My Life Beyond Numbers – Flexibility and Mentorship
When I was first asked to contribute to the Life at DHG blog, I felt nervous. What did I want to contribute? In a month celebrating women’s history, I felt it was important in my role as the Metro DC Women Forward champion to convey my thoughts on DHG and how, even before the official launch of Women Forward two years ago, I felt the firm and its people had helped me achieve goals I knew I was capable of achieving (but had yet to reach on my own) while maintaining life/work flexibility.
A normal day for me – well, there is no consistency. My husband is a national security attorney at the DOJ, so between his very unpredictable and highly demanding schedule and my own as a Senior Manager in the Government Contracting Assurance group, some days are literally rock, paper and scissors when it comes to daily responsibilities. Our kids almost always go to school with their clothes on in the right direction and everyone eats SOMETHING for dinner every night! I consider those wins in my book.
All kidding aside, being in a demanding profession doesn’t always mean work wins. The smartest thing anyone ever told me when I was making the leap from being a full-time to part-time DHG’er was that you can have it all – just not always at the same time. Sometimes work has to win – cue accounting busy season. Sometimes home wins. And most days it’s a give and a take for everyone.
I was the first person in my assurance group to go part-time when I became a mom. DHG and I learned together how to find the right balance. When I first returned I was in the office two days a week and I was remote one day a week. The flexibility of working remotely allowed me to be home with my children at a time in their lives when I wanted and needed to be there. However, I knew that if the firm was going to commit that flexibility to me, I had to do the same in return. I had to be understanding when a 6pm conference call came up, I checked my email/voicemail regularly and I made sure to be responsive to my clients. As my children got older, my flexible arrangement with the firm evolved; still flexible, but adapting to the new needs of my family life.
What I found to be most important through it all was that I found a sponsor along the way who was sympathetic to the various challenges I encountered. Many of these challenges were no different from what every employee in the profession must confront, but some of which are unique to women in the workplace, as we continuously work to balance our professional goals with our desire to be present for our families.
It is critical that we remember we need not resolve these challenges alone. We can and should rely on others who have been there before us, and aspire to be that person for others.
My Life Beyond Numbers at DHG thrives because of mutual commitment by myself and the firm and the mentorship that I have found along the way, for which I am deeply grateful.
Allison Cohen is a Senior Manager in the Government Contracting Assurance group based in DHG’s Tysons Corner office. Allison loves everything Virginia Tech, home decorating and any opportunity to spend time with her family (husband Adam and their children Jackson (4), Madeline (2) and first child – a cocker spaniel named Tenley), whether it be summer concerts, long days at the pool, traveling or light saber fights and princess tea parties on a rainy day!