University policies… Are they set in stone? Do we get to update them, if they’re unfair or archaic? If you’re considering this type of question, today, you might be feeling like David facing Goliath, and tend to shrug your shoulders and just accept things as they are.

This week, I’m sharing my conversation with Marie McCausland, where she lays out the roadmap of how she led a community effort that led to an increase in parental leave for postdocs at her university.


Marie McCausland is a scientist, doula, and maternal health advocate and is the founder of the Non Profit Mom Effect and DigiDoula App.

She survived a near-death experience with Post-Partum Pre Eclampsia in 2017 following the birth of her son, an experience which put her life and work into perspective and changed her career trajectory entirely.

Marie has shared her experience through her TedX talk in 2019, at the March for Moms in 2017 and 2019, and in dozens of talks across the US aimed at increasing awareness and promoting change.

Marie has a PhD in Molecular Virology from CWRU, a Masters in Public Health from Kent State, is a CAPPA trained Postpartum Doula, and is currently working on her MBA. She has one amazing son, Jeffrey, with her dedicated husband Jeffrey McCausland.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How to gather a community around a common goal, among different university employee groups
  • What a postdoc representative at the university senate can do
  • How to start the conversation with university deciders by starting with faculty and gradually moving up the decision ladder
  • The power of using reference institutions as goal-setting examples for university deciders
  • The weight networking has in the process of getting into industry
  • How to access the public health space
  • The importance of advocating for yourself

Thank you, Alana Rister!

If you enjoyed this conversation with Marie, let her know by clicking the link below and leaving her a message on Twitter:

Send Marie McCausland a thank you message on Twitter!

Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

This episode’s resources:

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