Aiming Above and Beyond the Target
I’ll start from the end: I want to tell women who are just starting their professional career and new moms who are at a critical crossroad in their life – It’s possible! It is possible to develop a meaningful career while living a full life and raising children. This decision comes with a price, obviously, but this price is coupled with a reward which goes beyond the salary in your paycheck.
How does it connect to my personal story?
I went through my first pregnancy while working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York City. I kept working 100 hours a week just as I did before the pregnancy. This meant that I worked 14 hours a day on average, seven days a week. Yes, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. It meant coming home from work at 5am, taking a short nap for a few hours and heading back to the office.
During my pregnancy I didn’t yet internalize the change that was about to happen. I thought I would just go back to work after three months and continue with my hectic daily routine. However, after giving birth, I found myself changing diapers to a tiny baby and dealing with big questions.
White nights were not a strange phenomenon to me. Investment banking prepared me well for the job, but the desire to do my best not only at my work place but also for my child wouldn’t let me go. I considered many options, including the option of dedicating myself exclusively to motherhood.
Finally, my husband and I decided to return to Israel. But the need for personal achievements, for a career, took hold of me again, and upon our return to Israel I joined Apax Partners. This was a rather demanding work place, where I spent five more years and my second pregnancy.
These were complicated times. The first-shift nanny would come in the morning, and be replaced at 4PM by the second-shift nanny. My husband was constantly traveling abroad and I would not come home before at least 7PM… I wanted to spend more time with my children but didn’t know how to bridge both worlds.
I realized I wanted to find an interesting and challenging job, but also a slightly more balanced one. A job that would allow me to be the mother I want to be, but one that challenges and interests me. The field of investor relations seemed like the natural place for me, because it combined my financial background and my desire to engage in building ties and relationships with investors.
About a year ago I joined Strauss, and I sense that here, I finally resolved my conflict. While there are intensive days of hard work, there are also offsite days. And just as important – this job is interesting, allows professional learning and provides personal growth.
To reach the target you must aim above and beyond the target itself. So go ahead, aim high!