Capital Group’s Manager, Investment Operations Diana Evans spent years working in various areas of the business before finding her perfect beat. She challenged herself and learned a lot within the group’s supportive environment until, ultimately, she found her calling helping other leaders grow.
In the fashion of a true leader, Evans has been helping her colleagues in ways that fall outside of her job description, too. She and her colleagues started the “Working Parents of Capital Group” community with just five members in 2017, and it has since grown to include about 1,000 employees across six offices. It “shines light on the reality of working parent challenges, and it provides a support system for associates who are on this crazy journey of juggling work life with home life,” she explained to Fairygodboss in a recent interview.
Here, Evans talks about working motherhood and pandemic parenting, as well as the importance of community and self-care to survive the stresses of 2020. She also shares what makes Capital Group a workplace where women can thrive — even in the most strange of circumstances.
Tell us about your time at Capital Group.
After receiving my undergraduate degree from UCLA, I worked at a large law firm but decided that it wasn’t the right path for me. I found Capital Group (CG) through one of my best friends, and I’ve been here ever since.
I’ve been able to make a career out of moving through the various business areas at CG and have developed a unique breadth and depth of knowledge. I’ve worked in six distinct business areas during my time here. From working directly with our investment group professionals on their strategic decisions to supporting our service organization by looking at new ways to enhance the client experience, I am always learning something new.
I finally found my calling in leading people about six years ago, and I’m currently a manager in our investment operations department. I absolutely love helping other leaders grow and supporting their career advancement at CG.
Tell us about being a working mom. How has it changed in 2020?
Being a working mom is intense! We want to do right by our family while still achieving career goals. The more you care about doing a good job in either space, the more burden you carry. It means more work and responsibility, creating pressure on how you spend your time. It can also be a mental and emotional burden, causing increased stress and anxiety.
From my perspective, women carry more of the familial burden than men. Sometimes, I place unhealthy and unrealistic expectations on myself, and I constantly have to remind myself to ease off that pursuit of perfection. My dad passed away three years ago and, in one of our last conversations, he reminded me not to put so much pressure on myself. He saw everything I was trying to balance and he didn’t want it to start impacting my health.
Being a working parent was already challenging prior to 2020 and “pandemic parenting” has pushed working parents to the brink. In the blink of an eye, we were thrust into chaos, with our kids at home while still working. Parents with school-aged children were getting a crash course on Zoom, Google Docs and more to navigate distance learning. We got through a summer with no summer camps or daycares, and all of our rules around screen time went out the window entirely. And that’s just the parenting part of the equation. We were also trying to deliver on our professional obligations at work.
I feel so fortunate to work at Capital Group where my business group allows me the flexibility to keep my job and work from home. I know there are many working parents out there who don’t have that option and have had to make some tough decisions. We will continue to be tested as parents into the next year but, because we are working parents and have an unbelievable ability to rise to the occasion, we will get through it. It won’t be easy, but we will do it and give it our best.
How did you become involved with the Working Parents Community at Capital Group?
I have always been passionate about paving the way for women to achieve their career ambitions. It might take longer to achieve our professional goals or our priorities may shift overtime. We might even create new goals altogether when we experience different phases of motherhood. Being a parent is a big job and the most important responsibility I have in life. We are raising little people to be happy and healthy individuals who we hope will be upstanding citizens and contribute to society in a positive way. This is a tall order and it takes a ton of work if you want to do it right.
In a traditional family like mine, I tend to carry more of the burden than my husband when it comes to childrearing. I could have easily joined one of the many women’s communities CG has to offer, but I had a passion for making progress toward achieving gender equality through exploring the traditional imbalance of familial responsibilities. If these responsibilities are shared more equally, it will give women more opportunities for career advancement.
This issue is beyond just a women’s issue. It’s an issue that impacts women as mothers in particular, and it highlights the need for both parents to be part of the solution. This is why we started the “Working Parents of Capital Group” community. Our community shines light on the reality of working parent challenges, and it provides a support system for associates who are on this crazy journey of juggling work life with home life.
How has the community evolved since its inception?
We started the community in 2017 at our Irvine, California office with a small working group of five. Three years later, it is now a community of approximately 1,000 members across six offices.
Our mission is to connect CG associates across the globe so we can celebrate the joys of parenthood and share the challenges of being our best selves at home and at work. We have always been focused on supporting the needs and wants of our associates through engaging our members to be active in the community. We’ve expanded our mission and vision to connect as many associates as possible across our organization. Another very important role we take on is being an advocate. We are the voice for working parents and it’s our goal to be a support system.
How has the community supported working parents during 2020?
We’ve invested our energy into hosting virtual support sessions. They are broken out into different ages and stages: Baby and Toddler, Elementary School, Jr. High and High School, and College. These discussions are happening across many of our offices. It creates a safe place for people to be vulnerable and open about their experiences, which have become increasingly challenging over time.
Many parents express feeling burnt out and exhausted, and they wonder if they can keep going. We’ve received extremely positive feedback from our community saying that our sessions are cathartic, supportive and have normalized challenges in hearing others’ stories. One idea a member recently had was to dedicate a session to parenting bloopers. We’ve all made mistakes as parents and there are always things we could’ve done better. I’m sure that all parents have stories like these. Overall, coming together as a community, even if virtually, has brought comfort to associates across the organization.
What are some takeaways you’ve gleaned from listening to other working parent associates?
Our working parent associates are the most resilient people ever. Period. Capital Group associates are amazing. We want to do the right thing, all the time. Associates are being challenged in unforeseen ways, but we are getting through it. However, it’s definitely stressful and, at times, can feel oppressive.
During this pandemic, we’ve heard specific and detailed stories about difficult decisions related to children and distance learning options, considerations for elderly family members under the same roof, and tough decisions overall. It seems like so many of us are constantly weighing risks, pros and cons. Sometimes, very raw emotions surface during our time together as a community. Having caring colleagues listen to personal stories is priceless in a time like this.
We’ve heard about a lot of anxiety associated with decisions to send kids back to daycare or school. Now that the school year is well underway, we are hearing that people are settled into a routine and have accepted the reality of their circumstances. Another thing we have heard a lot is that working parents are very thankful for the varying levels of flexibility that Capital Group provides, depending on business needs. CG empathizes with the unique needs of working parents, and our company has shown that in many different ways. My specific department has been flexible in allowing us to take time out of our days to help our kids with school or go on walks in between meetings to clear our minds.
Do you have any tips to share that have helped you cope?
I try to go on a 30-minute walk each day. I’ve really enjoyed hikes with my family on the weekends, as well. Getting my heart rate up, breathing the fresh air and soaking up the sunshine lifts my spirits. I feel free when I’m out on the trails and in nature. I can forget about what’s going on in the world and let go. It’s really about the simple things these days and the little moments of joy you can create for yourself.
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