Connecting with Working Moms of North Highland: Q+A with Jennifer Mancuso

Jennifer Mancuso

In celebration of National Women’s Equality Day this month, we are connecting with North Highlanders who are superstars navigating the demands of life as working mothers. Today, we sat down with Jennifer Mancuso, Vice President, Human Resources, to discuss her tips and tricks to succeeding at work while balancing her home life.  

As we continue to work remotely and remain socially distant, how do you balance work and home demands? 

My balance comes in two ways: asking for help and prioritizing daily. In terms of help, I had to hire a teacher/nanny to be with my children during the day so that they get the most support for their education and allows me to keep up with my workload  I’m not a person who asks for help easily because I want to “do it all”, but COVID-19 has taught me that no matter how far I “lean in”, I need help as a working, single mother. In terms of prioritizing, I spend the first 15-20 minutes of my day setting my priorities – personally and professionally – so I know what “success” looks like each day. I make sure I have a manageable day and can reasonably achieve what needs to get done. I dedicate timeslots for my kids and my work, so I feel like I’m able to do both in some ways each day.   

What is your best piece of advice for working moms?  

My best advice is to realize there is no perfection. You are going to have days where you sacrifice in one arena or the other, or both, and that is life. Set your priorities and what will make you feel successful and set out to achieve those things. Know that you are going to make mistakes, but life is all about progress, not perfection. You have to constantly define what “doing it all” means to you and make sure that you’re happy with the choices you’ve made.  If not, make new choices – and constantly calibrate what’s important to you and your family.  

What do you find to be the most rewarding part about your job? Most challenging? 

The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that if I do my job well, each day, I go home knowing I have done something to help at least one person. My career choices have been to focus on improving business performance through people, and my actions and achievements are meant to enable people to do their jobs better, which enhances their lives. How could I not love that part of my job?  

The most challenging part of my job is knowing that my job directly relates to people and I have to deliver hard news and make decisions that can adversely impact people’s lives at times. The best business decisions are not always the easiest people decisions, and when challenging business times arise and I’m called upon to make some hard choices, it’s challenging to balance the impact on our employees and the business needs - it’s a constant calibration. I’m fortunate to work with amazing leaders who value our culture and our people equally as much as I do and put our people at the heart of our decision-making. 

What has been the biggest factor in your success? 

The biggest factor in my success has been hard work and persistence. I grew up as a ballerina, which taught me the direct correlation between effort, practice, and performance. That discipline has carried throughout my life – schooling, work, parenting, running marathons, etc. I’m always working hard to better myself and my performance and I’m persistent in the face of obstacles.   

What do you wish others knew about being a working mom? 

I wish everyone knew the level of fulfillment I feel by being a working mom. Being a working mom enables me to be the best mother I can be and the best employee I can be. I love both of my jobs, and because each day I find fulfillment and joy in both areas of my life, I’m able to bring my best self forward in both areas. If I didn’t work, I’m not sure I would be the mom I am, and when I became a mom, I found even greater joy and excitement in my work. I’m happy doing both and I’m my best self because I do both.