Jenny Galluzzo, Founder of The Second Shift
A huge supporter of women and a firm believer that the workplace should be flexible, Jenny Galluzzo and her partner Gina founded The Second Shift. Working from personal experience, the women wanted to create a platform that connected driven, smart, and talented women with companies in need of their expertise. This busy mom of two is making waves in the New York start-up community, creating a safe and inclusive environment where women are in the spotlight and never sidelined.
Melissa: Tell us about The Second Shift. Why did you develop it?
Jenny: I worked in journalism for more than a decade. It was all I ever wanted to do. I’m a firm believer in the universe making what is supposed to happen, happen. However, my career wasn’t happening the way I’d envisioned. Around the time I had my first son, I was burnt out. I couldn’t find a career that fit exactly what I wanted to do and I was taking on tons of side projects to see if there was something that got me more excited.
I was seeing a lot of women who were in the same place as me: either looking for work after having a child or stopping their career completely. My partner Gina was one of these women.
Melissa: How did you get The Second Shift started?
Jenny: There had to be a better way to connect these two audiences: businesses who need these expert women and women who want to work but who have moved or want to switch careers. These experienced, educated, and talented women shouldn’t be sidelined. That’s the genesis of The Second Shift. Officially launching in 2014, we tested it out over the course of a year and built a small platform to see if we could get women onboard and companies to use our talent pool. It slowly grew and now we’re at the point where we have 10 people working with us, we have 1000+ members across the country, and we just hired our head of partnerships, who’d previously been at AOL.
Melissa: Why do you think The Second Shift is important?
Jenny: People are always talking about the talent pipeline. We are trying to solve that issue by keeping women going in their careers. If we want to crack the glass ceiling and have more than 6% of CEOs in America be women, you have to have women engaged in the workforce. The workforce needs to be more flexible to keep women. So, we’re that flexibility. We provide those opportunities. We work with start-ups to private equity firms, to global companies like Microsoft.
Melissa: How do you partner with these companies?
Jenny: We hired a head of partnerships! We raised money to go out and hire more people. We have a 4-person sales team.
Melissa: Take us through your day. What is your morning routine?
Jenny: I wake up very groggy at 6:15. My kids get up at 6:30 and I fight with them for 45 minutes until they leave the house. I do a workout and then I am at the office by 10.
Melissa: Your partners come from different backgrounds. How do you all work together?
Jenny: It’s super collaborative. Our COO, who is also our product designer, is used to working in very male environments. Our CFO came from banking, another male dominated workforce. Everyone thinks it’s so nice to be around other women. We have lunch together and use that time to engage in an open dialogue. We practice what we preach. We believe that we are all grown-ups who are going to deliver what we’ve promised, on time. You will be empowered to go off and get your work done. There is flexibility, there is a schedule, you are here when you have to be, and deliver what you have to deliver. We work with you first, a sort of “try before you buy”, and see if we can all work well together.
In LA, people wear workout clothes all day.
Melissa: The workforce and office dynamic has probably changed since these women were last interviewing for roles. Do you offer tips to women who are trying to get back into the workforce?
Jenny: We should! A lot of women we work with are 35+. You are going into these offices, for example Facebook, that are much younger. You’re going to stand out no matter what. What is professional now? Don’t wear workout clothes, but often times a suit is too professional. There are programs that we make sure they are aware of, like Slack. But we really should offer more counsel and make sure our women are up to speed.
Melissa: How would you define start-up style in New York?
Jenny: I went to a women’s start up conference last week. It is definitely dressier for women than it is for men. The women are less dressy than corporate America, no pantsuits or shift dresses. It’s very Everlane-y: cute pants, nice top, and cute shoes and accessories. It’s not fashion-y. There’s no one out there with flair. Designers you would see are safe and classic like Rachel Comey, Stella McCartney, Everlane.
Melissa: How do you describe your personal style?
Jenny: I went through a phase where I was wearing workout clothes to work. That doesn’t fly in New York. In LA, people wear workout clothes all day. You just don’t see that here. I felt like I had given up on myself. The truth is, I stopped doing workouts where you have to sweat, like spinning so I can just throw something on and not have to shower. When I do get dressed, my style is a little irreverent, but I like basics too.
Melissa: How do you balance your work life, mom life, personal time, time with your husband?
Jenny: I think you need to be super intentional about it. You have to prioritize different things. One day I may want to pick up my son from school and take him to dinner, but that can’t happen every day. The more you work, the more important weekends become. That’s when we have a lot of our family time now when it used to be when I would do a lot of personal stuff. I really believe in being more specific and intentional with how you spend your time. I say no to a lot more stuff than I used to.
Melissa: If we were to raid your closet, what accessory would we find the most of?
Jenny: I am a big fan of any kind of head décor. Not hats so much, because I think that short hair with hats is very tricky. So, I am a big fan of the headscarf and have been since I cut my hair off in sophomore year in college. And I have a million scarves. My bracelet collection is also growing and turning me into Mr. T a bit.
Melissa: What would we find in your bag?
Jenny: My laptop. A charger bag that organizes all your chargers. Lip balm. And my Filofax.
Melissa: What is a piece of advice you would give women trying to re-enter the workforce?
Jenny: Working is a muscle memory. You shouldn’t take on too much, too fast. You need to work your way into being back at work. When people who have been out of the workforce for too long and come to The Second Shift, we will say “no, but come back”. My advice is to go out and think about what you want to do, think about the skills that you have, and the things that you think you’re really good at, and then find somebody, whether your brother, uncle, husband, and do what you want to do for free for them. Offer your services and have fresh work on your resume. Then it really hasn’t been so long since you’ve been out of the workforce. No one needs to know that you did it for free.