From Chicken Soup for the Working Mom's Soul

Mommy of the Board

The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although I loved my job at a top Wall Street bank, I jumped at the chance to work for a financial services company located much closer to my home. With a young son just starting kindergarten, a chance to reduce my two and one-half hour daily commute and have more time with my family was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

My new employer was embarking on a period of tremendous growth and expansion. The employees, the chairman of the bank, and the newly elected board members were energized by the possibilities. I was pleased to learn that one of the founding members of Ms. Magazine had recently joined the executive board to help steer the organization in the right direction. Senior management was anxious to demonstrate to their newest board member that their commitment to hire and promote qualified women was more than just words. Although only a junior officer, I was asked to be the first woman to make a presentation to the board to explain many of the new programs and policies we had recently introduced. Suppressing a gulp, I accepted the challenge.

The morning of the presentation was a typical day in my incredibly busy household. I woke early to shower and dress, put on makeup, throw in a load of laundry, take the meat out to defrost for dinner, study my note cards, wake my son, get him dressed and fed, check his backpack, remember to sign yet another permission slip, check the family calendar to see what the after-school activity or playdate arrangement was for the day, drop my son off at school, rush to the train and spend a few quality minutes alone with my husband (read: remind each other about the need to schedule doctor/dentist/school appointments), and speed walk from Grand Central Station to the executive offices just off Park Avenue.

Entering the executive suite, the president of the bank greeted me and asked if I was ready to meet with the board. I assured him that I was definitely all set and followed his instructions to wait outside the boardroom until called. Senior management was almost as nervous as I because no one at my level had ever made a presentation to the board before. A lot was riding on this meeting, and we all wanted it to come off without a hitch.

Just minutes before I entered the room, I performed a last minute check to be sure my corporate gray suit was presentable. Smoothing my jacket pocket, I found what was disrupting the clean line of my designer suit. Reaching inside the pocket, I found the culprit and smiled. My son’s favorite miniature car was idling in my pocket, just waiting for the moment when I would pick him up later that day. I carefully placed the car back inside my suit pocket, opened the door to the boardroom, and with my son’s presence firmly by my side, drove his car full speed ahead.

Pamela Hackett Hobson

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