Claudia Amaro - Business Performance Manager, Amey

Returning to work after maternity or paternity leave can be a daunting time for any new parent. Claudia Amaro, business performance manager at Amey talks about her experience.

Returning to work

Tell us about your journey from starting out to your current role?

I’ve worked for Amey for two and a half years and I’ve recently returned to work after becoming a first-time mum and taking a year off on maternity leave. I’ve worked in programme management, management consultancy and business development for the last 19 years, after qualifying with an MSc in Environmental Engineering and a Post Graduate Degree in Project Management. I also have a MBA, which I studied for in Lisbon, Brazil and in America at MIT.

I’m currently working on Amey’s Severn Trent Capital contract as the Business Performance Manager, where I’m responsible for Programme Management, Project Support and Customer Services, with a total of 16 members in my team.

Why do you feel work life balance is important?

In terms of returning to work, my manager was extremely supportive helping me to re-calibrate my work-life balance. It was quite challenging to start with (and it still is almost 10 months on) to come back to work and get the balance right.  I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic and the change in priorities that comes with motherhood is sometimes difficult to cope with, especially when you want to give 100% at work, but you have a little baby now and they come first. I suppose we must learn and accept that you can’t give 100% all the time and that sometimes 90% is ok as well.  

It’s perfectly possible, to be a working mum and still deliver, it just requires lots of good advanced planning, method, perseverance and a little bit of your manager’s understanding now and again.

“Finding the right balance isn’t a quick process, but time helps us to learn how to deal with our competing priorities and manage things better.”

Why do you feel diversity is important?

The engineering and construction space tends to be a male dominated environment, something which I know companies like Amey are working hard to change.  Since joining Amey, I have never felt for a second that I was treated differently for any reason. I suppose it’s also a matter of our own attitude towards diversity and inclusion and for us as individuals to accept any differences when they exist.

“We’re all different and that’s a good thing, it just makes us all richer and more diverse as a group.”

In terms of coming back to work after having a baby, I don’t have another experience to compare it to, but what I will say, is having a supportive business manager is key to helping this transition and providing support to managers who have members of their team returning after a long period out of the business will help everyone to have a positive experience like I had. Many of us are juggling families, personal commitments, and have lots of conflicting priorities, and knowing that Amey has introduced a flexible working policy to help ensure a healthy work life balance is really good to hear.

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