Analytics India Magazine wishes a Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women out there who have faced maternity with much grace and overcame the challenges associated with it in their own unique ways to excel in their respective job roles.
To celebrate mothers from the analytics and data science community, we bring unique perspectives from women of substance who are juggling personal and professional lives with aplomb. While the industry is still catching up on the pre-conceived notions about restarting after maternity or a sabbatical, assumptions associated with women such as prove-it again bias are slowly being chipped away. Most mothers believe that one of the key ways to overcome these challenges is to have a strong support system.
Strong Support System Is The Key
Anshu Sharma, Managing Director and Global Head of Retail Banking Technology at Standard Chartered insists on not giving up on your career or giving up the next leadership position out of fear of managing different tasks. While speaking at Rising 2019, she said that there is a big void that everyone goes through but a woman needs to have a meaning attached to her career. Having juggled her personal and professional lives between two cities, she has always strongly relied on a strong support system.
Echoing the importance of support from family, Aparajita Karimpana, Senior Director at Envestnet Yodlee says that women need to overcome the mental roadblock that no one else can take care of child better than the mother. “How much ever we talk about shared responsibilities at home, once children come into the picture, by default the primary caretaker is the mother. In this situation, the support system is very important.” She stresses on the idea of delegating tasks and take help from parents, in-laws and extended family without hesitating.
“For mothers to join back to work they have to overcome the guilty mom’s syndrome,” says Nidhi Pratapneni, SVP & Head of Knowledge Services, Wells Fargo. “It can be largely overcome by having support from your workplace, from your own ecosystem, family and friends,” she says.
It Is Important To Have ‘Me-Time’!
“It was a glorified moment when I got pregnant but nobody prepares what it means to be a mother. Being a mother is not just about a child coming to this world and planning everything for the child, but you have to take out time for yourself, and prepare yourself for rejigging your career,” says Sowjanya Shetty, Director of Business Development at Microsoft.
Katerina Folkman, Head of Analytics at Clix shares that it is quite a challenge competing priorities between her team and family at home. “Both need my attention and my inputs. And as I divide my time between them, I also lose any “Me Time”. I am still figuring out more time to get back to reading non-work related books, and I have a long wish list,” she says.
However it is absolutely the best experience to see the world through my baby’s eyes, says Katerina. “Everything is new to her, and while teaching her, I once again feel in awe and happier too. Whether it is showing her my favourite books or museums, or travelling together – she is my source of new energy and a new admiration for life,” she says.
Striking The Right Balance
While many women struggle to strike the right balance, Katerina shares that her secret sauce is the ability to single-task and focus. “When I am in the office, I focus only on my work responsibilities and not think about motherhood duties. But once I am at home, I am applying the same focus to my activities with my baby. I don’t use the phone or check emails while with her. These couple of hours of focused attention in the morning and evening are really enough for babies to feel your presence in their lives, and to keep the bond strong.”
Talking about her biggest learning as a mother, she said that the same leadership techniques that we use with our teams, work well with babies too! “For example – do not micromanage. Step back and allow to experiment. Do not limit creativity and do not assume you know best, just because you are more senior. “This approach allows for wonderful ideas to be born, whether from your child or from team members,” she says on a concluding note.