Don't miss Megan Schneider Gift at the 2017 Simmons Leadership Conference!
Megan Schneider Gift is VP, Corporate Communications at 2U, an educational technology company that partners with nonprofit colleges and universities to offer online degree programs.
How does a sense of purpose inform and influence your work?
I am one of those people, for better or for worse, who has to believe in what I do to do it exceptionally well. Without a sense of purpose, and connection to the overall mission of the work I am doing, I find it exceptionally hard to see the ROI in the tradeoffs any woman has to make, big or small, while navigating a career, personal commitments, and a family.
If you could change one way women support other women on their path to success, what would it be?
I would encourage women to be more honest and vulnerable with each other. I think too often women feel they need to have it all figured out and project an image of strength and ‘round-the-clock confidence, even with each other. It isn’t until we are candid, honest, and open with each other (which luckily is one of my company’s guiding principles) that we will be able to help one another navigate our unique paths to success and overcome challenges both in the work place and in our personal lives.
Any tips for work/life integration?
Short answer: Cut yourself some slack, lean on people around you, and be patient and open to new ideas and solutions.
Long answer: My husband and I had our first baby less than four months ago. My company has an incredible parental leave policy so I was able to stay home with my daughter, Quinn, for 12 weeks. I am less than a month into reentry to the workplace and a career that I love. It isn’t easy, but one of the things that is keeping me centered and giving me peace at the end of each hectic day is the acknowledgement that this is all a learning experience and the solutions we have in place at the moment don’t have to be the solutions long-term if they aren’t working or the situation evolves.
I am also really trying to cut myself some slack and lean on people around me because sometimes it just can’t all get done. Whether you have a new baby or not, I would argue it’s OK if the laundry isn’t folded or the dishes occasionally pile up, or you gave in and ordered takeout for the fourth night in a row. While stressful in the moment, spending the last ounces of your energy on cooking and cleaning (unless those things bring you joy!) often isn’t worth the trade-off of an extra 30 minutes of sleep, completing that thing at the very bottom of your work to-do list, or spending time with someone you care about.
I also think we need to afford the same awareness and flexibility to women without children as we do to women with children. I now have a child and I am so fortunate to work for a company that works with me to figure out that new dynamic, but often that same flexibility isn't thought of or offered to women without families. This can be accomplished at the policy level (i.e., our company rolled out a lending hands policy in partnership with our parental leave policy that takes care of the people who cover for individuals on parental leave) and by more open dialogue and a general conscientiousness to everything someone has to juggle outside of work, regardless of whether they have a child.
Fill in the blank. People would be surprised to know that I ______
fight a daily battle with impostor syndrome.