doesn't fall entirely on anyone's shoulders. For example, I feel like we've built a great dynamic collaborating on posts and communications. Right now I'm also working a lot on big picture strategy stuff, and I feel really supported by the rest of the team knowing that everyone is on top of the day to day!

Beverlyn: What about you, Sindy?

Sindy: For me too, every day is different! The constant is that my daughter Emily is my partner in crime. She often sits near me quietly and writes in her notebook and absorbs words from my conversations. I feel really grateful for the culture of Olas that there is a built in patience, and understanding here that our role as mothers isn't a burden but an asset. It makes me feel like I can keep giving my all because I know that no one is going to make faces or comments because there's a baby here...

What are your favorite aspects of Olas?

Rebecca: To me, what's special about Olas is that the Olas moms are the leaders of their own personal and professional development, and they are valued for what they can contribute intellectually, with the confidence to say, “Yes, I can talk to you about Rigoberta Menchú,” or “Yes, let’s talk about the debate between Torres and Arévalo.”  

Sindy: For me, of the places I’ve worked this is the most special because I feel that here our voices are heard, both in terms of the staff team and the Olas moms. The moms know that they can count on the team for support for far more than just training and facilitating their sessions. There's more than just an economic opportunity, but a real space to be heard.

Beverlyn: Exactly. I think another unique aspect of Olas that makes it special is that you get the opportunity to put your time in, the opportunity to grow personally, to grow professionally. That's the special touch that Olas has. Also at Olas, you can take care of your kids and family at the same time, and there’s an understanding that life can get complicated. 

Sindy: Yes, and in the case of women in the Zone 3 and 7 context, sometimes it's kids, but also extended family, neighbors…. In Olas there’s the opportunity to say, for example: "my dad is elderly and my heart is to care for him as he cared for me." One of the moms right now is in this position, taking care of her family, and also her father who lives a few houses down. For her, Olas is the opportunity to provide that care, while also growing professionally and earning an income. With this flexibility Olas moms are also able to continue being pillars of the community. For example there’s a mom right now who loves to serve, and she volunteers at another organization in Zone 3 during the week working with children.

A workplace built for and by mothers:

Rebecca: I think that society at large places a lot of nearly impossible expectations uniquely upon the shoulders of mothers in terms of being a full-time caretaker and worker, and those pressures and paradoxes are heightened enormously in communities like Zones 3 and Zone 7. Olas works to fit within the complex context of each Olas mom, in order to lighten at least some of that burden. 

Sindy: Right, many of the Olas moms in Zone 3 feel very self-actualized, you could say, because they're able to look after their kids at home and work at the same time. This is important in general, but especially relevant in the context of Zones 3 and 7.

Rebecca: And what's interesting is that this is absolutely a global issue.

Sindy: Exactly. Throughout history, women have always been working, but very few workplace environments are built to allow for or normalize being a parent and a worker at the same time. Olas' success just goes to show that a different kind of workplace is possible, and moms everywhere shouldn't have to give up on their dreams to take care of their kids, or be beholden to a type of professionalism biased against parenting, single mothers, or caretaking roles.

Welcome Beverlyn!

Rebecca: ...and Beverlyn, you've asked some great questions, but I also want to ask you something. You're entering into a new season as part of the Olas staff team. I want to know how you're feeling.


Beverlyn: I'm excited honestly! Ready to learn, which I think is the most important thing. I've really liked the fast rhythm; it's a little stressful but it's also really nice to feel the chemistry of the team, always being in constant contact and solving problems. The most important thing is that even though I'm new, everybody listens to my opinions.


Rebecca: You have great ideas!


Beverlyn: It makes me happy because not every workplace is like that. This has really been a refreshing experience.


Sindy: And what differences have you felt from before, being an Olas mom, to now being part of the staff team?


Beverlyn: A ton! It was honestly a huge change. I had no idea just how much work goes into everything behind the scenes with the team, and I really see that it's a 50/50 effort between staff and Olas moms to make everything run smoothly. I'm learning to adapt to a new rhythm and schedule, but everything is really great!

*Original conversation translated from Spanish

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