Sen. Mark Warner and CEOs of Care.com and Handy Address On-Demand Economy at Sept. 15 Titans

On Sept. 15, members of the region's technology community gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner for a Titans breakfast featuring Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder and CEO of Handy, and Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder and CEO of Care.com. During the event, Warner, Marcelo and Hanrahan made separate remarks on the changing nature of work in the 21st century economy before sitting down for a Q&A session with the audience.

Kicking off the event, Sen. Warner discussed the transformative nature of the on-demand economy and how this new economy has been made possible by mobile and GPS technologies combined with advanced algorithms. Our current social insurance system where benefits are tied to an individual’s employer, according to Warner, is not sufficient to support today’s workers. He expressed his belief that we must redesign the social contract to provide on-demand workers with flexible and portable benefits.

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Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder and CEO of Handy, Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder and CEO of Care.com, and Sen. Mark Warner addressed the on-demand economy at Sept. 15 Titans.

Care.com’s Sheila Marcelo also supported the need to decouple benefits from employment. She shared expanded benefits now being offered to Care.com caregivers, including portable and affordable options for health and dental insurance, as well as retirement, unemployment and workers compensation benefits. She also highlighted how the platformization of the on-demand economy is helping to bring stability, flexibility and legitimacy to independent workers. Marcelo expressed her hope that on-demand employers like Care.com can begin to create career pathways, including training, networking and professional development opportunities, for their workers.

Oisin Hanrahan of Handy began his remarks by comparing the rise in on-demand services to The Jetsons, where anything was available at the push of a button, and expressed the need to get more people to work in this new workforce. He discussed the motivation for those working in what he calls the flexible economy, including freedom, empowerment and impact. Hanrahan argued that we need solutions to leverage the technology to create not only opportunities for these workers, but also protections.

The event closed with Q&A from the audience, during which Sen. Warner, Hanrahan and Marcelo answered questions relating to the industry’s talent needs, how to promote diversity in the workforce, and how unions could play a role in facilitating portable benefits for on-demand economy workers.

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NVTC Board Chair Todd Stottlemyer, Handy Co-Founder and CEO Oisin Hanrahan, Care.com Founder and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo, and Sen. Mark Warner at Sept. 15 Titans breakfast.