Meet Amy: Founder of The Riveter

Photo by Naomi Ishisaka

We are thrilled to introduce you to Amy Nelson, Founder of The Riveter: Community & co-working office spaces, founded by women, for everyone. Amy is a HUGE inspiration to us at Om Mama – a powerhouse of a lady actively pushing for & creating change in the conversation around women and mothers in the workforce. Amy always keeps it REAL about raising her 4 girls & being the leader of a fast growing, ceiling-busting startup. (Follow her on Instagram!) Thank you so much, Amy, for taking the time to share your story with the Om Mama community!

The Riveter is an Om Mama Collective partner and I am so grateful for the community & network of support I have gotten there. As I told Amy, Om Mama was basically founded at The Riveter! Ask about getting a free day pass to check out any of their 3 Seattle area locations (Fremont, Capitol Hill & Bellevue!) as an Om Mama member! 

Your Story – a little “About You” 

My husband and I moved to Seattle from Minneapolis 7 years ago. Previously, I lived in New York City (though I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio and proud midwesterner!). I have three daughters ages 5, 3 and 2, and a fourth due in June. I’m the founder and CEO of The Riveter, a network of community and work spaces built by women, for everyone. I was a corporate litigator prior to founding The Riveter just two years ago.

Why did you decide to pursue this career/found The Riveter?

I left my corporate job when I came up against the fact that, as a mother, I was perceived differently in the workplace.  As I considered a next career move and possibly starting my own business, I looked around for a community that felt welcoming to me as an entrepreneur and a mother — but what I found felt no different than the male-centric spaces I was leaving behind. So I decided to build what I needed and founded The Riveter — built by women, for everyone.

What is your morning routine?

It’s not easy to get a head start on the day when you compete with three small children and, for me, this means 5 am wake up calls. I start typically with 20-30 minutes on the treadmill, followed by scrolling through news briefings (I’m loyal to BroadSheet, Katie Couric’s Wake-Up Call, and TheSkimm). Breakfast is more on the bowl of cereal and yogurt cup side of things, but the whole family sits for “family breakfast” around the table. It can be hard to align schedules in the evening, so we’ve swapped the dinner routine for some quality family time before everyone heads out for the day. I really cherish this time — it gives me the strength to take on the day.

How do you practice self-care?

Working out is definitely my main form of self-care. We have a treadmill in our basement.  I spent a few months falling in love with the Peloton running app and decided over the holidays to invest in the new Peloton treadmill. I am currently in the third trimester of my fourth pregnancy and so solidly in the walking camp, but still loving it. Amazing instructors and wonderful classes!  I also enjoy the Headspace app. I use it once or twice a week, though aspire to do so more. And, lastly, I go to sleep by 10 pm at the absolute latest.

How would you describe your relationship with fitness / how it has changed through motherhood & pregnancy?

The one thing that’s really changed about my routine is where I work out.  Before I welcomed my third baby, I was able to go to an incredible local gym for HIIT classes 3 or 4 times a week at 5 am.  When my third daughter arrived, I took some time off from exercising in the “fourth trimester” and once we were through that period, both my and my husband’s travel schedules really ramped up.  My husband and I were alternating “travel weeks,” so he was out of town when I was in town. I wasn’t able to slip out at 4:45 am and leave the kids alone – of course! – and so we decided to build a makeshift gym in our basement.   

Who are significant mother role models in your life & why?

My mother has – and continues to – inspire me. I learned commitment from the example she has lived over the course of her life. She committed to completing her college degree – which she paid for as a first-generation graduate. She committed to an incredible career and even went back to school to obtain her master’s degree after I left for college. She is incredible.

If you could tell your twenty-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

I wish I would have known that equity of opportunity looks different for a woman than it does for a man. We take on the same school loans, interview for the same jobs, build toward the same promotions… yet at the end of the day, our reality is starkly different. We’re paid less for the same work and are taxed for motherhood, along with the countless other paper cuts that affect women in work. I wish I would have known that going in, not because it would have altered my choices, but because I would have fought these injustices more actively and demanded my fair share sooner.

How do you balance being an entrepreneur & a mom?

I have an army of help at home! My husband and I balance travel schedules so one of us is always home in Seattle.  My mother agreed to move in with us when my third daughter was born and is basically a third parent in the house. And we have an amazing nanny and dog-walker to help! Plus, we use a myriad of apps and technology to do everything from buying groceries online, scheduling appointments, paying bills, etc.

I am also forthcoming with my family responsibilities when it comes to work scheduling and will prioritize daycare drop-offs and evenings at home when I need to.

What does the world need more of?

Female-owned businesses, female investors and female CEOs. Full stop.

What is your favorite activity to do with your kiddos in Seattle?

We love to swim! We swim indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. I was a competitive swimmer growing up and I love that the girls take as much joy in it as I do!

What are the unique differences about being a mom in Seattle?

There is an amazing community of parents and families in Seattle and it’s easy to find fun, kid-centric activities outdoors. Our life would have been very different if we were raising kids in New York City or even Minneapolis, where I used to live.

Photo by Jane G Photography

Amy contributes articles regularly to online news outlets – check out some of her latest pieces: 

How to Make The Full Time Job of Breastfeeding Compatible with Work

Corporate America Can and Should Play a Role in the Fourth Trimester of Pregnancy

Scaling the Maternal Wall: Why Do We Still Underestimate Working Mothers?

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