Reimagining Paid Family Leave
With Dirk Doebler
Before Dirk Doebler, there was no such thing as paid parental leave insurance. Now, Dirk is changing the lives of millions by offering a unique program that is changing the way Americans live and work.
Dirk Doebler is the founder and CEO of Parento. Parento is employers’ all-in-one solution for working families. With its insurance-based parental leave & support program, Parento enables companies to retain and elevate working parents, particularly working mothers.
This unprecedented brand is transforming the landscape for employers and making increased retention and engagement of parents a reality. Parento is proving that investing in working parents is good for business.
Headquartered in New York, Parento recently completed the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator and its policies are backed by A-rated reinsurers.
Dirk is committed to helping businesses capture the missing $12 trillion in global growth (McKinsey) by reducing the 43% of highly-skilled women who leave the workforce after becoming a mother. Prior to founding Parento, Dirk held roles in the finance and the consumer wellness industries, serving as CFO at the women-founded Dame Products. During his time at Dame, he played a key role in strategy development and execution to grow annual revenue 10x and achieve profitability with minimal outside equity. Prior to Dame Products, Dirk worked at Barclays and in Analytics at Sikorsky. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in Economics and Finance.
Build the world you want to live in
Dirk Doebler was working at Dame Products when he noticed a disturbing trend: Their ads were constantly being rejected because their products are marketed towards women. In stark contrast, male-focused brands such as Trojan, Viagra and Roman were flying past ad censorship.
Dirk realized that there was an undiscussed societal bias against companies created for and by women. He began digging into inequalities in the world of finance and marketing and investigated a major gap in the industry: Paid Family Leave. Realizing that a lack of paid family leave is keeping women out of the workforce or permanently stalling their careers, he identified a need for an unprecedented new company.
Look to the future, not the present
When founding Parento, Dirk did not use other insurance companies as an example. After all, they didn’t provide the type of insurance he was working to create – and constantly disappointed their consumers.
Instead, Dirk focused on reforming the entire experience of paid parental leave. He interviewed finance experts, collected data to prove that paid parental leave helps both families and companies, and discussed issues with both human resources and company finance departments. He even evaluated luxury brands and the type of customer experiences they offer their clients.
An unprecedented brand requires visionary leadership
While approaching the issue of paid parental leave, Dirk encountered cultural challenges, archaic ideas and technical obstacles. But none of that slowed him down.
Currently, most companies do not offer paid parental leave at all – much less a plan that entices top talent. Employees were feeling unappreciated and even disrespected by the companies they were working for, which often expected them to act like nothing had changed after their leave had passed.
He also found that paid parental leave is usually only offered to women who are giving birth – leaving out fathers, adoptive parents and foster families. This leaves ample room for inequity in households. Women therefore become significantly more likely to leave the workforce or experience career plateaus.
Dirk sought to build a plan that offered more than just basic insurance – it provided ongoing support and coaching on work-life integration. By caring for employees and eliminating sources of inequity and stress, Parento helps parents return to work feeling inspired and motivated.
“Ignore the negative things people say about starting a company. Sure, you have to work hard and it takes a lot of time. But don’t let that sway you. Only really listen to what your users and customers are saying.”
“This is a program that did not exist. No one had paid parental leave insurance. We had to create it from the ground up.”
“I was trying to offer paid parental leave to my employees. Being in finance, I understood the challenges of trying to budget for that – How to mitigate the risk, and how to make sure employees are coming back after you pay them not to work for three or four months because that’s a concern for a lot of organizations. That led me to talk to dozens of finance leaders and I discovered that they don’t know how to budget for parental leave. They don’t know what the ROI is, if there’s going to be one.”
“The most important thing is, it’s gender-neutral. It’s going to cover parents whether they’re giving birth, adopting or fostering. We actually don’t really care about the parent’s gender or how that child gains a home, we just want to know that the employee is bonding with a new child.”
“We provide a support system. Employees have access to unlimited emotional support, and even parenting advice before, during, and after leave. Most employees use 12-14 hours of support with our coaches during their leave. There’s someone helping them manage their anxiety, stress, how to get their baby to sleep, and then work-life integration. We help them manage their calendar, and make sure that they are adjusting back to work.”
“We can build analysis for companies. We can determine how many women they have likely lost over the years due to parenthood. We can put a price tag on that for organizations. We make it transparent to companies, not just intended to sell. The ability to bridge the divide between HR and finance is huge.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Learn all about Parento, the world’s only paid parental leave insurance company at https://www.parentoleave.com/
Follow Parento on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParentoLeave
Connect with Dirk Doebler on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ddoebler/
Read Medium’s article interviewing Dirk Doebler on their website at https://medium.com/authority-magazine/working-well-dirk-doebler-of-parento-on-how-companies-are-creating-cultures-that-support-sustain-75f78d6ee56a
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