At I Want Her Job we love a good startup story, and we like one that involves two friends destined to meet and create a business even more. One day in early 2016, Annie Dean called her friends – asking them to direct her to the smartest women they knew. As fate would have it, a few friends directed Annie to Anna Auerbach, a woman described by mutual friends as a “force of intelligence” and full of energy. Over a phone conversation, Anna shared her thoughts on a business that would help create a marketplace for women seeking flexible job opportunities. Annie was instantly hooked on the idea, and this first phone call ignited a passion and partnership between the two dynamic women.

The idea became Werk, a business dedicated to helping women thrive in the workforce and find flexible job opportunities. Since launching earlier this year, Werk has received funding, created a marketplace for flexible jobs with over 60 companies – including Facebook, Uber and Samsung – and has hired a staff of four and developed a new product.

Anna’s Harvard MBA and McKinsey background, combined with Anna’s experience in practicing law, they say, has given them a distinct advantage during their research, analysis and business planning phases for Werk. As self-professed data geeks, Annie and Anna knew that data was showing them a business opportunity for a site like Werk was there. And as ambitious young mothers to toddlers with demanding professional careers, Anna and Annie understand firsthand the challenges women face when they don’t want – or cannot take a break – from working. In fact, research shows more than 30% of women end up leaving the workforce after having children. And, of those that left, 70% say they would have stayed in their jobs if they had been given more flexibility. Furthermore, a Bain research study has shown that women value flexibility more than titles, location and pay. The data, as well as common sense, shows the supply is there, and from a business perspective, flexibility lowers costs and helps companies recruit and retain top talent.

We’re thrilled to share episode 33 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast with you. We hope the story of Annie and Annie inspire you to shift your own thoughts on the work/life culture.