Leadership Ambition and Motherhood
Facilities Coordinator, Hailey, shares her triumphs and challenges as she navigates first-time motherhood and career ambition.
Tell us how your journey led you to CBRETo be frank, what led me here were past experiences. I found what I did not like through my previous roles. My second role out of college was in a very, very, very male-dominated department at a construction company here in Atlanta. That role was very eye-opening. After that stint, I was an account manager at a client-facing role and that’s how I found out that I liked being on the customer facing side of things. I knew I wanted to work at a big Fortune 500 company in a client-facing role, so that's what led me to CBRE—I wanted to be with a global company.
Well, you’re in the facilities maintenance side of the business. It seems you’re, once again, in a historically male-dominated environment. What makes you stay?It’s very different. Honestly, what has kept me here have been my team members. I am one of three women on the engineering team and my male colleagues are very supportive. The culture is very supportive. Our Managing Director is a woman, so that's very inspiring to see...a woman leading a large group is awesome!
Is she someone you look to as an example as to where you can take your career here?Absolutely she is. She has been a wonderful inspiration through and through. Definitely a go-getter, very humble. But also, just from interacting with her, I've seen how she has to play hardball and that's something that I really, really look up to.
Facilities isn't exactly something that you think about often, or it's not something for me at least. I didn't graduate college and say “let me go into a facilities role.” But I know I want to stay on the operations side of things. Personally, it's kind of this challenge...it's rewarding being one of the only females in this role.
That's surprising to hear, especially since you’ve lived two different experiences in similar environments. What makes you feel that way in your current role?I have so many different thoughts. I think at the end of the day, just saying I did it. I can do it. I can continue to do it. It's a personal battle, more than anything, to be honest. It’s a personal goal to say, “I played with the guys and I beat ‘em,” or “I won.”
It sounds like a headstrong spirit steeped in the adage “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Where does that spirit come from?Honestly, it's my mother. Very, very much so. She passed away from cancer when I was 19. I've been very meek, and I've been the person that wanted to be liked by everyone, especially out of college. I had to learn over time that not everyone is going to like you. That experience has also made me who I am as well—very headstrong, like her. That's how she was and that's how she taught me to be. I'm sure I would still have the same outlook if she had been alive, but there's just something about making her proud.
And now, for the first time, you’re going to be a mother. Congratulations! What are some of the challenges you’ve been facing?Thank you! The balancing act has been a learning process...finding when I need to say no. I've struggled with that, when I just need to say “no, I need a break.” Some days, I just need to shut down my laptop; things can wait until the next day. Non-pregnant me would have just cleared out my inbox and checked off my to-do list. It's been hard for me to let things kind of sit.
I'm very much a person that wants to do it all. I have a hard time asking for help or saying no. Just those two aspects, in general, have been kind of a challenge. It's been me. It's definitely not my team. They've been wonderful. My husband is very supportive and he's awesome, so that's been wonderful.
Does that go back to a bit of your mother’s trait in you? Being raised headstrong?It's how I was brought up. I have a younger brother and it's always been he and I. My parents were also very big into sticking with something, never giving up on something up. I think that also equates for it too. But yes, back to my mother; my mother was my biggest cheerleader throughout my entire life. I guess it's just something in me. It's that little part of her in me.
What has the interaction with your colleagues been like?Well, it's been interesting, and it's been a learning experience. But again, it kind of all goes back to my colleagues. When I told everyone that I was expecting, I will admit I was a little hesitant being a female in such a historically male-dominant world. I had the questions like “are they going to understand what kind of hurdles I am going to have to face?” But to be frank, it was just like I was telling them that I was going on vacation in a week. It was awesome.
It's just the culture here. It's a very modern, approachable culture that CBRE, and my account, has adapted to. I think sometimes facilities gets a bad rap as being a very old-school boys club. That's not the case here.
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