Cheyne Little, Product Education Manager, Etsy

Brooklyn, NY

Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm ET

Carys (daughter) 7 months 

Cranberry + white chocolate oatmeal lactation cookies (made by my mother-in-law)

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager, by Michael Lopp

Parks & Recreation or The Good Wife

I live by my iPhone and keep my team organized with Basecamp

Since I’m still nursing, I get ready in the morning and wear a robe until right before I’m walking out the door to head to work.

Carys is still young so we mainly like to walk in the park and meet our neighbors’ dogs.

Etsy on Maybrooks, a career resource for moms

1. Tell us about your working mom journey. What are you doing now and how did you get here?

Back in 2007 I started my own Etsy shop selling accessories and handbags I made in my studio in Texas. I loved running my business but was looking for a big change and an opportunity to work with a team. Four and a half years ago, I landed a job working working on Etsy’s Community team. I moved to Brooklyn and started my job the very next day. Since then, I’ve had great opportunities for growth within the company. Now, I’m happy to be managing a team of four, focused on helping our sellers use our site tools to help run their businesses.

2. You’re part of a pilot program at Etsy where as a new primary care giver you receive executive coaching to help you transition back into work with a baby. How is this going and what are you learning?

The coaching sessions have been my lifeline after returning four months ago! On the professional side, my coach helps me work through prioritizing my team needs. Time has never been more valuable and I’ve needed to adapt from my previous go-to methods.

What I personally find most refreshing about the program is how real we can be with each other. A few weeks after I returned to work, I realized this was the first time in many years that I couldn’t give all of myself to my work — my time, my energy, my heart (all of which I gave willingly and passionately). It felt so confusing to realize I had something else I wanted to pour myself into.

Having my daughter has been a much more transformative experience than I ever imagined. I often feel like I’m a different person and it’s great to have someone help me organize my thoughts and to know that I’m not doing it alone.

3. How has becoming a parent changed the way you manage your team?

Becoming a parent has generally made me more patient and mindful of others, which has certainly affected how I approach my relationships at work. I feel much more empathetic and I want my team to succeed now more than ever.

4. You also co-wrote with other mothers at Etsy a guide to using the parent’s lounge (aka pump room). What does the guide cover?

New mothers have enough on their plate. It’s so important that returning moms aren’t stressed or embarrassed about how everything is going to work with pumping at the office. Once we published the guide, we shared it with the entire company with the hopes that it would increase awareness and support for returning moms (and make everyone feel supported and comfortable upon their return from maternity leave).

The guide covers:

  • How to book a room & what to expect in each
  • How to buy a breast pump using our health insurance
  • A step-by-step with reminders of things to bring and how to stay comfy if it’s your first time using the room
  • Extra resources for moms who are struggling with getting the results they want or run into other complications with nursing and pumping

5. It sounds like many of the executives at Etsy are leading by example when it comes to work and family. Can you give us some examples of what this looks like/means internally?

A significant number of people on our executive team have a family of their own. The executives who started their families while working at Etsy took full advantage of our parental leave policies, including our CEO Chad Dickerson.

I’m lucky to have my daughter pretty close to the office and our culture is super family-friendly, so she’s come and visited for lunch a few times. The last time my daughter visited the office, our CEO Chad stopped by to see her and chatted with me about being a parent. It feels right that I’ve never felt as though I should hide that part of my life from my colleagues and teammates.

At Etsy, I feel I’m encouraged to be a whole, 3-dimensional person, not just an employee. From our annual talent show to our Etsy School program (where employees teach and learn new skills from each other, from jewelry making to 3D printing) we share and celebrate the things we’re passionate about that extend far beyond our day-to-day work.

Etsy basically loves babies. New members of the Etsy family are often welcomed through an emphatic, company-wide email. We get Etsy baby gifts. We have an annual Halloween party just for kids and dogs. Our kitchens have high chairs to encourage lunch visits with family. These are just a few, seemingly small choices that make me feel that my child is just as celebrated at Etsy as I am.

Photo credit to Shevaun Williams.