How My GM Taught Me What It Really Means To Be A Successful Working Mother
This morning, I was copied in on an email I hate seeing. An unassuming account executive referred to the General Manager of our radio station market as, Mr. LaDonne. She was immediately corrected. In fact, my boss is LaDonne Craig. The correct title is Mrs. Craig or Ms. Craig.
Now, in all fairness, my boss does have two first names – both being very gender specific. But, come on, common sense tells us people don’t have a last name of LaDonne. And, I don’t know too many men named LaDonne or too many women named Craig. But, it’s very interesting that most people who have not met LaDonne look at her email signature that reads, “LaDonne Craig, General Manager,” and assume she is a man by the name of Craig LaDonne. Like, did she type in her own name incorrectly? And, various people also assume she’s a man on Facebook. FACEBOOK?! You can’t invert your name on Facebook! Get with it, people!
I think the deeper issue we have going on here is that most people assume a general manager is going to be a man. And, they aren’t entirely wrong. According to Forbes, in 2016, “22% of senior roles in the United States were occupied by women and 39% of companies had no women in senior roles.”
As a female who is in a middle-management position, I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s hard and moving up in ranks just isn’t possible for me right now. I look at my male counterparts who can come in and leave when they feel like it because every one of them has a wife who cares for their children pretty much full time. And, though my husband helps some with household duties and is a great dad, I am still the primary caregiver, grocery shopper, house cleaner, chef, and home CEO – all while working a full work-week.
Just this week, my daughter has an end-of-the-year school performance at 9:30 in the morning on Wednesday. My husband HAS to be at a plant to supervise their fire alarm testing. He can’t just reschedule a procedure that costs his client a few thousand bucks. And, I can’t let my kiddo down so I’ll be taking a morning off work to be in the crowd of cheering parents. Is moving my schedule around as a manager great for my career? NO. Is my company amazing at allowing me to be a parent? YES. But, not every working mom can do that. When you are in a management position, you can’t just blow off work for sick kids, recitals, vet appointments, cable installation, mom I peed my pants, left my lunch at home, vacation Bible school pickup, and the zillion other little emergencies that require YOUR attention. Oh, and if you are a manager who needs to travel for work… that’s another can of worms.
According to global-inluences.com, companies and organizations that provide strong work-life balance to attract women in leadership roles tend to have stronger bottom lines. They go on to say that women leaders tend to be more rational, flexible, understanding, and strive for a deeper sense of community in the workplace. This translates into a strong corporate culture, happiness among employees, and better production.
I am so thankful that I have an understanding and amazing general manager who is a mom and gets it. And, the benefits of having LaDonne as a supervisor don't stop there. She actually cares about all her employees and her kids. They have grown up to be successful, upstanding individuals! No small feat for sure. She works harder than any one person I know. And, you can tell her about any problem you are having and are met with a true and heartfelt answer. She encourages us and makes work fun. One time, she even dressed up like a unicorn to encourage all her employees to be unicorns! Seriously? WHO DOES THAT? Her name is LaDonne Craig. I'm so glad it's not the other way around.
This Mother's Day, thank all the women leaders in your workplace and community.
It's definitely not an easy life!