Entrepreneur and political strategist Audrey Gelman was the first visibly pregnant CEO to appear on the cover of a major business magazine. In 2019 she graced the cover of Inc. magazine as part of the magazine’s “Female Founders 100” list which looked at the women who at the time were creating inspiring businesses. The cover is shot with a yellow background and features her in a black dress cradling an adorable “baby bump.” Gelman was the founder of The Wing, a women-focused coworking space that provided women with a safe and productive venue to expand their networks and grow their businesses. She also previously worked on multiple high-profile political campaigns.
News coverage of her magazine cover appearance highlighted statistics that challenge working mothers, including data that showed many people feel working mothers are not fully dedicated to their jobs. Audrey Gelman saw the magazine cover as an opportunity to make a statement for other working women that they can become pregnant and still fully participate in the workforce. She encouraged women to strive towards their professional goals. And she suggested women resist the urges to place those goals on the shelf after becoming a mother, while still embracing all the joys that come with a baby.
During interviews conducted after her magazine appearance, Audrey Gelman said hoped women in business would take greater professional risks and make sure their voices are heard within their companies or they have the confidence to start their own brands and vision. She also wanted to highlight the disparities in investment capital that women-led businesses receive compared to men-owned businesses, and to encourage a rethinking of this dynamic.
When asked about her thoughts from the magazine cover, Audrey Gelman said ““You can’t be what you can’t see.” Her meaning was other women who become pregnant would perhaps not feel they could continue or pursue leadership roles because pregnant leaders were not visible within the business or broader media. She also supports expanded federal and state-level leave for pregnant women, so they can properly bond with their child before deciding to re-enter the workforce.