Who She Is: Julie Casson, Global Director of Marketing, Inbenta
Location: Pacifica, Calif.
Work Schedule: M – Th in office. Fridays are work from home. Occasional travel every every month.
Kids: Luke (almost 3 years)
Best time management tip: Be flexible and be comfortable with changes. Working in a start-up environment means there are many pivots everyday. I feel that being flexible and not letting changes affect the rest of my schedule has greatly reduced my stress factor.
Go-To Tech: My favorites are my Macbook Pro, iPhone 6 and most things Google in the cloud (Drive, Gmail, Hangouts).
Better way to say “work-life balance”: Work-life rhythm. It’s trying to keep the beat of a happy life, whatever that means to you, that is important.
Q&A with Julie on pitching flexibility
1. You recently joined Inbenta and had prioritized flexibility in your job search. How did you approach the issue during your interview?
When I interviewed at Inbenta, I was coming from a team that was very flexible and understanding of family balance and the trust involved in allowing people to work-from-home. I discussed this with the CEO during the interview that the commute was very long for me (over an hour each way) and that if I worked from home on Fridays, as I did at my previous company, then I could use those extra two hours for special projects. Those two hours a week added up to 96 hours in a year. It’s the equivalent of getting two more weeks a year of marketing power.
2. Did you bring this up immediately or after a few meetings?
The discussion about schedule came up after several meetings when we started to discuss terms. To me, this was as important as benefits during the negotiations stage. I was a bit nervous bringing it up as a bottom-line factor, but I am so glad that I spoke up about my needs. And I was rewarded by having it granted!
3. Do other people on your team work flexibly and what structures have you put in place to manage communications with each other?
Yep! The marketing department works from home on Fridays. We keep in touch by being available through Google Chats, Gmail and gotomeeting, so if there are any questions or need to connect, we can all do it simply and quickly.
4. When you work from home, do you have a certain strategy?
I create a work sanctuary for myself. I still get up at my normal hours, but I start about an hour later than usual to spend some morning time with family. I then have one cafe that I like to work from that faces the ocean. Talk about a view! Project-wise, I focus on larger items that would suffer from interruptions if I were working in the office.
5. What advice do you live by as a working mom?
Trust in yourself and be comfortable with your decisions. We won’t always make the right ones, but nobody is perfect! Trying to be perfect will drive you crazy. It’s okay if the house is a bit messy, or you need to make sandwiches for dinner. Your family only wants your love and your time. Be there for your kids and family, but also be there for yourself. Even if it is only for five minutes, be sure to take some time for you. Meditate, take a walk, read, whatever it is that gives you peace and is about you. This is so easy to forget when you are working and raising a family… but YOU are a part of the family too, so take care of yourself like you would a family member.
6. What is the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?
How awesome they are! Many media stories are covering how hard it is, how sad women are, all of this negativity, but really, working moms are superheroes. They excel in their careers and are fostering the next generation. A working mom is one of the most impactful groups of people out there.
7. Inbenta is in the artificial intelligence space. Anything on the horizon that could help working moms?!
Absolutely! Inbenta is an intelligent search for business’ customer support websites. Our AI understands the meaning of a search query and provides relevant answers even if there are not any keyword matches. This means that people can find the answers to their searches or customer support questions without having to send an email and wait for a reply or call a call center to sit on hold. Time for a working mom is precious and artificial intelligence saves us all time by providing self-service support!