‘Moms on Maternity’ networking group to hold luncheons in Rancho Santa Fe


Moms on Maternity is moving its local meeting base from the beach to “the ranch.”

On Feb. 20, the networking group for new parents will host a luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Morgan Run Club & Resort, 5690 Cancha de Golf, in Rancho Santa Fe. Moms can meet and socialize with other career-oriented individuals on maternity leave, enjoy a catered lunch, and listen to a guest speaker. They may also browse vendors’ tables, receive “swag bags,” and have an opportunity to win door prizes. This baby-friendly event also features areas for play, changing and feeding.

Previously, Moms on Maternity held its luncheons at the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club. The organization’s executive creator, San Diego resident Aimee Cruz, decided a larger and more centralized venue was needed, as women were traveling from all around San Diego County to attend.

“These are moms that still have aspirations and dreams - they can go to these events and talk about their baby, trends, technology, (etc.),” Cruz said.

The luncheons enable them to make friends, network, find new products, and discuss business and family.

Cruz developed the concept of Moms on Maternity while on leave with her second son, now nearly 2 years old.

“With my first (son, now age 4), I was learning how to be a mom, so I did not focus on finding social support,” Cruz said. “I realized shortly after going back to work it was not as hard (or scary) as I thought it would be.”

But she noted that there was a gap involving other new moms on leave who planned to go back to work - there were plenty of “playgroups,” but they mainly catered to those who stayed at home.

“When I had my second (child), I had more time to spend on creating Moms on Maternity,” Cruz said. “I knew others struggled with the fear of going back to work, and I wanted to help by creating the group.”

Cruz realized that she could help other moms build confidence and to receive social support, and to learn how to navigate obstacles such as pumping breast milk and child care. In addition, she wanted to promote the importance of maternity leave to employers.

“Maternity leave is one of the absolutely most special times in a woman’s life,” Cruz emphasized.

In order to achieve these goals and impact as many moms as possible, she decided to leave her longtime job at Deloitte, where she had most recently served as senior manager of Strategic Risk Services. With tips from her husband, Dan Cruz, who is in marketing, and using skills obtained from her time at Deloitte, Cruz began building the Moms on Maternity concept.

She started organizing events for anyone on maternity leave (or who expected to be on leave soon), with a focus on babies and careers. The kick-off luncheon was held in April 2017 in Ocean Beach; about 30 moms attended.

“The first event was incredible,” Cruz said.

Since then, Moms On Maternity has held more than 20 events, developed a combined Facebook and Instagram following of more than 2,500, and established an email database of more than 1,200. Cruz also observed that the women were making connections and staying in touch afterward, and many of them were attending multiple luncheons.

“If you’re a working mommy, this group is for you! Education and support all in one,” touted Shannon Handy Grassi, an event attendee who works at KFMB-TV.

There is no membership fee for Moms on Maternity; the cost is per event. The ticket price - $37.50 - includes lunch and goodies, and women can attend with their babies or alone. The events are held in locations with plenty of natural lighting, and guest speakers address topics such as how to practice self-care as a mom and breastfeeding. Events also have a title/presenting sponsor, along with vendors who support Moms on Maternity’s mission.

“I count down the days to the monthly Moms on Maternity events,” said Hanna Gneiting, founder of Hanna’s Momma Snacks. “It’s always the highlight of my week because I have the chance to walk into a room filled with bustling energy and inspiring women who all want nothing more than to support one another through life’s biggest moments. Every month brings something new, and I am so grateful as a sponsor to be a part of what Moms on Maternity is doing for working women and parents in our community.”

Previously, Moms on Maternity events were held monthly in the San Diego area, but in 2019, they will be held quarterly. Cruz is expanding the organization’s coverage area to include Orange County and Los Angeles, so luncheons will rotate locations. Events are scheduled for Feb. 20, May 15 and Aug. 21 at Morgan Run; additional ones are planned at the Aliso Viejo Country Club and at the Braemar Country Club in the L.A. neighborhood of Tarzana. A total of 12 luncheons are slated for this year.

Cruz’s goal is to spread the message: “You can be a really amazing mom and have a great career!”

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