'You Can Do This': A Working Mom on Being a Financial Services Leader

Sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group

Rebekah Herman

Photo courtesy of PNC.

Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss
June 13, 2024 at 5:59PM UTC

For more than 160 years, PNC has been committed to supporting its customers, communities, employees and shareholders. The company has long been committed to championing its women employees, especially working moms, with women making up 60% of PNC’s workforce. Fairygodboss recently spoke with PNC working mom Rebekah Herman. 

In her leadership role in Credit Products at PNC, Rebekah has a lot of responsibilities. But her most important role is at home -- parenting her kids. Rebekah spoke with us about how these two critical jobs complement one another and how she’s risen to the challenges they present, all with PNC’s support. Plus, she shares her No. 1 tip for new working moms, saying: “You can do this.”

Tell us about your job.

I’ve been in the Credit Products leadership role since 2013. My role recently changed, as my coverage as a Regional Credit Products Group executive is now the new Corporate Banking West Region. This includes some existing PNC staff and, after the close of PNC’s acquisition of BBVA USA, a team of BBVA USA underwriters and credit product specialists. Prior to this shift, I was the leader of several Credit Products Group vertical teams, including healthcare, public finance and financial institutions businesses.  

What’s your pre-work morning routine? 

Always a cup of coffee and a good workout. During COVID, it's also been great to be around to get my children off to school. I usually start my workday by firming up my schedule for the day and knocking out a few emails, then a nice workout and then kiddos, before the official work starts.  

Why do you think PNC is a great place to be a working mom? 

I was already a mom when I joined PNC, so knowing that my employer appreciates the “juggle” has always been critical to my engagement and performance. My parenting experience, like so many others, includes unique challenges (adoption, special needs care and health issues) and the ever-present chaos.

PNC’s overt commitment to appreciate the working parent experience gave me the confidence to plow ahead and pursue big career opportunities. I’ve always felt that PNC wants me to be both a great mom and a great employee. 

Parenting requires flexibility and options. I was fortunate to have access to PNC’s childcare center in Pittsburgh. We also took advantage of in-home care for illnesses. When my kiddos experienced more serious health issues, I had the flexibility to work remotely. I’ve always been surrounded by colleagues and leaders who are parents, reinforcing the shared experience and notion that we can do both—build strong, high-performing teams at PNC and experience a rich personal life with our families. I’ve never felt like I had to choose; I’ve been challenged with high expectations and empowered to make it all work.     

How has your job complemented your role as a parent? 

Working in a challenging professional environment has taught me to be efficient, prioritize critical issues and use my energy to tackle opportunities that yield the greatest outputs. This philosophy is key to parenting, too. I don’t go for perfection on everything; I seek to outperform in the areas that matter most to my children and me. Then, I learned to relax and enjoy the journey. I appreciate differences and let people be themselves, a value that is important to PNC and my family.    

What kinds of boundaries do you follow to separate work and family time? 

I would say that having fewer boundaries has allowed me to juggle both. The key is loving the job and viewing both work and parenting as an extension of who you are. My children know that work is part of who I am. My colleagues appreciate that being a good parent is critical to my engagement. Sacrifices are occasionally made with both family and work, but both appreciate that I can successfully maintain balance over the long term.  

What are you especially good at as a mom?

Solving acute problems, staying calm through drama and keeping the kiddos focused on the big picture. I always have practical solutions for logistical dilemmas, missing homework, sibling arguments and complaints of boredom. I’m great for Emergency Room situations, and I frequently assure my children that we have a beautiful life, they are loved and everything is going to be just fine.  

What’s your No. 1 tip for new moms navigating the balance of working and mothering?  

You can do this. It seems chaotic and impossible to sustain the juggle over an extended period of time. I promise it works out. Just keep doing it, and you’ll build the confidence to appreciate that it will all work out, even when you can’t resolve every detail and contingency.  

Find colleagues you admire and solicit encouragement from them. Join employee business resource groups (EBRGs) and develop relationships with others who are experiencing a similar parenting stage. Share ideas. and appreciate the possibilities. To build confidence, say “yes” to things that seem beyond your reach, remembering that it can be a fulfilling experience even when you’re not an expert.

How have you used your role to help bring up other women? 

The opportunity to encourage and inspire other women is one of the best parts of my role at PNC. I’ve met so many wonderful women through leadership roles with Women Connect in Pittsburgh throughout the years. I enjoy contributing to junior talent development through the Corporate & Institutional Banking ForWARD initiative. Formal mentorship of other women through EBRG matching programs has been mutually beneficial.

I always make time for practical discussions with individual women. Planting small seeds of insight and encouragement goes a long way to ensure that we keep showing up engaged and ready to take on new challenges.   

What do you love most about PNC? 

I’m equally challenged to perform well at work and life. I’ve been given opportunities that come with high expectations to achieve results and demonstrate solid performance. These expectations include acting with integrity and living PNC’s other values, which clearly challenge me to be a good human and mother. At PNC, I love that my desire to do good work and live life well are complementary and equally important.

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