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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies Releases Mother’s Day White Paper on Skills Findings of Mothers Overcome More™ Report

Dr. Stella Smith explores the intersection of transferable skills from mothering and skills desired in the professional workplace

On Mother’s Day, University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases a new white paper, “Unlocking Potential: The transferability of skills from Motherhood to the Workplace,” authored by Stella Smith, Ph.D., associate research chair, Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR). The white paper explores findings from the 2023 Mothers Overcome More™ or the M.O.M.™ report and provides an in-depth look at the intersection of maternal skills and professional demands.

Mothers have confidence in the skills they gain as parents. According to the M.O.M.™ report, approximately 90% of mothers from lower-income and middle- to higher-income groups believe that motherhood equips them with skills that are applicable to their jobs, and around three-fourths of mothers, regardless of income, consider the skills acquired through motherhood to be more relevant than those gained through formal education.

“In contemporary discourse, discussions surrounding workforce development and skills acquisition frequently overlook the profound and varied skill set acquired through motherhood,” states Smith. “Yet, the journey of motherhood is a masterclass in adaptability, resilience, communication, time management, and leadership—qualities indispensable in today's rapidly evolving work landscape.”

The white paper specifically dives into findings on the percentage of proficiency of specific competencies as measured by mothers responding to the survey, for skills including multitasking abilities, flexibility, budgeting, problem-solving, time-management, organization, decision-making, communication, and stress management. Advocating for the integration of these maternal skills into the broader professional sphere, the research challenges traditional perceptions and underscores the significance of acknowledging and utilizing the talents of mothers in the workforce. “By recognizing and harnessing the transferable skills embedded within the maternal experience, we can foster a more inclusive and resilient workforce poised to thrive in the face of evolving challenges,” Smith states.

Smith is the associate university research chair for the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) and an associate faculty member in the College of Doctoral Studies at the University of Phoenix. A qualitative researcher, her scholarly interests focus on several areas including the experiences of faculty and administrators of color in higher education; African American females in leadership in higher education; access and inclusion of underserved populations in higher education; and P–20 educational pipeline alignment. Smith earned her doctorate in educational administration with a portfolio in Women and Gender Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

The full whitepaper is available at the University of Phoenix Career Institute® webpage or as a direct link here.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program puts students in the center of an effective ecosystem of experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.


The Mothers Overcome More™ or the M.O.M.™ report is one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the barriers American mothers face in their day-to-day lives, and the impact these barriers have on career development and advancement opportunities. The study was conducted by the University of Phoenix Career Institute®, part of the University’s College of Doctoral Studies, in partnership with Motherly— a platform of storytellers, teachers, shoppers and advocates for mothers— in order to provide insights on lower-income mothers and to help identify solutions to support and advance them on the path to self-sufficiency.

The M.O.M.™ report comprised a 20-minute online survey of lower-income moms (n=1,000) and middle- and higher-income moms (n=500). All participants were U.S. adults (age 18 and up) who were employed or seeking employment at the time of research. Researchers conducted fieldwork between July 19 and Aug. 3, 2023. Income categories were determined using the University of Washington School of Social Work’s Self-Sufficiency Standard. A full methodology can be found at


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