Dr. Kristin Ihle Molinaroli is a wife, mother, licensed psychologist, and the founder of Avant, a consulting firm that supports Fortune 200 companies.
She’s also a [retired] gifted track star and a seven-time All-American athlete who has dedicated her life to accelerating the potential of others. But long before she developed LUMEN, the patent-pending employee development app designed to drive employee engagement and growth, she was in a position in which many women find themselves today — that delicate dance between career and motherhood.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed companies to adopt work-from-home policies, increasing tolerance and support for working mothers, it’s also created another unique set of challenges. Kristin Molinaroli’s mother was a stay-at-home mom, and she recalls a time when her mother was considering re-entering the workforce and the challenges that arose for her during that time. In 2021, the journey continues for women juggling work and family. Kristin Molinaroli believes that company communication is vital.
“It really all depends on what stage of life you're in and we need to both understand and respect individual differences,” Kristin Molinaroli says. “What worked for me was based on my values, my aspirations, and my partner.”
Of the 35 million working mothers in the United States, 9.8 million are currently experiencing burnout, according to a CNBC survey. This is unsurprising, as CNBC also reports that women balancing careers and motherhood are 28% more likely to experience professional burnout than their working father counterparts. An Executive Edge survey also found that women have been less likely to receive pay raises and promotions during the pandemic.
“If you're hitting the pause button because you're starting a family, or maybe you have some end-of-life issues with a parent who you're taking care of, and it means that you can't take the promotion, or you can't take on the additional customer for the next six months to five years, I think it's really important that you communicate that inside of your company,” Kristin Molinaroli says. “Don't avoid those conversations because there's somebody inside of the company making decisions for you during strategic talent reviews. While they may be uncomfortable, have those discussions so leaders don’t assume to know what you want. Clear communication about what you aspire to is important.”
Kristin Molinaroli uses the example of an employee turning down new accounts due to a lack of time and how that could send a mixed message to a supervisor. An employee could essentially end up in a stagnant situation purely because their manager assumes that the employee is comfortable in that role and not aspiring for more. “Be clear about your career goals,” says Kristin Molinaroli, who is an executive leader in organizational assessment and development. “This goes back to that self-assessment. Once you assess your individual talents you need to move onto context that may shape your decisions. For example, Are you single? Are you in a relationship? Do you have dual careers? Do you have kids in a great school district? Etcetera. All of these factors matter and it can be complicated.”
One example that comes up has to do with mobility. If an employee feels that, over time (as life circumstances change), they can become more flexible or mobile, it’s crucial to communicate that, according to Molinaroli. “You may need to stay in San Diego right now, but eventually, you could take on increasing responsibilities and could transfer to a New York office,” she says. “Be clear about potential constraints and the timeline for when you believe those will change. Speak about what you aspire to do, so no one fills in the blanks for you. ”
“For example, I worked with a leader based in the US who was offered a senior leadership role in Europe. She communicated with the company that she wanted the role and yet, had a child who was in his/her last year of high school. That once her child graduated from high school the senior leader would be able to move. This clear communication allowed the company to find an interim solution until the female executive could make the move to Europe.”
Kristin Molinaroli recommends being clear about your goals, the experience you need, and how having a family will affect your professional timeline. “I would also say, don't split the baby. It’s personal for me,” Kristin Molinaroli says. “I guess the bottom line is, carve out focused time for work, focused time for family, focused time for yourself, whether it's working out, or fixing up an old Hot Rod, or going to yoga. It’s whatever your ‘me’ time is. Make sure you're doing that.”
Molinaroli learned a life-changing lesson when her son was just a 2-year-old. At the time, her goal was to be the fastest partner and first woman partner at the firm. “I had some pretty big goals, and I achieved them,” Molinaroli says. “But at the time, my son had a little desk in our kitchen. So he was working on his desk with his back to us because that's how the study area was set up. As my partner and I were talking, my son turned around and said to me, ‘Would you please be quiet? I'm working on a report!’ And of course, where do you think he heard that? And so it was at that moment that I realized that I had things that were washing over each other. I realized I was not carving out focused time for my priorities but rather allowing my work to overshadow everything.”
Kristin Molinaroli admits that she was partially paying attention to her kids and simultaneously trying to do work, and it was a major wake-up call. She still gets choked up when she thinks back to that moment.
“I was distracted, and I didn’t have the privilege of focus until it was affecting my relationships,” Kristin Molinaroli says. “And it was potentially affecting my work.”
Every mother and father for that matter will have to sort through their career objectives, family values and other critical factors to reach their own conclusions about what the right alloy is - meaning the blending of career and family. Regardless of how things shake out for a person - meaning individual differences - what is essential is communicating with your company about your career aspirations and where appropriate, changing life circumstances.
Full story: https://www.bbntimes.com/society/avant-s-kristin-ihle-molinaroli-shares-advice-on-balancing-motherhood-and-career?fbclid=IwAR0hmzFQ8yldzyALDUDTd0KSgqrAI5VdhNK_mAjhg1C62ssWbXyXfv4mp4Y