I get a lot of invitations to evening events – all for great things. Startup judging events, student entrepreneur events, networking events, happy hours, open houses, startup launch parties, and more. I could go to an event a night easily, and often times its more.
When I was in my 20s, evening events were great fun. But now that I’m, uh, not in my 20s anymore, evening and weekend events are really hard because I have two young children. I travel a ton, I’m often away, and the only time I get to see my kids is 2 precious hours in the evening and on weekends. And weekends are even tough because I’d like a LITTLE personal time – so even on the weekends I’m not with them 100% of the time. So when asked to attend an event at night – I want to join you, I really do, but the decision I have to make is between your event and my family.
I’m often asked how to make startups and the tech environment more female-friendly, and my easy answer right now is “hold lunch events instead of evening events”. So tech, consider hosting more lunches! Bonus, you don’t usually have to buy alcohol and the food is less expensive. Or at least hold happy hours where the event is done by 5:30 or 6. That way people (notice I didn’t say women, I said PEOPLE, because this is a family issue not a female one) with families can still get home for dinner and bedtime, like we did with our 7 Weeks of Awesome series at Techstars.
As an aside, I look forward to the day when my kids are old enough that they don’t want to hang out with me anymore and my evenings will be more free.