Crawford® Highlights Female Leaders, Day Three
Editor’s Note: On International Women’s Day March 8, Crawford & Company®’s Claims World blog kicked off a four-day series featuring seven of its female leaders. Today, our series continues as some of the women share how they have juggled successful careers with raising a family, among other topics. Click here to read the first post in our series and here for Wednesday’s post. Be sure to check back tomorrow for our final article in the series.
Have you taken time off to start or raise a family? Is there enough support/acknowledgement for mothers returning to the workplace?
Angela Ferrante, senior vice president, Operations, Garden City Group℠, (GCG®) LLC: “Some support exists but there certainly could be more. While I only took a few months off to start my family, our society could do a better job of providing more time at home just after a child is born. That would really go a long way to ensure that women both return to and remain in the workplace long-term. Having a baby isn’t a vacation and, often, a woman is welcomed back after having had time ‘off.’ The reality is that a mother returning to work hasn’t slept in months! Thankfully lots of companies, including ours, do a good job of providing flexibility to allow mothers to be in two or three places at once.”
Heather Matthews, senior vice president, National Claims Management Center, Crawford: “Workplaces have improved and simple gestures such as flex time and the ability to work from home are critical to a new working mother. Guilt plagues new mothers—struggling to make time for their children, their spouse, and work demands. Women do not want to appear weak or admit that we need help; instead, we try to take it all on—constantly repeating to ourselves and others that we are fine. Asking for help, flexibility and support are not signs of weakness. We, as employers, do not need to put additional stress on these women. If they are good at their jobs, ask how the kids are after that panicked phone call that Suzy threw up all night and they are going to be late. Allow them the space and flexibility to get their work done. They will. I see them on-line at 10 p.m., so show them that you can relate to their situation.”
As a mother with a full-time, out-of-the-home career, what is the most difficult obstacle you face every day?
Heather: “The time juggle: There are not enough hours in the day, so you have to choose what doesn’t get done, what battles you pick, where to focus stress and worry, and how to organize the next 24 hours.”
What does working out of the home show your children about you and women in general?
Angela: “As a mother of boys, I think it’s especially important to provide my sons with a model of a strong working parent. With more highly educated women making the choice to exit the workforce year over year it’s especially important to show my sons that a woman can both work and be a loving and present parent. I will never forget the day that my son drew a picture for school about what his mom did and, it said, ‘She helps people. Well, that was followed by the year that he answered, ‘She talks on the phone a lot,’ but I digress.”
How have you overcome any workplace gender obstacles?
Maggie Cowing, UK technical director of Major & Complex Loss, Crawford Global Technical Services®: “By hard work and refusing to accept that my gender should affect my ability to do a good job.”
Heather:” Unfortunately I have had to overcome gender obstacles. The most common has been sexist comments by both clients and colleagues. I have been called sweetheart, honey, gorgeous, chick and a few others that I won’t mention. Sometimes they were offensive, sometimes they were humorous, and at times just based on stupidity.”
What’s the best lesson ever learned?
Rianne Baumann, vice president, Global Markets, and director liability & CAR, Crawford: “Never lose. Win or learn.”
Check back tomorrow for our final installment in the Claims World series celebrating the women of Crawford & Company.