By Karina Cabrera-Bell, Founder & CEO, Reach Mama Network
I had the pleasure of partnering with Comcast to celebrate and highlight moms of color during Women’s History Month. I moderated a lively panel with inspiring women who work at the company’s California region and who shared their insights on how to be successful at work and at home.
From left to right: Jenny Gendron, Director of External Affairs; Tamara Fortson, Retail Market Manager and Monica Quijada, Business Development Representative.
The energy on stage was electric. The panel featured: Jenny Gendron, Director of External Affairs; Monica Quijada, Business Development Representative and Tamara Fortson, Retail Market Manager. We also had the opportunity to hear from Karen Fascenda, Vice President of Human Resources about the policies behind the family-friendly culture at Comcast.
Each woman gave great perspective to how they approach their work and how they manage motherhood. They shared some of the ups and downs of being a working mom. But it was clear to me that a major part of their success has to do with their employer being supportive.
Karina Cabrera-Bell, host of the Reach Mama Podcast.
Here were some of the takeaways.
Tamara noted the importance of family-friendly culture and making sure her teams feel fully supported — “I have over 100 frontline agents and I feel we all have the responsibility to truly live and breathe Comcast’s family first environment, not just for ourselves but for the people we manage.” Jenny added that it can be as simple as making sure your colleague knows, “I am here for you.”
Monica Quijada, Business Development Representative.
Monica shared that she is grateful that each Comcast office she visits – given the expansive area she covers throughout California – has an accommodating mother’s room. “It makes a big difference for me when I walk into a new office and I know they will have the facilities I need to support me as a nursing mom.”
Replace Mom Guilt with Mom Built
Mommy guilt was also a big topic for these working moms. As a new mom and a working mom, Monica shared her struggle with guilt and how she is learning to let go of it. Jenny – whose kids are 11 and 9 – shared that we have to reframe our mom guilt to mom built. Instead of feeling bad about having to manage work and family we need to have a positive outlook: “I no longer say mommy guilt, I say mommy built. I am built to take care of my family and to take care of my responsibilities at work.” By the applause in the room, it was clear that reframing guilt is something we all need to work on.
Jenny Gendron, Director of External Affairs.
Support from the male coworkers
“Male coworker allies have played an important role for each mom. Monica shared her apprehension when she first learned that she was expecting, “I was so nervous to share my pregnancy but when I did, my male colleagues were the first ones to congratulate me and encourage me to take my full maternity leave.” Jenny shared, “when I have a hard day because I have a sick kid at home, my male colleagues are always there to say, I have your back, go take care of your kid, and that goes a long way for me.”
Benefits that support parents
Karen, who spoke from an employer perspective and also as a mother of three, described some of the services that Comcast offers which include a generous parental leave for moms and dads, comprehensive dental benefits and programs that support physical and financial health.
So much more was discussed, but overall the panel encouraged attendees to go for their professional dreams, and not to undervalue their skills and ability to manage work and family. My main takeaway from our engaging conversation is that it matters who you work for. It is important to find a company who values you as a whole person and creates an environment where everyone can thrive. I am thrilled I had the chance to see firsthand how Comcast has created a family-friendly culture where everyone is valued and respected.
A special thanks to the Comcast Women’s Network Employee Resource Group for helping to make this event a huge success.
Listen to the full panel conversation that I assure you will make you laugh out loud and cry on the new episode on the Reach Mama Podcast, which elevates the stories of successful moms of color.
About Reach Mama Network
The Reach Mama Network is a premier community of professional moms of color who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. We provide our moms with the support and the tools they need to be successful. We accomplish this through digital storytelling, empowering events and honoring moms.
Our platform has cultivated over 13,000 women who are empowered to bring their unique skills and networks to supercharge the future of work.