Lives Less Ordinary

Stories to Inspire You

CareerMum – Amanda Newman

In a span of six months, in between jobs, being mom to four children including twins just over a year old, Amanda established a brand, a blog and an ever-growing organic network of over 2700 people. She does this with passion, compassion, drive and smarts, seeking help where she can find it both at home and for her blog and lapping up every opportunity, viz., speaking and coaching on STEM for school children for instance, that came her way. All the while, her vision and purpose were well laid out, finding her inner motivation together with an ‘Executive Coach’, Amanda Davie, identifying that at the core she works well in a structured career-like environment with deadlines without which according to her, days tend to blend. At the same time, she has evidenced several times in her 20 years in Shell the ability to help younger, vulnerable women including the mentorship programme she was helming as she was exiting the company. This led to the launch of the ‘Careermum a blog where she churned out everything she’d learned over the course of her career.

 

Mums in Tech Event at the Ivy

 

As the blog started to become quickly popular, taking inspiration from another network she was part of called the ‘Mummies of multiples’, she set up a community on facebook, for her followers and the community to interact, to help women ‘be the best they can be’. And this she declared early on to be a philanthropic social enterprise, and not a business, taking on wings as we speak. And having successfully established The Career Mum, she is back to work, joining Microsoft, an organisation that is allowing her to operate virtually and continue to pursue this passion project of hers.

All of the above is already familiar to her community. Amanda has posted several blogs and vlogs during the time about her transition, her job hunting days, her stresses and opened up to the community for support and advice even when she put together weekly blogs called ‘P.O.Ws, short for ‘pearls of wisdom’ that were an aggregation of all the social outreach programmes the folks in her community were involved with.

 

Early on her facebook cover read, ‘underestimate me, that will be fun’.

 

Amazingly, she went on to prove her point, establishing a cohesive open and safe environment cautioning against it being yet another marketing platform. And she went on to bag this job she went after in Microsoft, an organisation she aspired to, in spite of being rejected the first time around, redoing her resume, establishing a network and writing about it in her ‘pearls of wisdom’ all the while managing her now two-year-old twins. She deals with her network, with humility and compassion. She admits to having gone through some emotionally draining time dealing with defensive, aggressive members in her community being non-confrontational herself. Which is when her team of administrators, being her friends, volunteered to step in for her. That might just be the magic she weaves, being open and vulnerable, and taking on all the help that is offered to her.

 

 

Her upbringing in countries as diverse as the Middle-East, and West-Africa and her industrious parents who have demonstrated the value of working hard seems to have been deeply instilled into her psyche. She fondly recollects having friends in Ghana who lived in mud huts when she was a child, going to the trouble of getting her coke when they invited her over and being warm and welcoming. At the same time, she constantly talks about being a hardworker hailing from a background of working class parents. Amanda’s instincts are to help people less fortunate than her every single time even when she herself has gone through traumatic times not complaining about her situation but fixing processes that failed her so others trodding her path don’t suffer. The very human values that she carries becomes all the more potent when she has a mind that is trained to think as a statistician.

Early examples where when she worked in a call center and was fascinated by queuing theories. When she joined Shell as contractor and made permanent within a year, she realised that Shell IT Helpdesk could be more efficient. This was her area of expertise and she decided to take her expertise and research to the leadership and told them that she knew all about queuing theories and assured them that she’d fix it for them and inadvertently gaining visibility. Later she landed her dream job managing the helpdesk where she managed and motivated her team so well, she was complemented about it for the ‘smell of the place’ being just right. She speaks of the time with nostalgia, fondly and when she said what she said, it felt like prose.

 

 

Life did throw its fair share of challenges to Amanda starting with the time managing her helpdesk. She’d been travelling only to come back and discover that her father was terminally ill and that the team she was managing was to be outsourced. With stoicism, she went about trying to help the team change over assuming all the while she’d be moving with them and speaks of the moral dilemma she faced when she was offered a role with Shell in Downstream IT and had to decide to stay back. She went on to have a successful career in Shell with many rewarding jobs. When Amanda and her spouse decided to have baby no. 3, they were rewarded with baby no. 3 and 4. While on maternity, as happenstance, catching up with her team mate, she discovered that her role together with other roles were restructured and was on ‘open resource’. She had to apply with only two days and had to go through a stressful time not being able to access the system not being on email for a time, sitting in a friends garage at night with an HR focal on the line and putting in her application moments away from the job closing.

 

Amanda Newman with her loving family

 

As luck would have it, she wasn’t offered the role because she wasn’t based in the office. And she goes on to talk about the system failing twice with maternity and gardening leave not kicking in, and having to take on another back office role. The way she responds to her predicament is to go help fix the processes that failed her and her reasoning to do so, as she puts it is to prevent other young mothers facing similar circumstances as also preventing lawsuits being filed against an Organisation she deeply respected and was loyal to. As she took the choice to not move cities and take redundancy, she also noticed that with a new hub being set up in India, young women would need a lot more support and worked towards establishing a mentoring circle.

 

 

 

Amanda tells her story in a matter of fact tone, emphasising every time, that she always felt blessed and felt the need to support others less fortunate as she is. Her spouse, with whom she has been from when she was all of eighteen, is hugely successful himself. Yet, Amanda states early on in her conversation that she feels the need to be financially independent. She speaks fondly of her 13 year old boy, 9 year old girl and her twins and clearly very proud of them. She is the active parent, doing the school runs, having to attend to all the emergencies and participating enthusiastically in all the mums communities. Amanda embodies and lives by Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘lean in’ philosophy.  If there was a woman, I’d put on the ‘Goodnight stories for rebel girls’ it would be Amanda. Turns out her daughter has done exactly that considering her mother to be her role model.

 

Website : https://www.thecareermum.co.uk/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thecareermum.co.uk

 

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