101 Collins’ female leaders on Mother’s Day

May 9

This year, Mother’s Day will likely look quite different for many families. While staying inside might mean indulging in a few recently perfected home-baked pastries in bed, one thing remains the same – the role of the conventional mother is defined by so much more than simply being a mum.

We spoke to four impressive women at 101 Collins who weighed in on what motherhood means to them, and how they are finding balance during this period of isolation.

Tanya Lambert, Asset Manager at AXA Investment Management.
Mother of two.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

We don’t usually have a huge celebration and tend just to cook at home. What I look forward to the most are the handmade cards from the children – they are the best gifts of all, and breakfast in bed!

What skills translate from motherhood to your professional life?

Oh, my goodness, so many. The ability to multitask has been critical. And – although this was not an overnight thing – to be kinder to myself. Sometimes we stuff it up and that’s OK. I think it is important to show your children that, as adults, we make mistakes sometimes. We need to acknowledge mistakes and apologise if need be.

What is something you have learned about your children whilst in isolation?

I have learned that they adjust to new situations very quickly. Children feel safe with routine, so we quickly put one in place when we took them out of school.

The children have really enjoyed exploring the outdoors and learning more about the native plants which we collect on our walks to then draw as an activity together. It’s amazing what we can come up with to do when are left to our own devices.

Discuss the importance of working mothers in the workforce.

I am a huge advocate for women remaining in the workforce after having children – but there is a long way to go to ensure it is a viable option for working mothers.

Employers play a large part in supporting this, so if one good thing can come from this pandemic, it’s showing workplaces that working parents can still be productive when working from home in a flexible capacity. Hopefully, this means line-of-sight management will become less important once this isolation period is over.

What do you recommend to other mother’s during this period of self-isolation?

Take time for you – it’s a cliché but we all have days that are harder than others. Do an online yoga class or leave the house for a walk with a good podcast (I can highly recommend The High Low for lightening the mood)!

Toula Panopoulos, General Manager – Business Operations, Allens.
Auntie and godmother.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to honour and express respect, love and thanks to your mum or the mother figure in your life. My mother passed away 25 years ago, but not one Mother’s Day goes by when I don’t stop and think about the void her passing has left in my life. So for me, Mother’s Day always includes a visit to the cemetery, to light a candle in her memory and pay respect to her on this special day!

While I don’t have children of my own, I am blessed to have 5 godchildren and nieces and nephews who are just as special to me – as if they were my own. I take this role seriously. When they ask questions, seek guidance or advice they get real, honest and sometimes unpopular responses. But they know they are loved and that I am always available to them for whatever they need.

Discuss the importance of working mothers in the workforce.

Companies must support and indeed actively encourage mothers to return to the workforce. Men and women bring together different types of energies that compliment each other. Women have a different perspective and typically a more nurturing mindset which helps with multitasking, teamwork, collaboration and so on. I’m not saying men don’t have these qualities, but women are more conditioned towards these characteristics. Also, working mothers make great role models for their children by instilling a sense of self-confidence, independence and the ability to set goals.

What have you learned during this period of self-isolation?

Isolation has taught me that that I can work from home and be as productive, if not more, as being in the office. But the greatest lesson isolation has taught me is to never again take for granted the importance of human interaction; the ability to see family and friends, to be in their presence and be able to hug and kiss them. While I have stayed connected using Skype, Zoom or Teams, nothing beats face to face. So my takeaway from this – and I will make it my mission when I catch up with friends and family in the future, is to put away my device, focus all of my attention on them and just live in the moment.

Donna Anthony, Client Services and Relationship Manager, 101 Collins Street.
Mother and stepmother.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day a little differently this year?

I never really celebrate Mother’s Day for myself – its more about the children and creating a fun day for them.

Why do you think Mother’s Day is important to pause and recognise each year?

It is very important that we not only educate our children to recognise the work we do as mothers, but to ensure we encourage other mothers to celebrate themselves.

What skills translate from motherhood to your professional life?

If anything, it’s the opposite! I have always been extremely organised and orderly in my professional life, which has influenced the way I am as a mother. However, since becoming a mum, I find I am a more patient person, which supports my working life.

Discuss the importance of working mothers in the workforce.

I think it is integral that we support working mothers as much as possible. For me, returning to work has helped provide a sense of purpose outside of being a mother and a wife. I’m still Donna, and I still want to be myself. Workplaces can gain a lot out of working mothers – their organisational skills, patience and people skills bring a new perspective to the table.

What do you recommend to other mother’s during this period of self-isolation?

Speak to someone outside of your inner circle. Chatting to a therapist is incredibly worthwhile and not at all taboo. I cannot stress this enough. Other things I would recommend are getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and wine. Lots of wine.

Edna Hedstrom, Executive Assistant, BGH Capital.
Mother of one.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day a little differently this year?

Indoors with my family. We won’t be going out to dinner in a restaurant! If we want something extra-special, I’ll have to cook it.

Why do you think Mother’s Day is important to pause and recognise each year?

It is important for our kids to know that it is hard work. In many ways, you are holding down the fort. It is a lot of work and a lot of effort for one person to do. It is incredibly important our kids to understand how everything works – it takes time to get everything done (the right way), and it just doesn’t come miraculously.

What skills translate from motherhood to your professional life?

I have a lot more patience! The little things don’t bother me anymore. I am more tolerant of mistakes and human error – if somebody does make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.

Discuss the importance of working mothers in the workforce.

I think it is great that we have so many working mothers in the workforce. They are good role models for their children and for the workforce. You shouldn’t have to give up anything – you should be able to have both. You may need a little bit of help here and there – that’s OK. Work is a great outlet, and I think this makes you a better person for it.

What do you recommend to other mum’s during this period of self-isolation?

It depends – if you have a teenager you probably want to rip your hair out!  Be patient – with your kids, and with your partner. Remember that this is not forever. I am sure we will all go back to work and treasure this time. This is the first time in a long time that people can just sit back and be with each other.

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