Stay-at-Home Moms Filling Executive Niche

Lots of employers would like to be able to hire cheap, temporary teams of seasoned pros with experience managing $2 billion investment portfolios, running ad campaigns or earning Ph.D.s in neuroscience.

But few know the secret to finding temps of that caliber: Look on playgrounds and at PTA meetings.

The decision among some highly educated women to stay home with children is sparking a countertrend: The rise of the mommy “SWAT team.” The acronym, for “smart women with available time,” is one mother’s label for all-mom teams assembled quickly through networking and staffing firms to handle crash projects. Employers get lots of voltage, cheap, while the women get a skills update and a taste of the professional challenges they miss.

A team of five at-home moms hopped on a one-month project at Lending Tree to rewrite 600 job descriptions after several acquisitions and integrate them into its organization chart. “I was very impressed with the caliber of women” delivered by MomCorps, an Atlanta staffing firm, says Kathy Fritzsche, vice president, rewards, for the online lending exchange.

Ivanna Garibaldi Campbell, Charlotte, N.C., a former Bank of America senior manager who led the Lending Tree team, headed project meetings with her baby in tow.

Once she became a stay-at-home mom, she says, it was “tough to go from 500 mph to stepping back. … I found myself a little stir-crazy.” Skilled workers taking temp projects isn’t new, of course. What’s different about these teams is that they’re available on short notice because the women are usually at home; they tend to work cheap because their main motive is to keep their skills fresh; and they’re often extraordinarily well-qualified, having left the work force voluntarily when their careers were on the ascent.

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