Magazine article Working Mother

2012 Working Mothers of the Year

Magazine article Working Mother

2012 Working Mothers of the Year

Article excerpt

Corie Pauling

Charlotte, NC

Associate General Counsel, TIAA-CREF

Mother of Carson, 11, and Clarke, 7

Third-Generation Strength

Corie Pauling comes from a family of strong women. "my grandmother was my best friend," she says. "She taught me to love reading and puzzles. and she told me i was smart. She always believed in me, and that's so important for a young girl."

Corie, 41, the first in her blue-collar Detroit family to go to college, also got tremendous support from her mother: "She was supposed to go to college herself, in tennessee. She went down there with one semester of tuition money in an envelope and had it stolen the first week, so the school sent her home. She always told us kids, 'You are my success.' that's something i'm just coming to fully understand."

Corie honors her mother and grandmother by becoming a strong woman in her own right, and her own way. in addition to her position at tiaa-creF, she's a community leader. her work with homeless pregnant women, her coaching of low-income kids for a mock trial competition (they made the finals) and other civic and professional activities earned her the 2011 young civic Leader award from the thurgood marshall college Fund.

Corie is a triathlete and half-marathoner, something she couldn't have imagined a couple of years ago, when she could barely run two blocks. it's now a passion, a priority and a commitment.

(She even changed her 'do-from a chemically relaxed, straight style to a curly afro-to save time on post-workout grooming.) She's also the mom of two girls. "i want to inspire them. i want them to know they can succeed if they're honest, kind and compassionate and if they work hard. i hope i've earned their trust, love and respect-i know you have to earn that every single day."

Maria Lemanski

Longmeadow, MA

Human Resources Consultant, LEGO Systems

Mother of triplets Brooke, Taylor and Madison, 21 months

And Babies Make Five

When maria Lemanski found out she was pregnant, the first-time mom didn't picture herself pushing two babies in a double stroller with a third strapped to her chest in a baby bjorn. but eight weeks into her job at Lego, just as she was settling in, she found out she was having triplets.

When brooke, taylor and madison were born, "it was overwhelming-times three!" exclaims maria, 35. "Fortunately, i'd never been a mom before, so i didn't know it should be any different." also fortunate: Lego offered benefits that made juggling triplets and a career a little easier, including generous leave, flex scheduling that let maria ease back into work on a part-time schedule, and an on-site child care center.

This busy mom's supersupportive team-which includes several mothers- was equally important. "i've learned so much from them," says maria, who's now back to working full-time. "i was a perfectionist before the babies were born. i wanted to get everything done to the peak of my ability, to get it in before deadline and to take on more and more projects and extracurriculars. they taught me it's all right not to do everything perfectly and you can't be a perfect mom. my manager says sometimes it's okay to be okay-to get the work done."

Her manager should know: She has twins.

Cristina Santos

Fair Haven, NJ

Senior Area Business Leader, Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Mother of Antonio, 7, Victoria, 4, Cristian, 3, and Tea, 8 months

Celebrating a Life

When it comes to both work and family life, women don't always think beyond jamming the pedal to the metal and getting it all done.

A couple of years ago, after she'd worked at novartis about seven months, cristina Santos led a workshop for her co-workers called "convince me you're Special" to help them get offthe racetrack and take a hard look at the big picture. "the workshop encouraged us to step back and take time to think about how we wanted to be perceived and positioned," explains cristina, 36. …

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