I was lucky enough to be nominated to attend Shine For Women in Jan 2016 which I was thrilled about – to have the chance to take two days out of life to focus on yourself is such a rare gift. My colleagues who had already been to Shine raved about how transformational it was, so the spaces were highly coveted!
The timing of it happened to coincide with just finding out I was pregnant again with my second child and all the conflicting emotions that can bring with it. I was thrilled for the news whilst also apprehensive about what that would mean for my career path…
My company had been incredibly supportive after my first child. Two years prior when I had returned from maternity leave they had unquestioningly accommodated my desire to transition from a digital product role into a client leadership role. Fast forward two years and I was poised for the next challenge. I was ready to take on more of a leadership role but I feared that another maternity leave might get in the way of that.
There were a couple of people from my company there, and a few others from similar backgrounds which meant that we understood the cultures in which many of us worked. As soon as we started talking, the safety of the space meant that everyone was open and honest (and emotionally free!) from the very start.
The exercises we did were incredibly powerful – I found it particularly useful to spend time reflecting on my values. I realised the significance to me of feeling part of something bigger – that sense of belonging really matters to me and that will continue to be a focus for the teams I build. I’ve worked out who my allies are and I now tell everyone to identify their champions and take strength from them. It helped me focus on my Bigger Game and think long term rather than worrying about being “out of the game” and absent from the workplace for a year’s maternity.
I’ve found myself coming back the principles I learnt again and again. They stand true whatever the circumstances. I revisited the techniques once my second maternity leave finished and made a bold move to step into a role that set me on the right path to leadership that I had wanted.
Since Shine set the wheels in motion I have started my dream job as Managing Director of PGOne which is Publicis Groupe’s media, data, content and creative agency, built to service Procter & Gamble. I’m still using what I learnt at Shine in sometimes unexpected ways – when you start a new job in the middle of a pandemic I have found that tools such as mapping your thoughts against the Circle of Concern vs the Circle of Influence can really help focus your energy on what you can and can’t control!