Randolph offered another perspective on family planning that is only now getting the media attention on a par with its prevalence in our society: "When I was at Facebook, I knew I wanted to have kids, but I didn't think I was ready," she said. Because Facebook's medical insurance covered the procedure, Randolph decided to go through the prescreening process at the NYU fertility clinic. She was on a business trip boarding her flight when the clinic called. The news was devastating: She was diagnosed as irreversibly infertile. "I still remember this day so clearly," Randolph told the audience. "I was so shocked. On a personal level I had to reckon with, how badly do I want this?"
Randolph decided to pursue IVF, but after two rounds the process was unsuccessful. In the meantime, she left Facebook in April 2017 and moved to Los Angeles to join Laugh Out Loud as SVP of marketing and monetization. "I was putting together a go-to-market strategy, enjoying L.A.," she said. "I was able to put the failure behind me. We were set to launch in August. In July I got really faint in the gym one day, and my trainer said, 'Could you be pregnant?' I thought, No, I'm menopausal. They told me this was going to happen early. Turns out I actually was pregnant without assistance! It was this interesting inflection point in my career, because I was giving birth to two babies at the same time—this business that I was super passionate about and a child that I prayed for and thought was out of my reach."
Like all mothers in the U.S., giving birth was just the beginning of tortuous journey for Randolph. Lionsgate's maternity leave policy was a relatively generous three months at full pay, but for Randolph, there were too many hoops to jump through: "There was a disability application, there was a state disability component, there was an insurer's disability component, and there was a ton of paperwork. I remember saying, I'm not doing this! This is ridiculous."
As Laugh Out Loud started to gain more independence from Lionsgate, Randolph found her company was in a similar boat as Simms and Combs Enterprises. "All of a sudden I found myself in charge of finances and HR with a smaller group of dozens, not thousands, figuring out how do we cost-effectively provide a family leave policy that isn’t one size fits all?" she said.
"What I've heard from our employees is that flexibility and compassion is the biggest component of the plan. And the other piece to me is normalizing family life and making sure everyone understands life happens and it’s okay. I work from home on Fridays, because I have to spend time with my kid. If I'm late for a meeting, I make sure to say, 'My kid had a doctor's appointment' or 'My kid isn't feeling well and I don't want him to be alone because he's teething.' It's so important to normalize that—particularly those of us who put so much into our careers, so people don't feel like they're failing us when they have to take care of themselves."