Sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad
Photo courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad
The need to recalibrate our routines after the emergence of COVID-19 sent us into our homes has, for many of us, led to some unprecedented learning opportunities. For Ashanti Mieres, a Manager of Marketing & Sales for Union Pacific Railroad who lives and works in Mexico City, those learnings have included some positives, as well.
“I wasn’t as disciplined with exercise before COVID-19 hit, so it’s been a nice surprise to feel more disciplined now,” Mieres said, adding that her days during this new normal have regularly featured online meditations or circuit-training classes. In the morning, too, she’s made a practice of taking her dog for a long walk or enjoying a homemade breakfast (bonus points for her boyfriend if he’s the one to cook!).
Times are, of course, difficult. But building these moments of wellness into her day helps Mieres feel grounded, and leaves her feeling more energized and prepared to take on the work she loves doing. Recently, she walked us through the shape that work has taken during COVID, how she’s keeping in close touch with colleagues even when they can’t see each other, and her end-of-day ritual.
Who: Ashanti Mieres
What: Manager I Marketing & Sales, Union Pacific Railroad / Corporate Secretary of Brownsville & Matamoros Bridge Company
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Wake up after hitting snooze (twice). I’m not much of a morning person, but walking my dog before anything else always gets me in the right mood. Quick shower to get the energy going and ideas flowing.
Pre-COVID, it was the time I had to leave my flat ready to go, as I’m a 10-15 minute ride to the office depending on traffic. However, the extra 15 minutes have given me time to enjoy homemade breakfast, which usually involves eggs with some kind of veggies, fruit and coffee. Sometimes my boyfriend cooks breakfast, which is even better!
I’m online and ready to start my day. I usually don’t have 8 a.m. conference calls (unless it’s Monday), so I take my time to go through my email first, to respond on anything pressing from a customer or my boss. Next, I go to Salesforce to check the latest stats on my opportunities and tasks for the day.
It’s time to surf the news for the markets we’re involved in. Part of my role is to analyze and conduct risk assessments of the political, regulatory, socio-economic and, most recently, health-related developments that could impact our Mexico business. Whenever I see something relevant, I prepare a short note to brief my boss and/or team and discuss next steps if applicable.
I call one of my customers to see if she has a response on a quote I provided her. She hits me with additional Origin-Destination pairs that she would like to get a rate from and she also asks me if I could help her set a call tomorrow with our International Customer Care and Support Center. I hang up, send the invite for the next day, and then start working on the additional rates.
I jump on a call for a cross-functional project I’ve been working on since March. I’m developing business intelligence involving Mexican market penetration, while also coordinating some of our deliverables.
I jump on our bi-weekly video conference call with our Mexico team to discuss updates and anything pressing that can benefit the broader group. Since COVID-19 started, we’ve been having these calls to stay in touch with everyone and make sure we stay connected and in constant communication. I love my team!
I call the Director of the Brownsville and Matamoros Bridge Company to ask for the latest update on an operating project we’re working on. We get into the weeds of the scope of work and I make a note to myself to reach out to a consultant to advance on one of the key items.
I have a quick call with my boss to keep him up to speed on the progress of our projects and how we’re doing to meet the deadlines. He asks me to help him with a translation of an article on the return-to-normal protocols from the Mexican Government. I hang up and get to it, as he needs them before COB today.
Lunch time! Since COVID started, we have been supporting our local “fonditas,” which are small restaurants that serve home cooked meals. It’s great — for only $6 USD you get soup or rice, an entrée and a small dessert. They deliver the food and we enjoy our meal on the patio.
I pour myself another cup of coffee and I’m ready for the second part of my day, which is usually when I’m most productive. I open the slide deck I need to update for the next bi-monthly call with the automotive industry. I make a note to myself to use some of the macroeconomic trends for another project. I’m usually involved in two or three strategic projects at the time, so I go back and forth between them during the afternoon. Time goes by very quickly when I’m immersed in doing what I love.
I log back on to Salesforce to monitor our team’s pipeline and I update my opportunities/activities based on customer’s feedback. I write a couple of my co-workers on Chatter and ask them about a few opportunities that caught my attention.
I review my email and follow-up on pending items. I send the team a reminder that I need their information back to me by tomorrow COB, for an upcoming interline meeting with an eastern railroad.
My work day is over. Depending on the day, I either have an online meditation class or I do a 28-minute circuit training to keep me fit and healthy. I wasn’t as disciplined with exercise before COVID-19 hit, so it’s been a nice surprise to feel more disciplined now. I also take my dog for another walk around the block.
Dinner, cleaning time and a movie have been a regular during this pandemic. We both enjoy cooking, so we take turns exploring new recipes. We’re currently watching “Snowpiercer,” a sci-fi series on Netflix about a train that rides endlessly through the end of the world (which has my inner railroader really excited!).
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