Leading through Leave: Advice as a New Parent from a Silicon Valley Executive- Christina Johnson, VP of Operations, Beyond Pricing

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Christina Johnson - Beyond Pricing

Christina is a data-driven business professional with over 13 years of experience in strategy consulting and operating at start-ups. With a proven ability to analyze and execute, she has evaluated over 30 acquisitions and scaled international operations via process improvement and change management. Christina is an expert at wearing multiple hats and rolling up sleeves to solve problems and push boundaries, and recently added being a new mom to her resume. 

Beyond Pricing is an automated dynamic pricing solution for Airbnb and other vacation rental sites. Utilizing real-time market data to ensure price recommendations maximize revenue and occupancy for hosts. They bring the same sophistication utilized by the largest hotels and airlines in the world to the individual Airbnb and vacation rental host, at a fraction of the traditional enterprise software cost.

Read the interview to learn how Christina prepared for and returned from maternity leave as an executive in Silicon Valley.

How did you prepare your role and team for responsibilities while you would be out of the office prior to taking leave?

I am at a fast-growing start-up and had the opportunity to hire additional direct reports a few months before my leave. I spent the month prior to leave training these employees.

I also prepared for leave as if I was leaving for the company for good – all responsibilities were covered with a clear handoff to a new owner. My CEO was very supportive of me taking maternity leave and took on some of my responsibilities before I left, allowing me to focus on training others before my leave.

Are there any particular insights or experiences from your leave and becoming a new parent that has impacted the way you now work?

Absolutely.

Having had to handoff all of my work prior to maternity leave has made me more periodically evaluate my workload and continue to hand off work where possible. When coming back, I had a clean slate and had time to be strategic. It felt great.

Over time, however, administrative work crept in as did questions from teams I supported but did not manage directly.

It’s always important to evaluate where you are spending your time and prioritize what you need and want to do each day.

What about the culture of a workplace do you find particularly appealing for someone seeking a role who is also balancing life with a family?

For me, it’s been critical having supportive company leadership that either, have children of their own or can sympathize with the needs and demands of parent life.

I started to leave at 5 pm every day, right on the nose. I’d never done this in my entire career. Because of supportive leadership, I can leave and not feel guilty about it.

Any tips for parents returning to work after having a child, what’s worked well in balancing work and family obligations?

My biggest recommendation is – simplify your commute.

I live in the city but started driving to work instead of taking public transportation. Time is money and the cost of driving or Uber becomes nominal compared to the cost of childcare or having extra time to spend with your child.

I also couldn’t imagine having a long commute on top of balancing work and family.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit Christina Johnson and Beyond Pricing on LinkedIn. 

Read more Guild Talent articles on our blog.

Jeff Possiel

Jeff Possiel

Content Lead | Guild Talent

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