This Mother’s Day, Rare Bird would like to express our deep appreciation to all you mothers out there, but especially to those in the Flock. We know that being a mother is (more than) a full-time job in its own right, and yet we see the working moms on our team balance the demands of work and family with continual grace and excellence, year after year.

A lot has changed at Rare Bird over the last 25 years. While the three co-founders all eventually became parents, there certainly wasn’t enough room (or a need) to worry about where nursing mothers might find privacy in Troy’s garage, the first office for Rare Bird. And yet, in our expansive Carmel headquarters today, we have a space where such mothers can find a moment of privacy.

As the self-described Rare Bird Mom O.G., design director Ashley Nixon can lay claim to being the first woman hired by Rare Bird—and the first non-founder brought on board—so she’s witnessed how the company culture has evolved to better serve the moms on staff. “It has been incredible to have coworkers now become new moms and be a part of their journey,” she says. “We have come a long way.”

Alysia Legler is one such coworker. She became a mom for the first time a little over a year ago. “Rare Bird has been so supportive of this transition for me, and everyone has been so encouraging and understanding,” she says. “My coworkers stepped in without hesitation while I was on maternity leave, and then helped fill the cracks when we were struggling to find a reliable daycare.”

Office manager Sarah Chandler is in a unique position among the moms on staff—she’s also a grandmother. “My son was born when I was 28, and my daughter was born 16 years later—four days shy of my 44th birthday (and yes, I did it on purpose). While I was not working at Rare Bird when my children were born, working here now has afforded me the luxury of being able to take two days off a week to watch my grandsons. It’s amazing seeing the differences in raising two (three?) different generations, and I wouldn’t change a second of it.”

Developer Kimberly Stepp and her family at the Brookfield Zoo.

Finding a way to balance motherhood and a career is something every working mom must face. “I knew I wanted to be a mom my entire life,” says Alyssa Thorne, our project manager, “but I also knew I wanted to be a career woman. I’ve worked my entire life and have always loved the satisfaction that comes from working and being successful.”

Like a lot of working mothers, Alyssa knew she would need to organize this major life development. “I had an entire plan for how my work life and personal life would go,” Alyssa says. Most project managers learn that not everything goes as planned. But our project manager learned that on the day she was hired.

“One morning in November of 2020, I got a positive pregnancy test—and a few hours later, Jim Cota called to say I was hired and would start the next week,” she says. While filling out her initial benefits paperwork, she encountered a question asking if she was pregnant. She was worried it would affect her employment status, but after he congratulated her on this good news—first making sure that it was, in fact, good news for her—Jim also made it clear to Alyssa that he valued her as both an employee and a mom.

“This was within the first three hours of me working here,” she says with a laugh.

When Rare Bird’s founders said they wanted to build a company where talented people could do work they love, with an appreciation for each employee as a whole person, this might have been what they imagined. “Jim and Troy have been like family,” Ashley adds.

“The support here as I’ve journeyed into motherhood—with the twist of being a mom to a child with medical needs— feels like something that can’t be replicated,” Alyssa says. “And it’s more important than I could ever put into words.”

“One of the first times my son laughed was in our office, and now I have that special memory,” Alysia says. “Everyone understands when family things come up and allow us to put our families first, which I think is so important.”

Thank you to our Mama Birds—Alysia, Ashley, Sarah, Alyssa, and Kimberly—whose dedication and commitment to their families and fellow Birds inspires us all.