Global Practice Leader Business Continuity Planning & Senior Consultant, TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants
“I had three children in four years and I had to make some tough choices throughout to balance work and family life. There were times I said, “I am truly honoured that you would consider me for this opportunity but I don’t think I’m going to be able to do a good job,” and I stepped back. There were also times I felt I was passed over for a promotion, because someone decided I could not handle something I was well suited for instead of asking me. But a defining moment of my career happened when I jumped at an opportunity nobody wanted to take on. The role was out of our comfort zones as risk control engineers. I raised my hand and said, “This is interesting to me. I feel like I could do these things.” Right now, that is really my specialty. There was a need and I went for it. Now, I’ve grown that into my thing.”
Andrea Blair, Global Practice Leader Business Continuity Planning & Senior Consultant, TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants.
It’s been what I have to do. I had three children in four years. For me, it was not just a challenge of supporting my children as a mom, but it was also supporting my husband’s career, which included relocating our family every few years. These moves presented challenges on both fronts. Some nights I just didn’t sleep to get it all done. But I enjoyed working. I love being an engineer. But I was a mom as well and I took that responsibility. It was just as important as anything else. I feel that my experience and challenges as both a mother and consultant have complimented each other and made me better at both. I remember I wanted to get my Professional Engineering Accreditation which required many references, essay submissions and passing two eight hour exams. My children were in elementary school at that time. We turned the dining room into a homework “mom study” area for several months and we all studied together. My daughters still remember those times and were more excited than me when I passed both exams and achieved the accreditation. This instilled in them that they can do the same.
Be resourceful. Tasks that didn’t require interaction with my children, I would have someone come and do those. I always also had nannies I trusted. When I hired them, I didn’t try to micromanage them. That is something many working moms struggle with. Find someone you trust so that when you go home, you can spend quality time with your family and when you are working you can focus on that and not what’s going on at home.
I would say what really kind of set me apart was when I jumped at an opportunity nobody wanted to take on. The role was out of our comfort zones as risk control engineers. But I raised my hand and said, “You know, this is interesting to me. I feel like I could do these things.” That’s where I really got into supply chain analysis, business interruption and continuity. Right now, that is my specialty. I really enjoy it. I find that very exciting. There was a need. I went for it. Now, I’ve grown that into my thing.
Executive Assistant to Prof. Dr. Axel Stepken, Chairman of the Board of Management
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Senior Safety Compliance Engineer, TÜV SÜD America.
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Head of the Rail Infrastructure Department, TÜV SÜD Rail.
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