WINiT at Work + at Home
Back after a July hiatus, the WINiTIn45 webinar series delivered a powerful and timely session this week: WINiT at Work + Home, featuring Patti Huska, Chief People Officer at Amex GBT, and Mary Ellen Hess, Executive Vice of Business Development for CTM. Both women are also WINiT Strategic Advisory Board members and were just named as appointees of the new WINiT Glass Breakers initiative.
It’s no secret that working moms often feel pulled in different directions, but the pandemic has hit working moms especially hard and shone a new light on work/family balance. Participants of this 45-minute session learned valuable tips and advice from Huska and Hess on how to progress in your career while also thriving at home.
Tips and advice on how to progress in your career while also thriving at home:
- Effectively – and honestly – manage your time: It’s aspirational to try and pack as much into your day as possible, but not always most effective. “I had to learn to be honest with myself about what I could fit into a day and ask if I was realistically giving myself enough time to get to the airport or my child’s Little League game,” said Huska. “I was putting more pressure on myself than I needed to.” At work, Huska shared that focusing on the big-ticket items at the start of each day helped her accomplish what she needed to, instead of avoiding the hardest tasks in favor of the little things.
- Company culture is critical: After many years of racing to get her son to school on time, Hess decided to take a step back in her career, opting to join a company that allowed her to work from home, while still playing a significant role. “It was a tricky thing to do, but I didn’t want to miss my son’s important moments, and I enjoyed working and still had a lot to contribute,” said Hess. Hess recommends looking at the C Suite – are there parents in leadership roles? – to gauge how family friendly a company is and whether it’s a good fit for where you are in your career and home life. And now that she’s an “empty nester,” she has been able to dial back up and focus more on her career.
- Have a strong network at work and at home: Huska decided early in her career that Boston was where she needed to be – no matter the job – because it’s where she had extended family to offer support. For others, it may be a network of friends. At work, Huska focused on surrounding herself with talented, positive people. “I’ve always brought my whole self to work and focused on really loving and appreciating the people I work with,” said Huska. “This has never been more important than in the past 18 months, when the relationships I’ve built helped me through the pandemic.”
- Be true to yourself: It’s not just a cliche. Hess shared that in her earlier years of motherhood, the doubts and guilt around whether she was giving enough to work and her child crept in. “I found that showing my vulnerability, and being transparent and authentic with my struggles, resonated with those who worked with me and in turn, made me more effective as a leader,” said Hess. She also advised finding something that grounds you – for her it was her faith – and helps you stay anchored to what’s really important.
While each woman shared an example of either being passed over for projects or roles because they did not have the confidence to raise their hand and go for a position (Huska) or choosing to take a step back from their career (Hess), they both acknowledged that the paths they took ended up being the right paths, and as Huska said, “the grass isn’t always greener.”
Save the date for the next WINiTIn45 session, WINiT Wherever You Stand, Job Holder or Job Seeker, on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. ET, where we will discuss how to be successful wherever you stand.