Fairygodboss

Noelle Coleman, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs at Thomson Reuters, just may be one of the only working moms who can say “I never feel like I am missing out.” That’s because her company allows her the flexibility to make her own schedule: she sometimes works from home, and never feels pressured to work the traditional 9-to-5 hours.

“Having a boss who understands and values my work product and output and not the hours that I am clocking at a desk in midtown is invaluable to me right now,” she says. “I get to spend loads of time with [my daughter] given that I work full-time, and coming to the office and working with colleagues on new and fun projects means that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds.” 

As Coleman puts it, “flexibility [at Thomson Reuters] is a given, not a privilege, and it breeds loyalty and a drive to excel.”

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 She recently spoke to Fairygodboss about her pre-work morning routine, her go-to stress-relief activity, and why she believes Thomson Reuters is a fantastic place for working parents.

How long have you been in your current role? 

I have worked at Thomson Reuters for three years in this role.

What’s your pre-work morning routine like?

It depends on the day. I work from home two days a week and come into the office three days. If it’s a day that I am coming into the office, I log-on around 7am and respond to emails that came in from Europe and Asia. My husband will get my daughter up and entertain her till he leaves for the office as his commute is longer than mine. Once he leaves, Sloane (my daughter) gets my full attention. We read a few books and have breakfast together and then I get her dressed before either my mom or my nanny arrives at 9am. I usually leave for the office shortly after that as my commute is only 20 minutes. 

Why do you think Thomson Reuters is a particularly great place to be a working mom? 

It’s one of the best things about the company. For starters, I took a five month maternity leave. My daughter was sleeping through the night when I came back to work and that made a huge difference.  We now have a five month, gender-neutral parental leave policy. When I came back to work, my boss was completely supportive of having a flexible schedule. There are 24 hours in a day, and as a global company, you often need to work outside of the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-5.  Having a boss who understands and values my work product and output and not the hours that I am clocking at a desk in midtown is invaluable to me right now. Most days I try and leave the office around 4, because that’s usually a quiet period for me with time zones, and then I will log back on for a few hours from 7-9 once Sloane is asleep.

How do you feel like your job has helped complemented your function as a parent? 

I never feel like I am missing out. I get to spend loads of time with Sloane given that I work full-time and coming to the office and working with colleagues on new and fun projects means that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. I see so many parents who are burnt out and exhausted and that means they can’t ‘give their all’ to anything. I never feel like I am too tired to fully participate.

How has your role as a mom made you a better employee

Being a working mom makes you a time management GURU. You don’t stall, you make sharper executive decisions and you never ever waste time. Your home time is valuable and your office is time is valuable so you maximize on that.

What’s your go-to stress-relief activity or routine

Bikram yoga. Not only does your body feel great after a session, but your mind is clear as well.  Some of my best ideas for work come to me while on the mat.

What kinds of boundaries to you follow (if any) to separate work and family time?

For me, not having strict boundaries is what enhances my life. Working in PR and Comms, you’re never really off, so Monday-Friday 9-5 doesn’t really exist. I try and blend life and work because I really enjoy what I do. For me, having the flow and ability to work whenever and wherever is the enhancement.

What are you especially good at as a mom? What about at work?

I’m good at playing and planning fun activities. We try and make the most out of living in the city so every weekend we have a new adventure. We’re always at a museum or the zoo or exploring a new park. I’ve never been a homebody, and that translates in my parenting style.

At work, I think I’m good at bringing new ideas to the table and pushing boundaries. I’m less risk averse and push my stakeholders to talk about their teams and their work. I like getting them out into the spotlight and showcasing their talents.

What’s your #1 tip for new moms who are navigating the delicate balance of working and mothering?  

Do not apologize for being a mom in the workplace.  If you want to leave to go to a music class or activity with your child, or if you are just back from maternity leave and have a quiet afternoon and you miss your baby, go home.

In the workplace of the future, what matters is your output and not your attendance. Learn to manage your own schedule and work how you work best. For me, writing is a big part of my job.  I do that best in the evenings, on my couch, with my laptop, with quiet. It’s impossible to write anything substantive in the office with a million other distractions. So if I duck out at 4pm to get in some QT, I am more than making up for it at other hours.

I think if collectively, we all prioritize balance, the work culture will ultimately adapt too.

What’s your favorite part of your work day (or your favorite aspect of your job)?

Because I sit in corporate, I get to support many groups from emerging technology and innovation to our ESG efforts. I am constantly learning something new.  My days vary all the time and I love that.

What do you love most about your Thomson Reuters?

That it not only supports, but also encourages employees to work their best. Flexibility is a given here, not a privilege, and it breeds loyalty and a drive to excel.

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