Inspirational Woman: Tobi Asare | Founder, My Bump Pay

Tobi Asare

I am a Mum of two and the Founder of My Bump Pay, an online platform giving women the tools to smash the glass ceiling with a baby on the way and beyond. 

Having been the first in my office location to go through the maternity process, I went on a steep learning curve and became fascinated by how mums and mums-to-be go on to build successful careers amidst the barriers that surround working mothers.

I saw there was a lack of editorial led advice on navigating this huge life shift and I needed this along with real tactical advice and guidance. I was inspired to create a platform to help give women the confidence to achieve their career goals and take them through their career journey overcoming the motherhood penalty – so I launched My Bump Pay in 2018.

I also work in the corporate world, heading up a commercial team for a global information services firm. Alongside home life and the managing the life shifts the everchanging pandemic causes, I am quite busy!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Many moons ago, I studied Law and went to BPP Law school in London. Coming to the end of my Law studies, I knew I didn’t want to work as a Lawyer; but had a real interest in entrepeneurship and building community based platforms. I then spent over 10 years working with talented entrepreneurs who’ve built seriously impressive businesses. I was at the heart of developing and leading client service teams, whilst managing commercial relationships within large investment and corporate companies. I loved this and also love the work I do now which is on the commercial side too.

I would say I definitely think ahead and carefully consider all of my next moves. I started My Bump Pay with the intention of building a diversified business, the knowledge I have gained in my corporate life is a huge asset for building the platform.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Since the pandemic hit it’s been very challenging juggling home life and work. I almost quit the vision all together in April 2020, I had a small baby and a two year old and was struggling to do it all and doubting my abilities. I was on a daily walk reflecting and thinking to myself I will give it one last big push and see how the community respond. It was the best decision I made last year – deciding not to quit on my dream of being able to help women navigate the world of working motherhood.

I also definitely sometimes struggle with imposter syndrome – initially I wasn’t sure exactly how I could bring value to an audience but as time has evolved, I have really started to understand my strengths and have used those to my advantage in building the community

What has been your biggest achievement to date? 

Growing this platform and the community from 2000 to just over 10,000 followers in the first lockdown whilst on my second maternity leave was a great achievement. We are now close to 15 000 followers. Also being asked to speak at a Financial Times event and helping hundreds of women through our masterclasses navigate their careers and motherhood was ana amazing feeling.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I think I have a good balance between being analytical and planning but also delivering on the creative side. A publication might come to me quite last minute and ask me to create a snappy engaging reel, which means my evenings are quite spontaneous. I love this kind of work and am always looking to adapt My Bump Pay’s editorial side and I’m happy to be the face of the business too. My community also love fashion, beauty and wellness content, so its fun turning my hand to this as well as offering tactical advice on maternity guidelines and allowances.

To just have the creativity and no business acumen would leave little room for growth and the fundamental business planning needed to build the platform is also something I feel I can deliver on. I like the balance of having a planning day and then the next is creating crazy content. It’s all good fun!

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I am a huge advocate for mentoring, especially for mothers in the workplace. I will always encourage women to seek out a mentor, especially one who understands the complexities of working and motherhood. I also encourage women to seek out mentors who can eventually turn into sponsors and be a voice on their behalf and advocate for them when they are not in the decision making room. I’ve been lucky to have incredible informal mentors throughout my career who have helped shape and guide me. Sadly, I don’t think there enough women visible in leadership, nor are there enough women from diverse backgrounds to help mentor the next generation. I hope to see more progress here.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

More support for women in the workplace, particularly women who choose to have children. For example, we are seeing the pandemic negatively affect women’s working structures a lot more than men.  I have heard a lot about there being a huge assumption that the mother will be the one who goes on furlough and there are so many factors to blame for this – e.g the gender pay gap and because the man tends to earn more there is an automatic assumption that the woman should go on furlough. I think companies need to verbalise this discussion more and proactively put options in place. How about exploring the idea of flexible furlough so that the burden isn’t on the women’s career? I think it would be devastating for the pandemic to set us back even further and unfortunately this seems to be a possibility.

I would encourage women to do the research and think about what the options could be for them during this demanding time. Put a plan in place and propose the best plan for you to your employer. Hopefully small changes and proactive decisions can help move this in a more positive direction.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I am hugely ambitious, but ambition is just a dream if you don’t vocalise where you want to go and act on it. So, I would say to my younger self, just go for it, you will be so surprised what you learn about yourself and how much you will grow personally and professionally by just going for what you really want. I have learnt so much in 2020 from really leaning into my platform and community, I’ve discovered that I can push through and conquer challenges in a way that I didn’t think possible especially whilst juggling two children under the age of three.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am excited to expand on the information we can offer women through the platform. Currently readers can download practical toolkits and I host regular masterclasses like Nail Your Career with a Baby on the Way and Nail Your Return. Both popular courses are designed to support and prepare women at each stage of the journey and I hope to offer more of these and expand in 2021.

I also want to continue to engage with my social media following which is fast becoming a great space for women to share their thoughts and concerns, particularly specific to challenges they are having during lockdowns. This allows me to not only connect with women but also form a good plan for tools and content that will serve these concerns. I want the platform the go-to for women, and as we build the brand and our offerings, I hope word of mouth will mean women know there’s a safe and reliable space they can use.

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