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March 8, 2011

Returning to work?

New initiative for mothers returning after maternity leave launched for International Women’s Day

According to Niamh O’Keeffe, MD of First100, successful women in business should not feel any guilt returning to work after having children.

Niamh O’Keeffe said: “Once a woman has made the decision to return to work, they need to let go of their role as full-time mother and carry no guilt. Guilt is something brought on by the individual and no one else. The woman will have made this decision in the best interests of her and her family and they need to be pragmatic in making it work.”
O’Keeffe made her comments to coincide with International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8th. Her leadership performance acceleration company First100, which has offices in London, New York and Dublin, works with senior executives to put in place plans for their first 100 days in either a new role or the same role after returning from having a child.

First100 has issued a series of tips for maternity returners, including:

• Let go of the previous role as full-time mother
• Return to the work environment as a confident woman and leader
• Find the right balance between the roles of mother and senior business executive
• Everything will have changed so prepare well in advance

“Living in the moment is critical. When the woman is at home, they need to be fully at home and not juggling their laptop and BlackBerry while making the tea or reading a bedtime story. Equally, when they are at work, it is vital they are not constantly calling home to make sure everything is okay,” adds O’Keeffe. “The working mum needs to take time out regularly to check they have the balance right. Sometimes one area of your life can get very busy which makes it easy to lose focus in another part of your life. Taking time out to refuel and refocus is very important.”

The majority of First100’s clients are male, but the company is finding an increasing number of senior women executives asking it to help them navigate their vital first 100 days in a role or when returning from maternity leave.

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