What were your biggest challenges on your way up?
For me, getting and staying in those line responsibility jobs versus a staff support job was one of the larger challenges. [Day defined staff jobs as support roles, like human resources, and line responsibility jobs as ones driving the company's profit and loss margins.] When I was at Starbucks, I left on maternity leave, and when I came back they wanted to rotate me out of my job because the travel was too much for a new mom. I was moved into the business alliances group. I had to quit the company for three weeks [to get back into a line responsibility job]. I had to take a stand. As a woman, you have to start early and stay in those positions to rise up. I find women take the backseat, supporting roles.
Were there any other trying times that stand out for you? I had to learn to take credit for my work in a positive way. I assumed people would know who drove things and this isn't always true. For example, I developed a program and a peer asked me if he could do the presentation. I let him do it and the next thing I knew all my work was being attributed to that peer. I had to get smarter about not giving my work away. It wasn't that I wasn't willing to help others but I had to be more careful about assuming everyone would appreciate what I was doing. The next time he asked me I said 'No, and here is why.'
How do you balance work and being a wife and mother of three? I think sometimes not so well! There are cases where I would have voted myself off the family island. I married a patient, supportive guy who knew when he met me that I would have my own life. He was willing, like I was, to do what worked for us and not care what other people thought our family should be.
Any other specifics on creating a work/family balance? The number one thing is I was a calendaring Nazi. In September, I would block in all my vacation, plus events like the Valentine's Day party and the field trips. My family knew I would be there when the things that mattered happened. When I was home, I was home. Even when I was working internationally, I'd come back from being on the road for 21 days, but then I wouldn't go into the office until noon, and I would be home at 6:30. I would spend 6:30 until 9:30 with the family, and then get on the phone to Asia until 1 or 2 in the morning. As long as you're willing to do things in an order that's non-traditional, you can make it work.
Did you give up anything as a working mom? You can't fit it all in. I went two years without working out. I never got manicures, pedicures, or facials. But for me, having everything is having a lot of love in my life, having real relationships with my parents, siblings, and family, and having a job I love.
What do you think for the future of women in the workplace? Will we see more female CEOs soon? Yes, I do. I think in the next five years, women will come into those more senior positions and board seats. There are already a lot more women in vice president roles and senior vice president roles. I think that it will only get better.
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