It's Working Project

"I said . . . 'I am actually pregnant and I would like the opportunity to work from home two days a week.’ And I was prepared to quit if they didn’t agree."

Denver Nuggets Come Out Ahead in Making Back-to-Work a Reality for a New Mom

Amy O’Brien knew she had to tell her bosses she was pregnant.

She was being offered a promotion to a much bigger position with the front office of the Denver Nuggets, but felt it was time to be clear about her situation. “I was in a meeting and they were giving me a promotion and a bunch more money. I said, ‘you guys are great, thanks, I am actually pregnant and I would like the opportunity to work from home two days a week.’ And I was prepared to quit if they didn’t agree. They were both like absolutely, whatever you want to do, figure it out. I was really lucky,” she said.

For Amy, working for the Nuggets while being a mom to son, Connor, has worked out better than she ever expected. “Our front office is really small,” she explained. “I am director of player development and team operations for Denver Nuggets. With each player we work to identify what their goals are: acclimating to NBA, substance abuse, family issues, absentee father, all of those kind of things. In addition, I work closely with our captains to bring programming to the team.”

Amy’s maternity leave meant she would be out during the Nuggets’ playing season, “You are always hands on deck from Oct-April, no matter what. I was concerned about missing it.”

But Amy found a way to make it work, both while on maternity leave and when coming back to work full time. She credits her husband–who is incredibly supportive and a complete partner in parenthood–her amazing nanny, and her supportive workplace, even though she is only one of a handful of women in the front office, and many of the men she works with have wives who are primary caretakers. She was able to work from home two days a week, and says she is always available by email or phone.

“My job is 24/7. I might not be doing anything with a player on 1pm on a Friday, but they are texting me after a game on a weeknight and I need to deal with them then,” Amy says.

Her advice is for women to support one another during such transitions. “Women are getting more and more successful. We’re all in this together. The more we can be a supportive sisterhood, the better.”

“It’s really different for me,” she says, referring to the male-dominated organization in the Nuggets’ front office. “You can’t explain to someone what it’s like to have children. Whatever deal you made with yourself and your family, that is the deal you have to stick to. You have to be at peace with your decisions, and that is it.”