1. Adelie: Michigan Business Challenge – Seigle Impact Track Finalist Team

    February 8, 2018

    Who are the team members?

    Stef Rubinstein
    Vanessa Lynskey
    Tracy Wolfbiss

    How did you decide your team name?

    Adelie penguins are a species with strong parental instincts. The parents take turns watching their young and fishing for food. These penguins embody everything we hope to achieve with Adelie – supporting mothers and fathers through the parental leave process and empowering them to move forward in their careers.

    Tell us briefly about your business idea.

    Stef served on the Women’s Network of the New York Times, where she saw the complexities of the parental leave process firsthand. Adelie stemmed out of the belief that the process can and should be easier for parents, and that technology can achieve that.

    We hope to make the process easier on parents, both logistically and emotionally, so they can spend their time on what’s really important. So far, there is no direct-to-consumer solution on the market. Adelie empowers women and men to take control of their parental leave, without having to rely solely on a manager or HR business partner.

    How has the MBC experience helped transform your approach to business strategy?

    Our MBC experience has been immensely helpful in shaping our business strategy. Our unique business-to-consumer-to-business (B2B2C) approach has been informed by thoughtful conversations with MBC judges each step of the way. The various iterations have helped build Adelie into a powerful resource for expectant parents.

    What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

    We believe Adelie will fundamentally change the experience of taking parental leave. We will clarify, streamline, and demystify the process to ensure that no expectant parents feel isolated or alone. Over time, Adelie will shift norms about parental leave. We’ll create a community of empowered working mothers and a collection of valuable data with which to advocate for universal paid family leave at the federal level.

    What been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

    It’s incredibly important to listen carefully to the needs of your users, and then be willing to pivot based on what you’re hearing. We’ve uncovered new pain points and problems we never knew existed and have incorporated them into the product, leading to an even more compelling solution for our users.

    If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

    Go for a celebratory drink! And then take a long nap.


    Join us on Feb. 16 to watch this team compete for the $15K grand prize in the Impact Track Finals!

    Read more about all of the finalist teams: Adelie | Canopy | Foodfinder | PedalCell