Our first Alumni Entrepreneur Showcase for this month is Megan Tidbury.  Megan graduated from the MAS class of 2013 and has just opened the doors of The Village, here in Lausanne. 

The Village is a coworking space with an adjoining crèche where parents can take their young child to work with them but they are looked after by a childcare professional whilst the parents work.  The idea stemmed from Megan’s two business partners who had modelled the idea from other successful spaces in the USA, Singapore and Australia, with the underlying notion that parents shouldn’t have to choose between working life or being a parent to a small child– they can do both! 

The Village coworking space

The idea was pitched to Megan and she thought it was the perfect solution to what she had experienced in her working life as a mother.  Fortunately for Megan, working in the international sports industry meant that she has been able to telecommute and she had often worked from home with her two young children.  Yet from this stemmed many problems – 

“I felt guilty when I was working and not paying attention to my kids and then guilty when I was playing with my kids and not working! I also struggled with the seclusion I felt from working at home – I really missed the social interaction that comes from going to work, I think this interaction is essential for professional development.”

The Village seemed like the perfect solution to all these problems. Many educated, skilled women make the tough decision to stop working after they have a baby because it is not economically beneficial or because they do not want to leave their children during the first few months or years. It is a problem for enterprises as they lose trained and competent professionals and it is a problem for society as it leaves wasted formation of talent meaning cities cannot reach their true economic potential.

The Village Founders

Megan and her business partners at The Village want to eliminate parents having to choose between their careers or a proper parent-infant relationship.

“The first years of a child’s life are crucial and parents should remain close by to offer the best environment for the baby whilst maintaining their right to a career and the right to economic independence.”

The Village combats these issues and allows parents to remain in the workforce through a fully professional coworking setup whilst offering childcare for infants 0-4 years in the same building.

Megan’s philosophy as founding partner at The Village is simple – have a passion for an idea and the belief that you are solving a problem. 

“You run into challenges but the ability to adapt and the notion that every problem has a solution leads you to persevere.”

The goal at The Village is to create balance and an environment where anything is possible.

“I feel really blessed to work in the exciting world of international sport but also to have a young family. I want to be able to give other people the opportunity to do this as well.  I really believe that with a bit of flexibility, achieving all your goals is possible.”

Megan is appreciative of her business partners, 3 is better than 1, and all 3 women have very different backgrounds and very different business networks.  When a problem arises, they discuss, they brainstorm, they ask for advice and they rarely cannot find a solution together. 

“Letting the small stuff go means we never lose sight of the bigger picture.”

The best piece of advice Megan got was at the MAS 2014 Graduation Ceremony at the Olympic Museum.  The key note speaker for the night was Ms Lisa Caroline MacCallum, Former Vice President of NIKE Inc (2001 – 2014).  Ms MacCallum had had a hugely successful and demanding career but was also a mother to her young daughter.

Megan asked her that evening how she balanced working life and being a mum.  Ms MacCallum advice was

“When you are at work, be at work.  When you are at home, be at home. – Lisa MacCallum”

Lisa MacCallum, 2014 AISTS Graduation Speaker

This was the underlying notion that put an end to Megan working from home and encouraged her to follow the vision that is The Village.

For further information on The Village click here and you can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram