Mama Mentors is powered by Lincoln. Learn more about our partnership here. To us, our partnerships with brands are about so much more than business. We carve out relationships with brands whose values reflect our own and those of our members, and work together to thoughtfully tell stories and create experiences that speak to moms’ real lives and real interests.
Through projects like this one, HeyMama endeavors to enhance the professional success of our members by bridging the gap between those who have already arrived and the ones who are still on their way. We hope this journey will keep us all moving forward, just like Lincoln.
Sally Brown, the Brand Director of Baby, Kids, and Future Hygiene at Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, knows the importance and power of mentorship. The mom to two kids, ages 7 and 3, has directly benefited from the mentorship of other women, including one individual whom she credits for playing a pivotal role in her “career progression and personal development as a leader.”
“She was the first person that I saw and said, ‘Hey, I can do that and want to do what she is doing,’” Brown told HeyMama. “She also took a chance on me and put me in a leadership position before I knew I needed it or was ready to do it. It is because of her that I’ve become a much stronger talent catalyst as well, seeking to do for others what she did for me.”
But in the era of COVID-19, when people are working from home and communicating via Zoom and Slack (or some other version thereof), it’s arguably harder than ever before to network, create meaningful relationships with coworkers, and connect with mentors who can help you advance your career. This reality is not lost on Brown, who — like so many of us — misses that one-on-one, in-person connection with her coworkers, employees, and team members.
“I miss seeing the people that I’ve worked with for the last 10+ years just walk by and be able to smile and wave to them or have a quick catch-up in the building,” she explained. For this, and many other reasons, Brown has put a large focus on finding unique and creative ways to foster team building and community within her now-virtual workspace during the ongoing public health crisis.
“I work entirely from home and do not anticipate returning to the office until late 2021,” she said. “My team is now scattered across the US but also Europe and Africa. I’ve placed a much greater emphasis on team building and morale throughout the pandemic and as a result our team is now closer than ever before. We each still have our difficult times and moments, but now there is a greater understanding of what we are each going through and willingness to share.”
The loss of in-person connection is also why Brown decided to become a Mama Mentor this year. HeyMama’s mentor programming, powered by Lincoln, strategically pairs up-and-coming entrepreneurial and corporate moms with seasoned entrepreneurs and career women who can help them grow their businesses or climb the corporate ladder during this difficult, financially uncertain time. As someone who directly benefited from the mentorship of another, Brown knows that reaching out for support, guidance, and solidarity can be a crucial component to achieving one’s career goals.
“Find mentors that you admire,” Brown advised. “They might not have the exact role you want or career progression you expect but it is essential that you form these relationships and learn from different leaders within your company.”
But it’s not just up-and-coming corporate moms and fellow team members Brown is mentoring — she knows that as a mom of two children, she is constantly setting an example and providing them with a real-life representation of working motherhood.
“I’m most proud of having my children see their mom work hard on something that she loves and that helps people,” Brown said. “They love trying out the new baby and kids products that I bring home and hearing about what I’m working on. I am working on a new line of Dove Kids products that they are especially excited about! Each product not only provides superior care for their hair and skin but the packaging has been designed to boost kids’ self-esteem.”
At a time when moms are doing arguably more than ever before, especially moms who are working, parenting, and facilitating at-home e-learning simultaneously, it’s easy to feel as if none of us have anything else we could possibly give. But Brown is a reminder that there’s always more you can do for those around you, be it your team members, your children, or someone on the outside looking in, seeing themselves in the work you do and the accomplishments you’ve achieved.
“There are so many ways to add value to the world,” Brown said. “[My kids] can do that in whatever way best fits their passions in life.”