My Cart


International Women's Day, Female Founder Feature with Michelle Penczak

Posted on March 06 2024

International Women's Day, Female Founder Feature with Michelle Penczak


We love being able to support and celebrate female founders year-round but Women's History Month and International Women's Day are always extra special. We are excited to feature a female founder who has created a successful business and empowers many other women within her organization and we love that aspect. Find out more about Michelle Penczak, Founder of Squared Away.

ALLY Shoes: Can you share a bit of your background and the journey that led you to found SquaredAway?

Michelle: As a military spouse, I faced the challenge of finding a position that was both flexible with our frequent moves and offered opportunities for career growth. This struggle led me to found Squared Away, a company dedicated to providing flexible work solutions for military spouses and others facing similar challenges. My background includes executive and personal assistance, and through Squared Away, I aim to create a supportive community and empower individuals to pursue fulfilling careers regardless of their location or circumstances.

ALLY Shoes: What impact has SquaredAway had on the lives of military spouses, and how do you measure success in terms of their career growth and personal development?

Michelle: Squared Away has had a profound impact on the lives of military spouses by providing them with flexible work opportunities that accommodate their unique lifestyles. We employ just shy of 400 military spouses, many of whom have been with us for several years, navigating multiple moves without interrupting their career growth. Our success is measured not just by the number of jobs we provide, but by the personal and professional development of our employees. Many military spouses at SquaredAway have grown into leadership roles, demonstrating the meaningful impact of our work on their lives.

ALLY Shoes: How has the business evolved since you started SquaredAway? Can you give an example of a specialized service that SquaredAway excelled at, which you didn't initially anticipate?

Michelle: Since its inception, Squared Away has evolved significantly. One notable change is that all of our teammates are now employees, a transition we made in 2021 to better support and align with our mission. Additionally, we have excelled at offering fundraising support for founders and CEOs raising venture funds, which was not initially anticipated. This specialized service has allowed us to further empower our community and expand our impact beyond traditional executive support.

ALLY Shoes: What have been some of the most valuable lessons you've learned about leadership and entrepreneurship through the process of building SquaredAway?

Michelle: Building Squared Away has taught me invaluable lessons about leadership and entrepreneurship. One key lesson is that as a CEO, I don't always have to have all the answers right away. It's okay to take the time to gather information, consult with others, and make informed decisions. Another important lesson is the significance of empowering our people. Showing them that they are valued and trusted not only boosts morale but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to our mission. These lessons have been instrumental in shaping our company culture and driving our success.

ALLY Shoes: In the spirit of International Women's Day, what message do you wish to share with women worldwide, particularly those who are part of military families and face similar challenges as you once did?

Michelle: It's crucial to remember that taking the time to find what fulfills you is just as important as taking care of your family. You can't fill anyone else's cup unless you fill your own first. Embrace your unique journey, prioritize your well-being, and know that your aspirations are valid and worth pursuing. Together, we can overcome obstacles and thrive, both personally and professionally.

ALLY Shoes: Who is your ally?

Michelle: My mentors, Squared Away Directors and teammates, and my incredibly supportive husband, Sean.

Michelle's ALLY Shoe pick: Bold Block Heel in Gutsy Garnet Suede


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Related Posts