Jenny Maenpaa,

Founder of Forward in Heels

Delving into the concept of ‘work-life wellness’ for women in HR and business with Jenny Maenpaa of Forward in Heels

Interview by Jenny Holliday

How did you come to launch Forward in Heels, and how does the work relate to people and talent?

I began my career in social services, working with families and children in crisis. My clients were domestic violence survivors, children struggling to overcome being behind in school academically, socially, and emotionally, and adolescents involved in juvenile justice. I have met people on the worst days of their lives, the morning after their partner attacked them violently, on the day they received an autism spectrum diagnosis for their toddler, or on the day they were locked up and taken from their family for months.

I loved the work I did; I got to actually see people benefit daily. I saw them able to make changes in their own lives that allowed them to never need to see me again. But I kept encountering major structural barriers to success. Eventually, I realised that many of the reasons the people I encountered were in crisis were systemic and that I would have a larger impact on people’s overall happiness if I could both focus on their individual wellbeing and coping mechanisms and I could work with companies, including human resources, talent, recruiting, and diversity and inclusion departments to create environments that supported their employees in meaningful ways.

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