The Expecting Playbook: Open Sourcing Parental Policies

A resource penned by the amazing Anna MacKenzie and Ella Gorevalov, and supported by the likes of Wealthsimple, Nulogy, Tunnelbear and The Toronto tech community came together to share their parental policies in the spirit of open source. I came on board to design the look and feel of the playbook for print and web.



Designed at

Andréa Crofts Studio


Designer and Illustrator


Publication & Web Design, Illustration

Find it online


The purpose of The Expecting Playbook is tri-fold:

Objective 01.

To affect positive change for new families (whether they're adoptive, surrogate, LGBTQ+, blended or nuclear) allowing them to spend time with their children while providing financial support for their newly arrived family member(s).

Objective 02.

To increase industry transparency and provide a valuable resource for the creation of deeply considered parental leave policies across tech companies, led by some of the biggest players in Toronto's tech sector.

Objective 03.

Increase inclusivity and equity in hiring processes by putting every applicant on an even playing field, and being forthcoming about the benefits available to those who are family planning.


"Most startups don't have parental policies at all. This is often because they have small, thinly stretched HR teams who are balancing a myriad of competing priorities."

Anna Mackenzie, Co-founder of The Expecting Playbook


Why it's Important

When Anna first told me about the Playbook, I felt an incredible moral gravitational pull to contribute to the project. Anna and Ella's goal, along with their support system of Toronto tech powerhouses (including Heather Payne (HackerYou), Nora Jenkins (Wealthsimple) and the teams at Fireside Conference, Tunnelbear, and MoveTheDial) was to open source information about parental policies in a meaningful (and beautiful) way. 


The Problem


Anna told me, point blank, that most startups don't have parental policies at all; often because they have small, thinly stretched HR teams balancing a myriad of competing priorities. When applying for a job, many future parents consider family planning and parental leave to be at the top of their perk priorities (higher than ping-pong tables, free lunches and house cleaning). It's important that tech companies recognize this; otherwise, they may lose out on hiring top talent because of lack of transparency.

This leaves the onus (and subsequent stress) on employees to ask for the policy, instead of it being displayed transparently on a company's website. Asking a recruiter or HR representative for the policy can immediately put them on a different subconscious playing field than other candidates. By signing the pledge, companies vow to either showcase their current policy on job postings and/or their website, or start from the template provided in the playbook to implement their own policy.


Why I'm proud to have worked on this


The Micro Impact

It implicitly combats heteronormativity (of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality) by using inclusive language that addresses a number of flavours of parenting. It normalizes and shines a light on conversations regarding family planning in professional settings (areas where they're often shrouded by guilt and/or secrecy).

The Macro Impact

The magnitude & importance of the goal: creating equitable workplaces, improving hiring processes for families of all kinds, and placing everyone (whether they're considering family planning or not) on an even playing field for hiring. I'm honoured to be a part of a community leading this charge, and feel blessed to contribute to making all the hard work and genius behind this project come to life. 


Download your copy of The Expecting Playbook, or sign the pledge on behalf of your company.