Immigrants: Why I Want Them Influencing My Child

My husband and I started to watch Louis Malle’s "…And The Pursuit Of Happiness Last Night" and it made me think about all the wonderful immigrants I have in my life.  Malle’s movie was made in the mid-1980s. The conversation around immigration has evolved since then, for worse in my opinion, but the message of Malle’s film remains the same: immigrants make a country stronger.

Think about it. You have the most driven people on earth risking their lives so they can contribute to your economy.  And because we make immigrants wait so long to become documented, we essentially lose the tax revenue that the vast majority of immigrants are so eager to pay.  (But that’s a whole other issue that tax and immigration lawyers should write about more).

Most frequently, attacks against immigrants focus on the idea that they take jobs away from American citizens. Well, everyone takes a job from another person if you think of the workforce as a zero sum game. But what about all the immigrants who have started companies, provided jobs in their stores or invented products that spawn entire mini economies? I’m reminded of these immigrants every day. The deli on my corner, the CoFounder of Instagram, the women who take care of my child and enable me to work so I can place more women in jobs through PowerToFly. 

Yes, the women helping me raise my daughter are immigrants and now they’re citizens. Ester is from the Philippines, Juanetta is from Jamaica, and Joan, who was with us for a couple months when my baby was first born, is also from Jamaica. I don’t have three babysitters all at once. Juanetta comes for two days and Ester comes for three.

And to avoid any suspicion of nanny tax evasion, I’ll tell you straight up that I pay them via W2. I don’t provide health care, although I have paid for certain visits to specialists when they couldn’t afford it.  Now they are all beneficiaries of the Affordable Health Care Act.  I need this kind of childcare so I can grow my business. Sheryl Sandberg makes the case in Lean In that investing in childcare is all about investing in your future. You may be spending more money on it now than you want to, but proper childcare allows a woman to build a career that will allow her to become a bigger bread winner.

Back to Ester, Juanetta and Joan. The reason I’m so happy to have these women in my child’s life is because they’re living proof of what it’s like to be your own startup.

They left everything to start a new life. My daughter is lucky. Like me, she won’t have to expel a huge amount of energy and resources on being an immigrant. She’s also lucky because she’s being influenced by women who know what true effort and risk is. And she’ll grow up understanding what helps makes this country stronger: immigrants.

Charlotte and Ester: 

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Charlotte and Juanetta: 

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Charlotte and Joan:

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Why I’m Going To Start Blogging About My Life

I write all day. I’m really a professional emailer. These emails are a diary of the business I’m starting called PowerToFly and the life I’m building with my husband and our seven-month old daughter. 

Most people write their stories after they’ve been successful or after they’ve failed epically. Or if you’re someone like Lance Armstrong you do both. You get a ghostwriter to pen how great you are and then you get one to write about how deeply messed up you are to have spent years investing in a drug fueled illusion of greatness. 

Well my goal is to write my story as it happens. And if it’s a failure, so be it. If it’s a great success, well, then I’ve just given you detailed instructions on how to replicate it.

The other reason why I want to write this way is because they’re not enough women doing it. I see mainly men, some who are woefully unqualified, pontificating about how to start a business, or really, why they think a business is about to go down in flames.

I’ve lived through the growth of one business from scratch. I was the sixth employee at the Huffington Post and I stayed there for four and half years to build the news team. I wrote every headline and worked on many of the product developments the site still uses and builds on today. I didn’t write about doing all that work while thousands of other people were commenting on it. Why? I didn’t have time. I also don’t have time now, but I don’t want someone else to write my narrative anymore. 

So bear with me. Because you’re going to hear about how I’m Co-Founding and Co-Running PowerToFly, the first social platform that is already connecting women - mainly in tech - with remote work. My partner, Milena Berry is my tireless CEO and technical leader. We have a wonderful working relationship and I couldn’t be more thrilled that she asked me to join her on this journey.I’ll get into this more later. It’s Saturday and I need to take my family to lunch and then I’m going to play a little tennis, so I do something else with my hands besides writing my narrative.