An MBA Graduate Uses Her Skills to Help Parents-Who-Want-To-Be
June 22, 2012
After graduating from business school, Cornell MBA Nicole Witt succeeded as a brand manager at a large consumer packaged-goods company. At home, however, it was a different story. Along with her husband, she was going through a harrowing battle with infertility. Witt was transformed by the experience. Once she and her husband managed to have two children, Witt gave her professional life a 360-degree change. She became an adoption consultant.
"I basically serve as a 'wedding planner' for adoption helping my clients to navigate the maze and avoid the pitfalls of adoption," said Witt, now executive director of The Adoption Consultancy. "We take a proactive approach that enables our clients to adopt healthy newborns within six months, on average. Part of what we do is that we create a customized plan for each client with multiple agencies and attorneys."
Witt's consultancy could help the throngs of couples who battle infertility each year and would like to become adoptive parents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, about 10 percent or 6.1 million women in the U.S. between 15 and 44 years old have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women's problems. Another one third of fertility problems are due to the man. Other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by unknown problems, reports the CDC.
Graduate of MBA programs sets up adoption consultancy
The Adoption Consultancy provides access to a nationwide network of agencies and attorneys, Witt said. The agencies and attorneys are highly reputable, tend to place the babies quickly, and work only in states where birth parents cannot revoke their consent, she said, adding that they also charge very little, if anything, up front.
"We help our clients create a great profile, basically a scrapbook that birth moms use to select the adoptive parents," Witt said. "We prepare them for interaction with the birth parents and basically hold their hand all the way through until they bring their baby home. The exposure to lots of birth moms combined with having a great profile is how our clients tend to get selected quickly."
When it comes to running and growing her consultancy, Witt said attending business school has helped her in many ways. She learned about marketing, advertising, strategy, and consulting. She developed the confidence to know that she could start and successfully run her own business. She connected with classmates, professors and alumni who have provided valuable advice. Every single day, she said, she uses skills acquired in MBA programs to develop her business.
Business school alumna makes parents happy by easing adoptions
"I've helped hundreds of families; I don't know the exact number," Witt said. "Some of the most rewarding ones are the families who were told that they had no chance of adopting - such as the couple I had where the wife was 35 and the husband was 69. They adopted their son in two months."
Other memorable adoption stories, Witt said, include the couple from Maryland, Mike and Carrie, who sought Witt's assistance after waiting for two and half years to adopt a child through a local agency. Less than a month after the initial consultation they had their newborn daughter in their arms, she said.
The consultancy has also succeeded in working with single women. Single mother Michelle thought she would have to wait for a long time, Witt said. However, when the birth mother saw Michelle's profile, seven weeks after completion, she was convinced that Michelle was the right mother for her child, she said. Michelle's daughter was born weeks later.
"I get emotionally connected with many of my clients and I just feel overjoyed when I'm able to help them fulfill their dreams," Witt said. "It's what makes my long hours and hard work totally worth it."
An adoption consultant's future plans
Witt said she is searching for ways to grow her business without sacrificing the personal connection she has had with the families who have adopted children through The Adoption Consultancy. She also would like to help other entrepreneurs and has started speaking to groups about her experiences.
"My work honors my personal struggle, makes a difference for others for the rest of their lives, and allows me the flexibility and lifestyle that I desire as a working mom," she said. "I can't imagine anything more meaningful than that."