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Leaders from Lowe’s, Women’s Business Center join statewide advisory council on creating family forward workplaces

The following is a press release from the NC Early Childhood Foundation

Leaders from home improvement company Lowe’s and the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina will join a group of prominent business and community representatives and health experts that will help create a guide to inspire employers to incorporate more family-friendly practices for their employees.

Gregor Teusch, Vice President for Reward and Experience at Lowe’s, and Briles Johnson, Executive Director of the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina, will join the Family Forward NC Advisory Council to assist the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) in furthering the work of Family Forward NC. Family Forward NC is a business-led initiative to increase access to research-based, family-friendly business practices — both big and small — that improve workplace productivity, recruitment and retention; support children’s healthy development; and grow a strong economy.

Balancing family and work is something many women business owners have personal experience with, which means it’s top of mind for them on a personal level, said Johnson. But family-friendly business practices also provide business value, which makes incorporating them a win-win, she said.   

“Our goal at the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina is to help women-owned businesses start and thrive, and one way to do that is to guide them on ways to be competitive when it comes to vying for top talent. Family-friendly benefits are a great way to positively affect employee retention and to attract top talent for open positions,” Johnson said.

Other Family Forward NC Advisory Council members are:

  • Kit Cramer, President and CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Andrew Herdman, Vice-President of Human Resources for US Operations, Mayne Pharma
  • Velva Jenkins, Vice-President, Continuing Education, Economic & Workforce Development, Brunswick Community College
  • Jessica Lowery Clark, Executive Director, Robeson County Partnership for Children
  • Fara Palumbo, Chief People Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Luis Pastor, President and CEO, Cooperativa Latino Credit Union
  • Dr. Alison Stuebe, Associate Professor, UNC – Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Associate Professor, UNC – Department of Maternal and Child Health; Distinguished Scholar in Infant and Young Child Feeding
  • Sheilah Sutton – City Commissioner, Town of Rolesville
  • Lucy Talley, Regional Vice-President, South Atlantic Publishing Group, GateHouse Media
  • Dr. Betsey Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Resources

The Advisory Council is one of three ways NCECF is gathering data for a guide to family-friendly workplaces, to be released by the end of the year. The guide will be a toolkit for businesses of all sizes with practical tips for implementing family-friendly workplace practices such as paid parental leave, flexible scheduling and accommodations for pregnant workers. Research shows these policies improve child health and well-being and keep businesses competitive.

“The ultimate goal of Family Forward NC is to make North Carolina a state that businesses want to come to, where families want to live and where employees want to work. We are grateful that this group of powerhouse leaders will help shape this work, because we know that family-friendly workplaces are a win for children and families and for businesses,” said NCECF Executive Director Tracy Zimmerman. 

In addition to engaging the Advisory Council, NCECF has conducted statewide research on current business practices and employer outlooks, along with NC employee opinions and needs when it comes to family-friendly benefits. Researchers from Artemis Strategy Group interviewed 300 employers across the state from a diverse mix of industries and business sizes. The firm also conducted an online survey of 300 employees from across the state. Highlights from the research include:

  • 71 percent of North Carolina employers think that family-friendly policies have a positive impact on their organization.
  • Almost half of North Carolina employers plan on offering more family-friendly benefits this year.
  • 73 percent of NC employees would be more committed to their employer if they offered more family-friendly practices.
  • Over 90 percent of employees agree that family-friendly practices give companies a competitive advantage.
  • 94 percent of employees say that family-friendly policies help business attract and retain talent – and keep companies strong.
  • Younger employees with children are attracted to flexible schedules, paid maternity and paternity leave, breastfeeding accommodations and help affording child care.

NCECF is also conducting a series of Family Forward NC roundtable discussions across the state, bringing together employers and community leaders to discuss best practices for family-friendly workplaces and to brainstorm ideas for how to encourage employers in their area to incorporate more family-friendly practices.

About Family Forward NC

Family Forward NC is an innovative business initiative to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. By increasing family-friendly workplace practices, businesses, families and our state all win. Family Forward NC is an initiative of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) with founding sponsorship from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Learn more at

About North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF)

NCECF has a bold vision that each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being supported by a premiere birth-to-eight system. NCECF promotes public understanding of and support for policies that promote children’s birth-to-age-eight years for academic and lifelong success, convenes and spearheads collaboration to bridge North Carolina’s birth-to-five and kindergarten-to-third grade systems, and advances policies that create a stronger NC today and tomorrow by supporting each child’s birth-to-eight development. Learn more at


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