From corporate America to launching a caregiver platform

Jenna Vassallo
Feb 8, 2024
Person works on a laptop

If parents have better support from employers and access to affordable childcare, there’s no telling what they can achieve at any stage of their career.

Blessing Adesiyan, CEO and founder of MH WorkLife, profoundly understands this.

A Nigerian immigrant who had her first child during her senior year of college, she navigated single parenthood while climbing the corporate ladder at brands like PepsiCo, DuPont and BASF before pivoting her career to focus on something near and dear to her heart: caregiving.

We interviewed Blessing to hear about how she got to where she is today – from building a successful engineering career before pivoting to build a platform for caregivers in the workforce.

Here are three highlights from our conversation:

Parents need accessible, affordable childcare

Imagine showing up to your first day at a new job with a baby.

That is precisely what Blessing did after securing a chemical engineer job at a West Virginia manufacturing plant. She had found childcare for her infant daughter just two days prior, but had to pick up her work badge first.

“That just sort of set the precedent for what my career was going to look like; for the work that I ended up doing with MH,” she said.

Blessing’s agility and ability to juggle single motherhood and her new career sent her on a whirlwind tour of cities around the U.S. for various companies in which she rapidly rose up the ranks.

She was grateful for the opportunity but faced challenges with accessing affordable childcare—which was one key experience about Blessing's story and what she built today.

Returning to work after kids is difficult without support

When she got pregnant with her second child, Blessing was a senior sales operations leader in a global role. She broke down to her husband, wondering how she’d juggle her demanding career and a newborn.

His response?

“Well, you just have to find a very honest way to do this, something that feels good to you, something that feels natural, that allows you to do your best work and live your best life.”

Blessing took to Instagram to share her concerns about the hardships mothers face in the workplace, particularly when returning to work after having a child.

She posted an open invitation for other moms in her network to meet for coffee and, much to her surprise, the cafe was packed with dozens of women when she arrived.

This made her realize she was onto something; that there was a demand for this type of support: helping working mothers - and caregivers more broadly - navigate their careers while managing responsibilities at home.

Determined as ever to bring the conversation about supporting caregivers to a larger audience, Blessing held her first conference three months later in downtown Detroit with more than 300 attendees from companies like the University of Michigan and Google.

“So my husband was like, ‘Well, I think this is a company now. So that was when I was like, ‘OK, I guess [I’ll call it] Mother Honestly, LLC,’” she said.

From 60 people in a coffee shop, Blessing now reaches over 25 million parents, caregivers and employers.

Caregiving responsibilities shouldn’t all be on women

A big catalyst for starting a caregiving platform was Blessing’s belief that society and the workplace must change so that women don’t shoulder all caregiving responsibilities.

She first started getting her message out via Mother Honestly, LLC. newsletters, social media and events. She then rebranded to formally announce her new company on the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt.Her goal was to pivot from discussing the problem to being part of the solution.

So she started engaging with various legislators through some partners, like Mom First, the National Partnership for Women and Families and the National Women's Law Center.

These meetings led to Blessing co-founding the CareForce, a group of about 300 leaders nationwide in the private and public sectors that discuss elevating care in America.

Introducing MHWorkLife

Blessing was a driving force behind creating multiple employee resource groups supporting parents and caregivers in the workplace throughout her corporate career.

It’s part of the reason she’s pivoted Mother Honestly to its new name, MH WorkLife, which she describes as a dynamic ecosystem dedicated to building a robust care infrastructure for today’s workforce.

Blessing now offers three products: Care Academy, Care Coverage and Care Wallet, which allows companies to set aside money to help employees cover unexpected care costs.

Her company also has its Care at Work summits, which have grown to more than 500 employers, parents, and caregivers coming together once a year to discuss elevating care in the workplace.

MH also launched WorkLife Equity, a national nonprofit committed to advancing workplace equity by advocating for the needs and aspirations of vulnerable workers, including BIPOC and service and hourly workers.

There’s still so much more work to be done, however.

“We need more investors. We need the community, we need legislators to pay attention to this space, the care economy, and just fund the heck out of women,” Blessing said.

Working parenthood
Podcast recap
Work discussion

Hear more about Blessing’s story and the caregiver platform she’s building

Listen to this episode of The False Tradeoff!