If you’re a working mom, you know all too well that finding and maintaining a balance between your career and your personal life is no easy feat. As Colleen Campbell, director of Operations Excellence at West Monroe Partners, puts it, “I’m very busy, and my job can be demanding, but for the most part, it works. I can be a parent and not feel guilty about it.”
A single mom with three kids, Campbell acknowledges that “some days are easier than others.” But she also says she wouldn’t change anything.
How does she do it? For starters, she feels like she’s able to set expectations at work. “I was very clear when I took the role with West Monroe that I needed to be at home for my kids at times,” Campbell says. She adds that her manager is very supportive; in fact, he is often the person reminding her to keep a healthy balance.
Recently, Campbell shared with Fairygodboss how her role as a mom has made her a better employee, her go-to stress relief routines, and her No. 1 tip for moms who are navigating the delicate balance of working and mothering.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been at West Monroe Partners for 6 months. Prior to that, I built and managed a national change management practice for another consulting firm.
What’s your pre-work morning routine like?
I’m a single mom with three kids ages 8, 10 and 13. So I’m very busy getting my kids and myself out the door by 7:45. I’m usually up at 5 a.m. reading emails, preparing for my day, meditating when I can, getting three tired and usually grumpy kids out of bed, eating breakfast, making lunch, getting dressed, and finally kisses and out the door. It’s not easy, but it’s a privilege to be a mom. Some days are easier than others, but I wouldn’t change it.
Why do you think West Monroe is a particularly great place to be a working mom?
I was very clear when I took the role with West Monroe that I needed to be at home for my kids at times— supporting Girl Scouts, playdates, home needs, activities, planning trips and more. As a director, I’m very busy, and my job can be demanding, but for the most part, it works. My manager is very supportive. He reminds me to keep a balance.
I can be a parent and not feel guilty about it. It sounds strange, but some workplaces and managers are not as supportive. Especially as a single mom, I need to be home or at events when I need to be there. West Monroe is supportive of that even though I manage it well for the most part.
How has your role as a mom made you a better employee?
I have a lot of patience and understanding for other employees. I know work isn’t easy at times for many. I bring a positive attitude and care for others greatly. I try to bring a more human side to the workplace and have built great relationships with all I meet. I also mentor a lot of other women. I’m doing my part to make West Monroe more diverse and inclusive so that younger women (my daughter included!) will have more opportunities than I did when I was beginning my career.
What’s your go-to stress-relief activity or routine?
Meditation and lots of exercise. I work out often to release stress, including lifting weights and running. Hugging and being there for my kids makes me feel good about life. I also have a very active social life, fun family, and great friends. I’m blessed to be surrounded by good people.
What kinds of boundaries do you follow (if any) to separate work and family time?
It’s tough, but I’ve learned to say no when it’s not a priority so I can focus on my kids. This has been really hard to learn, and I still have a long way to go.
What are you especially good at as a mom? What about at work?
I’m good at connecting with my kids. I don’t strive to be a perfect mom, but I do work on being a good mom. I talk with my kids about everything, and all three kids share what’s on their minds.
I’ve had conversations about many topics that have been sensitive in nature, so it’s good to know they trust me to share their mind even when it’s hard or embarrassing.
At work, I’m good at growing the business, building the practice, creating new methodologies and leading effective teams. I bring a lot of relationship building, strategy, and creativity — and unstoppable attitude — to my work.
What’s your No. 1 tip for new moms who are navigating the delicate balance of working and mothering?
Don’t try to be perfect; just be yourself. There is no right way to be a mom. Trust your instincts.
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
Building collaboration across our firm and pushing our company to be innovative.
What do you love most about your company?
It’s a great culture. I like that the leading men very often acknowledge their wives for helping them be successful. I never experienced that in other firms. I feel like I truly can make a difference at West Monroe and I don’t hold back. I feel like I can be successful and be myself. That’s so important to me since I’m creative yet very strategic. I need to stretch boundaries and push others to think big.
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