It’s 7:30 a.m., and your four-year-old waddles up to you in his pj’s, as you’re frantically trying to finish your at-home blowout. You need to get out of the house. You’re already late for your job, only he’s sick and wants you to stay home. So, his wee hands reach out and he asks you for a hug, and that’s it. You don’t want to leave. Moreover, you don’t want to go through this part of your morning routine ever again.

And Inkwell’s Manon DeFelice would be right there with you. “It’s fine if you want to lean in to your career,” she says, “But what if you also want to lean in to being a mom?”

Frustrated with a lack of flexibility in traditional corporate jobs, Manon founded Inkwell as a recruiting service to help match capable professionals with startups and forward-thinking companies in need of top-tier talent on a flexible basis. It’s a win-win. The women recruited by Inkwell find flexible jobs that grow their resumes, and the startups that hire them get exceptional seasoned talent.

Prior to starting Inkwell, Manon led nonprofit AHA Foundation and served as its general counsel. At AHA Foundation, the first organization focused on ending honor violence, forced marriage, child marriage and female genital mutilation in the United States, she helped spearhead federal and state legislation. Previous to that role she served as assistant counsel in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Criminal Justice.

In episode 12 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Podcast Editor Polina Selyutin speaks with Manon about starting a company, how to get more women in the boardroom, and the importance of being an advocate for yourself and other women.


  • On Getting Started: Manon is a big believer in outsourcing and hiring people better than her in a given area. How’d she find the team? It was right under her nose. The team Manon worked with to build her business ended up being her first talent pool for recruiters.
  • Movin’ On Up: Inkwell’s talent pool has since grown into more than 3,000 – all individuals seeking flexible jobs.
  • Her Nonprofit to For-Profit Switch: Starting her career as a women’s right’s attorney, Manon didn’t think she’d end up leading her own staffing company. “I come to this from the idea that, really, there has to be a staffing alternative to the work full-time or not work model … I still feel that I’m helping women and in turn helping their daughters by creating role models.”
  • Having Cake, Eating It Too: “It’s fine to stay home if you want. It’s fine to work full time if you want. But if you want both, you have Inkwell.”
  • The Secret Sauce: Manon believes offering flex time is a really great way to retain your female talent and attract new talent.
  • On Her Resume: “It’s a long life. You can have several different versions of different careers during that time.”
  • On Starting Inkwell: “ … I wanted to change the way companies hire women. I want not only the startups and the small business to use us, but to really get some big companies and organizations to realize that offering flex time is really a great way to retain your female talent and to attract new talent.”
  • A Seat at the Table: “Historically, we have less women in power. I think the fact that we are the ones who carry the babies, and who deliver them, and breastfeed them, is part of that problem. So, if we can make work environments more flexible, we’ll have fewer people dropping out.”
  • Convey + Convince: Everyone out there can be a mini inkwell, Manon says. She suggests women help one another find flexible roles for one another – a type of flexible job matchmaking.
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