Featured VentureMom – Cherie Hoeger owner of Saalt
This woman is doing so much to help the women of the world. See her incredible story of providing menstrual care products for women across the world. “When I learned that lack of access to period products affects over 62% of the world, which makes girls miss school and women miss out on economic progress every day, I decided to do something about it.”
When you step into Saalt’s office in Boise, Idaho, you’re likely to encounter a heartwarming scene – children comfortably nestled on their parents’ laps or happily playing at their feet. Cherie Hoeger, the CEO and co-founder of this provider of period care products, is a mother of six herself, and her vision for the company was firmly anchored in the needs of families, especially working mothers.
Recognizing that the traditional 40-hour workweek often poses challenges for women striving to balance a career with motherhood, Hoeger took action. Given that 80% of Saalt’s workforce comprises women, many of whom are mothers, she made it a mission to prioritize their support and flexibility. To that end, Hoeger allocated 10% of Saalt’s office space to house a complimentary in-office preschool for employees’ children and implemented policies for paid personal and sick leave to address family needs. “Children are an integral part of our office environment,” Hoeger shared, underscoring her commitment by bringing her own 7-month-old son to work.
“Being a mother and pursuing a career don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” Hoeger asserted. She emphasized that women founders must break free from outdated work models and champion working mothers. Research underscores the existence of the “Maternal Wall,” a barrier that unfairly perceives mothers as less competent and dedicated in their professional roles, among other sexist stereotypes. Hoeger believes that women, having experienced these obstacles firsthand, are uniquely positioned to challenge and transform this narrative. By fostering such an inclusive culture, Saalt has successfully attracted female talent that might otherwise be underrepresented in the workforce.
The maternal wall is just one of the many hurdles that women-owned businesses confront, and the challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic. Business owners have shared their struggles, including battling gender stereotypes, securing funding, and grappling with limited access to childcare. However, instead of waiting for external circumstances to change, women entrepreneurs are taking the lead in driving transformation themselves.
“As female founders and leaders, we wield immense power to dismantle barriers and empower the women we lead,” Hoeger emphasized. She believes that if the world’s most pressing issues are to be solved, it will be innovative businesses like theirs that lead the way. The question she poses is, “If not us, then who?”