Our 6th Annual Lift Each Other UP Event was held at AdvanceCT home at the District New Haven and via zoom. We pushed back on the she-cession with a deep discussion on work-life sway at different career and caregiving phases. Female leaders shared great ideas on how to create work situations that are sustainable for women. Reflecting on the lessons of COVID, we discussed its impact on work possibilities for professional women and moms. Great advice was shared on ways we can continue to find success and use the lessons of necessary workplace shifts to effect real #workplacechange.
The event offered an opportunity for women’s journeys to be heard. Janet McCray of Untapped Potential, New Haven welcomed the speakers and audience. Candace Freedenberg, Untapped Potential’s Founder introduced Jennifer Frederick, UP Client Relationship Director who managed the virtual aspect of the hybrid event as well as Keely McMullin, who recently joined the team from Fairfield.
The virtual Event kicked off with speaker Amanda Aronson, Principal of Aronson Consulting, who shared her journey to both personal and professional fulfillment. Through her consulting and coaching business, Amanda is on a mission to “strengthen women, so women can strengthen society.”
Amanda helped us visualize the navigation of her work-life sway in four chapters. Chapter 1. Early Career where she discovered she was a “fire starter”. Chapter 2. Building a Family and all that comes with it. She called it "The Collage". Chapter 3. ‘All about me' coined "The Chrysalis Phase." Amanda called this a time of "great internal work." She talks about shifting the focus to her health to be strong personally and professionally. She trained to be an art educator at a museum, and held office for the Board of Ed after taking political campaign training. And finally, Chapter 4 "Clarity." where Amanda focused on things that truly "aligned with her professional capacity and personal interests." This is the sweet spot we may not think about much when we start our careers and are in the midst of climbing the ladder, but becomes much more important when returning.
“Personal development is every bit as important as professional development”, Amanda summarized her advice for others.
Feedback from audience: “I appreciate Amanda being so open and sharing with us. Identifying what stage of the process fit well for you [in the process of work beginning, middle or end] was a new insight for me. Thanks!”
Jennifer shared how at Untapped Potential, we work to tie in what brings you joy to your second stage career. She shared, “Think about what you love, what you are good at. Think about where you fit in order to consider where you can add value.”
Jade McCarthy, our moderator highlighted the importance of this conversation,
“As moms, and as caregivers, dads even, we all understand that role of having to figure it out…as we move into each new phase of life. I have little people, growing people or grown people that look to me for everything. How do I navigate that with this career that I likely chose before those people came along?" [Answering these questions] is such an important [topic] we grow as people, as a culture and as a society.”
“Returner” “Launched” “Pivot” “Been there” “Moderator”
Our panelists shared their journey from their current perspective at different stages of the career-life continuum.
Marin Ranta, a research scientist with a background in physics and neuroscience shared how she is 7 weeks into a Flexreturn™ Engagement orchestrated by Untapped Potential Inc with a Pledging Partner Client, Triumph Engine Controls. As she is in the “thick” of it, Jade asked what is it like?”
I do get a rush when putting on my lab coat
Through the years, it was never the right time to return
Advice, “Say Yes. Yes to taking on something new, yes to being on a panel, like this, when you’re not comfortable with that!”
Marin also recapped what she is seeing in the workplace with regard to flexibility, hybrid work and measuring by deliverables v. in office time.
The panel was further enhanced by a career professional that was left out of the workforce during COVID 19. Cheryl Williams launched following our Return-to-Work Event last year after meeting Untapped Potential at New Haven’s Chamber Event. Now, Cheryl is an IT Consultant with Vizionara LLC, a female owned IT Consultancy. Cheryl successfully navigated her skills from Media operations to IT Consulting amid a pandemic. Polishing up her LinkedIn, leveraging connections that were willing to help her and continuing to skillUP are some of the key points Cheryl emphasized. Cheryl shared key moments of struggling in the juggle of expectations of a Mom and of one in the TV industry when conflicts such as 9/11 news coverage and Parents’ Day for Kindergarten coincided. We were fortunate to have Bertha, Cheryl’s 90 year old mother who joined in the virtual audience. Cheryl described the partnership of Bertha stepping in for her when she needed it and the flexibility afforded in her new consulting role to be there for her Mom.
Cheryl's advice, "skillUP! Leverage LinkedIN learning and never stop going to school. Networking, web design and more. "
Bruna, a multi-talented professional who pivoted from banking, to psychology and now interior design, all while navigating moves in three countries and the change of becoming a mom. She shared, things that impacted her journey…
the stress of managing a household and having to leave your kids for such a long time
pursuit of her childhood dreams
and, there is no work-life balance
Carolyn Alessi, who holds a Director role at Trinity Health, has “been there” opting out multiple times due to life’s occurrences. She shared her sage advice including:
Build your Network. After opting out when her children were young, she got the “7 year itch” to return. As she was volunteering on a board with industry professionals, she was well positioned to leverage that network for her return. She had a great visual of a bungee cord - nothing could hold her back!
Positive pep talks! They help to navigate difficult work scenarios and overcome the negative voice recorder in your own head
Invest in yourself. “You need to value yourself and be ok with seeking guidance to grow professionally through a coach, mentor or sponsor." Tune in to 1:06 in the video for her secret tip for FREE Coaching
“If you don’t value yourself, how is the potential employer going to trust they can value you”. Moderator, Jade McCarthy
Jade closed with “As we look forward as a society, how are ways in which you can help women to move forward toward that work-life balance (that doesn’t exits)? And, what would you advise companies to consider?”
Bruna asked us to all reflect on our boundaries. Carolyn shared that now, more than ever, you can share with employers what is important to you. She said, “Employers need to understand their workplace pool will have varying needs for flexibility.” Marin had practical
advice for employers to understand those periods when an employee might need to ramp up or ramp down due to caregiving. and Dads. From her experience from her Flexreturn™ Engagement her husband is able to block off his afternoons when he needs to do pick up or appointments. It has become more normalized due to other Dads taking the lead.
Amanda re-engaged from the virtual side responding to questions and cheering Panelists on.