Three years ago, I was struggling with balancing motherhood, living through a pandemic, working from home, supporting a team and their at home needs, all while trying to climb the metaphorical corporate ladder. There were many days I wanted to give up and spend time arguing with my toddler about eating her veggies rather than trying to break through the glass ceiling.
There were many moments I really contemplated leaving the workforce, putting my career on hold to take care of my family full time. It was a undoubtedly a stressful, challenging and unchartered time for everyone; for me, whose job it was (and is) to support a workforce personally and professionally, it was even more so as I had to project calmness and stability to hundreds of people in the face of what was so out of our control.
Why didn’t I give up? Giving up isn’t really in my DNA; I am a very competitive sports fan (Go Birds!) and I come from a strong line of women who never gave up. My nana taught me at an early age what compassion and empathy meant and how to balance those qualities with logic and reasoning. She was strong but kind and someone I still idolize today. In addition to my nana I was raised by so many other strong women, one of them being my mom. As a single mother and the CEO of her own business, she taught me the value of hard work, how important it is to listen and to care for a team of people.
My mom made it all look easy. There were times she would work 12-hour days and still find time for me. She managed to do it all, while finding time to mentor anyone who asked her for career guidance. I now know what her secret was - it was her Village. Whether they were other moms making sure I was taken care of on nights she had to work late or colleagues who understood why she had to leave work because I was sick, this Village was behind her, and us, every step of the way.
As my mentor Adam Grant once said, “if you take care of your people and ensure they are happy and have a sense of purpose then your company will be successful.” Upon deep reflection, this is exactly what I have set out to do in my career. Joining Next League as their Director, People & Culture is the perfect continuation of this path as there is already such a strong alignment with the Executive Team about building a culture with a people-first mentality. Though I have only been with the company a few months, I am proud of some things we’ve done to demonstrate and instill this in our organization and know we are just getting started.
Life can certainly be complicated, which is one reason why it is so important for companies to provide a secure, flexible, and supportive culture to help team members navigate life and help them be the best version of themselves. I am a firm believer the company you work for should be part of your Village. At Next League, I want to make sure everyone in the organization - female and male - thinks of the company as part of their individual Village.
The Village surrounding me as a young girl had a profound impact on my life, even before I recognized I had one. As a working mother myself, my own Village is critical to my personal and professional success and happiness.
This Woman’s History Month, I am celebrating all the women in my life that are part of my Village, both past and present. Knowing I have my Village who support and champion me, and that I am part of others’ and play the same role, is one of the most gratifying feelings. We are all better - and stronger - together.