Vicky is a integrated Marketing Strategist for the past 20 odd years. A mum of a sweet 12-year-old daughter, and one heck of a determined woman. She has always dreamed to be doing ‘’her own thing’’ one day, and if that took going back to studying in her adult life, then that is what she did.
Read along and find out how this working mum has finally managed to make her dreams come true.
Name and Surname: Vicky Zammit
Relationship Status: married
Children: Amy – Aged 12
Work Status: Freelance/Self Employed
Company name: Vicky Zammit (No company name yet.. desperately seeking a good one )
Tell us something about yourself. Career background. Hobbies. Anything.
I am an Integrated Marketing Strategist with over 20 years' experience handling some well known consumer brands, both international and local. After a very long time, I went back to University and read a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. That then gave me the courage to make the leap, and start freelancing. I enjoy reading, most of all about personal development, digital marketing and family matters. I also have a deep interest in psychology especially in knowing exactly what makes people tick, and the way they behave.
Tell us about your Company/ Business?
After many years of being employed and dreaming to build something worthwhile for myself, I finally took the plunge. In May this year I went solo and am now slowly building a boutique marketing service outfit, which focuses on small and medium-sized organisations. Ideal for businesses which might not need or want to employ a full time experienced marketing department, though still feel the need to be strategically guided on the right path. The service I offer includes strategic consultancy, product launches and event management, campaign management, media and PR relations, research with a specific focus on customer service and blended advertising/communication strategies – merging the online and offline platforms within an integrated framework.
How did your career change when you became a Mum?
I always fought the system and moved on when my employer did not appreciate that I was a Mum as well as an employee. Moreover, from a very young age, my daughter was often hospitalised for a medical condition, so that did not help even more. I never had any qualms moving on to another company when my boss didn’t support me. I think that by time, my reputation of being rather good at my work started growing, so employers understood and accepted that I was a career mum, and that my daughter was part of the package. I was lucky that my support system was dependable. My husband also worked in a company which permitted some level of flexibility which allowed him to go pick up Amy from school and look after her until I got home.
How do you and your daughter spend time together?
I work very hard, but I still try to dedicate as much time as I can to my child and husband. The best time for us is usually weekends and evenings. As a couple, our holidays revolve around our daughter. Our vacations are precious time spent together.
You seem busy! How do you manage work and family?
To be honest? I don’t always manage. Sometimes I find it tough to strike a balance. Notwithstanding, I try to integrate my career and family life in such a way that both can become part of each other. One of the main reasons why I always wished to be self-employed, and work freelance, is to be able to be more flexible and to free up some more time for my family and my personal interests.
Vicky explains that whilst it has not been easy to get to the point of self employment she confesses that it was worth the journey, as working as a freelance has definitely made her work and life balance more manageable. She admits that it is easier to be a working Mum today, than 12 years ago when she had her daughter. ''There is a better awareness of the need for flexible working, and more women are requesting such working conditions.'' Vicky continues ''I think that employers today understand that women who have had children and sincerely want to work, are reliable, multi-tasking, more mature and have a positive can-do attitude''
What flexible options in your opinion should be introduced to help today's’ parents achieve a better balance between work and life?
A change in the school system is one to be seriously considered. Many schools finish at 1:30 pm, then parents are taxing their kids from one place to another for after school activities? It would be ideal that extracurricular activities as well after school hours would be made available in all schools. The education system ( well done so ) enforces today that all children have to participate in some type of extracurricular activities, but isn’t this extra pressure on working parents if the same are not available afterschool hours at the the children's schools? Esepcially difficult to manage for aspiring working mums.
From the employer’s side, I believe they need to allow more work to be done from home. Once trust between employer and employee has been established, I think that business leaders should allow their employees the opportunity to work from home, and offer other flexible solutions. From the employer’s point of view, the company only stands to gain.
We hear about employers’ concern and their doubts towards the commitment of a working Mum. What would you tell them?
To answer this question as objectively as possible, one has to take into consideration the point of view of both the employer and working mum. First of all, I think that you can have good employees or lousy employees, being both male or female, father or mother.
Imagine a scenario where you an employee who is single, male, relatively young and predictably takes sick leave on Mondays. This, and similar is a very realistic situation which happens in many work environments. Many a time, this causes disruption and frustration in any office circumstance.
I believe it's all about trust. I urge working mothers to make that as their number one priority… work hard. Prove yourself, earn your employer’s trust, and persevere to make yourself as difficult to replace as possible.
What is the best parenting advice to give to working Mums or those looking to return to the workforce?
Seek and build a sound support system around you, and above all, you do not need to feel guilty for leaving your child with trusted carers. Try to spend more quality time with your child.. its quality over quantity.
My advice, and final thoughts for all mummies out there, who wish to go back to work. Don’t give up. Dream, and dream big. Work towards your goal, take baby steps one step at a time, remain focused, perfect your time management skills, surround yourself with a sound support system. Above all, ignore any negativity that is thrown in your direction by family members or friends.
I would also like to finish off by giving some advice to employers and business owners. If you are experiencing difficulty in finding the right type of employee, one who is willing to work, be flexible, is humble, loyal and is willing to learn, you need to seriously consider looking at the segment of mums who wish to return to work. There is a big pool of valuable resources out there, waiting for you just to reach out. All you might need to do is trust a little bit more, and adjust your attitude towards flexibility.