On our series in the run up to Mother’s Day, Is it about time management? Or is it about putting priorities in place? Shachi Irde heads the India office of the global organisation Catalyst that is promoting diversity in corporations. Here’s Irde in conversation with Ria Das
Why do you think ‘Moms Mean Business at Work’?
Moms mean business at work when they have the will and determination to have a successful career along with starting a family. Their motivation to create a better environment for themselves, their family and community enable them to find solutions for challenges at work and home; thereby maintaining a balance between their professional and personal lives.
Moreover, a new venture or a profession brings more meaning to their lives. It brings about a sense of self-fulfilment and strengthens their self esteem.
As a working mother, I prioritise my tasks and work towards ticking them off my checklist. Be it managing tight deadlines or putting a baby to sleep on time, we can come up with solutions that work for everyone (the child, family and of course, the organization). The willingness to overcome all challenges stems from the aim to have both, a flourishing career and a caring family.
How did you grow Catalyst in India while being a mother?
While Catalyst is a 50 year old organisation, in India it operates very much like a bootstrapped startup.
It’s tough to be a mother and to work around the clock to establish a startup. One has to make conscious choices at every stage and remember that it is not possible to be present everywhere.
What has experience taught you – and how can other mothers who are working or are entrepreneurs learn from it?
Prioritizing tasks and delegating work prove to be effective while managing ones professional and personal lives. Working mothers/mom-preneurs (mothers who are entrepreneurs) should evaluate which is the most important task and work towards completing it successfully. They should also build a support system around them, who support them and can help with taking care of the child.
So if the mother has a crucial meeting to attend, her spouse/mother/ in-laws/friends / nanny can take care of the child. If she feels that it is most important to be with the child, then she should delegate work amongst her colleagues, making a point to help them when they need it.
I would advice every working mother to make sure she surrounds herself with people whom she can trust and depend upon. Being part of a collaborative network which consists of other mom-preneurs, experienced professionals, etc. also helps in getting guidance and support. Such a network proves to be beneficial as they can discuss challenges and find ways to overcome them, in both personal and professional lives.
Lastly, don’t make your child an excuse for the choices you make as he/ she will not remember the sacrifices you made. It is possible to achieve what you aspire without falling prey to the burden of maternal guilt.