Thinx CEO on Facing Doubts She Could Handle Work and Motherhood: ‘I Have to Prove Them Wrong’

Apr 05, 2019

While interviewing to take over as CEO of Thinx, the period underwear startup that was emerging from a scandal over working conditions and sexual harassment, Maria Molland nailed the process—but couldn't prevent the misgivings of one director.

"One of the board members told me directly that they were concerned about me having a young child and my ability to do the job," Molland tells Fortune. "I had proven time and time again that I was willing to do lots to prove I was able to do this job." (According to Thinx, the director in question has since left the board.)

"You start thinking, maybe they're right. Can I do this?" Molland adds. "But there was another part of me thinking, 'I have to prove them wrong.'"

Spoiler: Molland got the job—and has made it a point to improve her company's resources for working parents. Childcare stipends, flexible working schedules, and more have insured that other candidates interviewing at Thinx won't face the same doubts or doubters.

Watch the video to hear more about Molland's perspective on how employers should help their employees with caregiving responsibilities at home.

In Fortune’s Trailblazer series, powerful women in business share formative stories about overcoming a challenge in their lives. Watch them all here.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect the departure of the Thinx board member.

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