Talk series focuses on how creative business owners can help parents, caregivers

Carmen Dahlberg of Belle Detroit makes a point as an employer to hire moms – because if you can handle a toddler temper tantrum while writing a white paper and get a shower in that day, you’re killing it as a parent.

Carmen Dahlberg

But, to be serious, Belle Detroit has a larger mission in mind for moms. The Detroit-based company is known for providing creative content and consulting services to businesses through a team of talented and trained Detroiters – mostly moms.

Dahlberg is one of the planned speakers at an upcoming Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) Design Incubator Talk: Parenthood X Design. The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, 4219 Woodward Avenue in Midtown Detroit.

These DCDT events are part of a creative economy-focused speaker seminar and workshop series, DCDT TALK. They are designed to reach and support new and growing creative businesses in Detroit. In 2019, DCDT Talk will be focused on the design community.

Speakers along with Dahlberg are artist Jenn Maine; Brooke Miller of Honey for Moms; and Chandra Moore-Banks, principal and director of design for coG studio.

The DCDT Talk will explore what it means to go from being an entrepreneur to being a parent and an entrepreneur. It’s no longer easy to stay up working on that design project until 3 a.m. How do parents balance professional creativity, personal creativity and the demands of family?

Personal story
Dahlberg is a mother to two children under the age of two; her youngest is five months. She knows the sleepless nights, the nursing challenges and everything else that goes with being a mom. But she’s also thought deeply about what it means to hire moms, what moms with nontraditional backgrounds need and what kind of opportunities she can create for women through Belle Detroit.

“This is about women’s access, especially access to opportunities for women with children,” Dahlberg said. “We’re trying to help women with barriers, who might have limited access to education and limited access to advancement. It’s about how to level the playing field.”

The fields Belle Detroit work within are ideal in many ways for moms of all background and experiences, she said. They work in design, writing and editing as well as graphic design. These are fields where you went to school – or whether you went to college at all – isn’t as important as the kind of work you have in your portfolio.

“We’re in a different era,” Dahlberg said. “There are so many more remote work opportunities and flexible work opportunities. … It means opportunities for people who wouldn’t have opportunities 20 years ago. It’s exciting to see the landscape changing.”

For employers like herself and others, she believes it is time to challenge traditional caregiving solutions, to think deeply about parental leave and policies that focus on parenthood and the challenges associated with caregiving of every kind, whether it is for children, siblings with disabilities or for aging parents, she noted.

“The culture around (parenting and caregiving) needs to change. Policy changes can address it one company at a time. But we need a cultural shift,” Dahlberg said. “We need to recognize you’re not doing it out of obligation. (Caregiving options) are part of a strong society, caregiving is a cornerstone of that.”