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Motherly Advice for Finding Your Work-Life Balance

Advice from FCA US LLC Working Mothers

March 19, 2014

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Mary Ann Kirsch, FCA US Senior Manager—Indirect Purchasing, received Working Mother magazine’s ‘Changemaker’ Award.

The day that Mary Ann Kirsch, Senior Manager – Indirect Purchasing – FCA US LLC, learned that she had been has been selected by Working Mother magazine as a recipient of the prestigious 2013 Working Mother of the Year Changemaker Award,  she did something that almost everyone does after achieving a milestone – she called her mom to share the news.

“I’m telling her all about it and my mom gets all excited and she says, ‘Wow, it’s so wonderful that you’re helping your kids to achieve, but you’re still achieving.’

“It just was validation that I really had done some things right,” Kirsch said.

Kirsch, the mother of three children, is an ardent advocate of programs that support flexibility and work-life balance at FCA US LLC. She co-led a work-life optimization team that triggered enhancements in company’s purchasing & supplier quality organization, which consists of about 600 employees.

“It is a great honor to be included among so many accomplished women business leaders, who achieve so much each day by meeting the challenges of balancing family needs and career aspirations,” Kirsch recalled.

Throughout her career, Kirsch has led by example; using several flexible work programs that FCA US offers its employees, including job-sharing, telecommuting and an array of resources that support working parents. She’s also in very good company.

Kirsch’s colleague Lynda T. Hamway, was a 2012 Working Mother of the Year Changemaker Award winner.

Lynda T. Hamway with her twin 8-year-old boys, Andrew (left) and Brett (right).

2012 Working Mother of the Year Changmaker  Award winner Lynda T. Hamway with her twin 8-year-old boys, Andrew (left) and Brett (right).

Hamway, a single mother of 8-year-old twin boys and Manager – Head of Body-in-White & General Assembly Purchasing – FCA US LLC, also used an array of work-life programs, including extended maternity leave, job-sharing and telecommuting from two to four days per month to help her keep up with her challenging work and family commitments.

“I was honored to represent FCA US at such a prestigious event,” Hamway said when asked to explain what the honor meant to her.

“To me, it was an ultimate award, because I think being a mom is the most important job that you have on this Earth. Then, also growing your career is also very important to me, and so to be honored in that way was amazing.”

Hamway also believes that FCA US work-life programs are “key” to both attracting and retaining talent.

“With the upcoming generation of people entering the work force, they’re looking for flexibility,” said Hamway. “It’s high on their priority list.”

Mary Ann Kirsch and Family

Kirsch, the mother of three children, is an ardent advocate of programs that support flexibility and work-life balance at the company.

Technology also helps.

“The fact that we have as many tools as we do, whether it’s BlackBerry smartphones, iPhones, or being able to connect to our network … those things just make not needing to be here much easier,” added Kirsch.

Keys to Finding Your Work-Life Balance

  • Strive be your personal best, not perfection.
  • Leverage your job skills … building a strong network and being flexible … away from work.
  • There is no right answer … the answer may change depending upon your stage of life and where you are in your career.

In addition to recognizing Hamway and Kirsch, Working Mother  also recognized FCA US as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers – the 14th time that the company has been so honored since the inception of the award 28 years ago. In earning this recognition, FCA US outscored hundreds of applicants on support of women’s issues and advancement, flexible work arrangements, parental leave and overall culture.

“Now in its 28th year, the Working Mother 100 Best Companies are leaders in building initiatives that truly support all employees,” said Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. “They are the vanguard of successful companies, with modern policies for American families.”