This Pittsburgh entrepreneur wants you to ‘Bring in Your Mom to Work’ on March 8

Remember Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? It’s like that.

Erica Peterson, Moms Can: Code founder, with her sons (left)

Erica Peterson, Moms Can: Code founder, with her sons (left)

Moms Can: Code / facebook
MJ Slaby

As a kid, maybe you skipped class for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Fast forward to 2018.

Erica Peterson, founder of Moms Can: Code and a Who’s Next honoree, created “Bring in Your Mom to Work Day” to fight agism and sexism in the tech industry.

The Pittsburgh-created event, set for March 8, is an opportunity to show mom what you do all day, while bolstering her tech skills. March 8, of course, is also International Women’s Day.

When Peterson tells people her company is named Moms Can: Code, the response is sometimes a laugh and “that’s cute.” But it’s not about being cute, she said. The membership-based network is about giving moms the resources they need to learn to code, and its newest initiative, Bring in Your Mom to Work Day, is all about women learning about technology.

The day is not just for tech companies and startups, Peterson said, adding that she hopes businesses and co-working spaces across Pittsburgh and around the world participate.

So how can your company host a Bring in Your Mom to Work Day?

A toolkit launched Tuesday and outlines event plans for participants. Moms Can: Code created printable promotional posters, email invite templates, a schedule for the day and a “Becoming Tech Savvy workshop.” Its suggested schedule includes breakfast, a welcome from the CEO or department leader, the workshop, games, a tour, networking and lunch.

Peterson hopes that moms who attend will get involved by bringing pictures for a wall of employee baby photos and making name tags that have embarrassing childhood nicknames. (Oh, great.)

To participate, companies are asked to sponsor the Moms Can: Code membership for at least 10 women. Currently, annual membership is $50, so that’s $500 per company.

For companies, the event can show prospective and current employees that they value family, Peterson said. For moms, it’s a way to learn about their adult child’s workday, and an empowering way to learn about technology. Peterson added that it’s not just moms who can attend — aunts, grandmas and wives are all welcome.

Since launching this summer, the Moms Can: Code community is international and largely made up of moms ages 25 to 45, Peterson said.

And those moms tell her all the time that their moms love Moms Can: Code and the TedxPittsburgh Women talk that Peterson did about why moms should quit apologizing.

But older moms have yet to make the jump to coding and might still be overwhelmed by technology-focused careers, Peterson said. So she’s hoping Bring in Your Mom to Work Day can help.

“We want them to be more comfortable,” Peterson said.