As workplaces continue to evolve and adapt to new demands, we caught up with Shirleen Lai, consultant at Amaris Consulting, to chat about her professional journey and being a new mother.
How have things been lately for you as a new mother?
Life has been busy ever since I became a mother, juggling between work, taking care of the baby and self-care. As a “newbie” in this “mother profession”, I didn’t know what to expect when having a child, making it especially challenging for the first 2 months.
Thanks to the support of my spouse, family, as well as Amaris Consulting, it got easier over time.
Currently, I truly embrace my new journey as a working mother since a smile on your baby’s face will make everything worth it at the end of the day.
What has your journey been like with Amaris Consulting?
It has been an eventful year with Amaris Consulting! I have already supported two projects since then in biopharmaceuticals as part of our life science expertise.
Now that I have just come back from maternity leave, I am focusing on some internal projects, attending trainings to further improve my skillset as well as participating in client meetings to understand the support that they need.
Could you tell us about a “WOW” moment that you had during your recruitment process with Amaris Consulting?
When I received Amaris Consulting’s offer, I was in a very early stage of my pregnancy, and I was concerned that it might be a determining factor during the recruitment process. Exceeding my expectations, Kelly Tan, my manager, was very open-minded and she reassured me this would not be a blocking point.
Advising me to take care of myself, Kelly, made me feel supported at all times, offering her help if any discomfort would arise during my project.
To this day I am still thankful to Kelly & Amaris Consulting for being truly people-focused.
How do you feel about Amaris Consulting’s support during your recent maternity?
Amaris Consulting has been supporting my new journey by allowing flexible working arrangements such as a hybrid working model and giving me the opportunity to explore and work on projects that motivate me.
Moreover, my manager has been very understanding with my current situation – a working mother who needs to pump at work, to provide for her baby. She supports me and believes this is not affecting my work performance. Aside from that, we also work closely together to achieve the goals that I have set for myself.
What are your expectations since your return from maternity leave?
I am looking forward to exploring new areas of my work and expanding my knowledge, not only on the life science sector, but also in other fields. I believe that achieving my goals is possible at Amaris Consulting since every element of our career is specifically tailored to us and we are able to find the perfect fit!
Do you feel like your career needs have changed since you became a mother?
There have not been any changes in my career needs since becoming a mother. Knowing that my baby is being taken good care of at a day-care centre allows me to continue to focus on my work. Currently, keeping a good balance between work and motherhood is my priority. Thankfully, Amaris Consulting gives me the flexibility to work on projects that suit my current lifestyle.
What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by mothers in the workplace?
I think the biggest challenge mothers face in the workplace is managing work, meetings and pumping schedules. Many mothers give up breastfeeding once they return to work due to stress or the high commitment pumping schedules require to maintain supply and prevent mastitis. It is unfortunate that some employers discourage pumping at work or that there are co-workers who consider pumping as a way of skipping work.
Any tips for future mothers?
Firstly, I would say to enjoy as much as you can before the arrival of the baby as there is going to be a drastic change in your lifestyle soon.
Secondly, having a well-planned breastfeeding journey is important. Reaching out to a lactation consultant could help you prepare accordingly.
Finally, stick to your heart’s desire in your career and ask for support whenever you need it!