Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?

What a disturbing statistic. One of the primary reasons women leave the workplace is to become a full-time caregiver. Companies need to work to retain women by providing flexible work schedules and the ability to work remotely. One thing the pandemic taught us is that productivity is enhanced, not reduced by a remote working environment. Companies should also consider additional benefits or financial assistance for childcare.

We need to close the gender pay gap to give families a choice on who fulfills the primary caregiver role, men are great caregivers too!

I am a huge advocate for corporate “reentry” programs designed to ensure a smooth transition for women going back to work. Pioneers in this space include IBM, Accenture and JP Morgan Chase who all offer “returnship” programs.

Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?

I have been fortunate to learn from many managers and colleagues throughout my career. Everyone has a unique style and wisdom to impart. We should always be learning from everyone in the organization. Giving younger women a voice, challenging and promoting their ideas and giving credit and support when due are some ways I try to stop on every floor.

What is your golden rule at work?

Lead by example. This rule applies to everything from showing respect and empathy for others, being willing to take ownership of challenges and risks or demonstrating a strong work ethic.

How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?

I have worked remotely for the past three years so transitioning to working from home during the pandemic was less of a challenge. Having my whole family in the house is another story! We all spend a lot of time on Zoom. Seeing colleagues and clients on camera has added a level of normalcy to the workday. My company offers a variety of socialization opportunities from happy hours to zoom exercise classes and even group therapy. It has brought us together, fostered team spirit and provided a great outlet for stress relief and shared experiences.

What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends?

Visit my family and friends in Ireland. Make up for all the lost travel, fly somewhere … anywhere! See colleagues and clients in person. Eat out, a lot!