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Mom Feature Monday: Leah Steinkirch, Chief Mom Officer

  1. Background – What have you done, where are you from, what do you want us to know about your past?

I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and quickly went to work in social services in and around Chicago, Illinois.  From foster care case manager, working with adults with disabilities, to intake at Hazelden Chicago, I covered many roles in the healthcare space.  I quickly learned that I needed more education to truly help people beyond basic case manager roles, so I went back to school to obtain a masters degree in Human Services and Counseling.  My initial goal was to find a position as a Family counselor but sometimes life throws a curveball, and for me that meant taking a job in Pharmaceutical Sales in Wyoming.  Yes, Wyoming. I took the job in an effort to quickly pay off student loans and turned it into a seven-year stint in sales.  I enjoyed the strategy and analysis that was required and it allowed me to apply my background in Human Services in different form.

Even though I was thriving in my career, becoming a mother changed my perspective, as it does for many.  When my daughter was 11 months old, I decided there was no reason I couldn’t find a role working from home.  I co-authored a children’s book, started a few Etsy shops, taught myself graphic design and took classes on web development.  I found a way to fulfill my professional goals and feel like I was present as the needs of my family dictated.  But all of these opportunities were in an effort to find the perfect fit for both my family and my personal goals.

It wasn’t an easy road and when Ashley shared her idea about Prowess Project, I had the “holy sh*t, I want to be a part of that” moment.

It is a  privilege to help build the online presence for the website.  And, being able to channel my past business and human service experience into creating the Prowess Facilitator Certification is beyond exciting.  But, best of all, is providing perspective as a mom trying to reenter the workforce.  That’s why I’m so excited about being part of the Prowess Project. CMO –  Chief Mom Officer is the best title I have ever had.

2.  What do you wish that your coworkers knew about your work style? 

I can come across as quiet when people first meet me, but I am not shy or reserved. My nature is to process other people’s communications styles before I run them over with all my thoughts, (my head sometimes feels like a popcorn machine of ideas.)  Once I understand the playing field, I love the brainstorming and analysis that goes along with making a project successful.  I just seek to know the cast of characters first (some might say I am psychoanalyzing you, but whatever).

3.  If you could bring attention to one thing that women deal with juggling kids and career that goes unnoticed or unthanked, what would it be? 

Working from home is harder than being in the office.  I have watched people roll their eyes when a mom is out sick with a child, as if the mom is sitting home with her feet up, enjoying a quiet day at home.  Working from home can feel like you are fighting a two-front battle. Working at home means being able to mute the phone at the exact moment the child bursts into the room, answer an email with one hand while rubbing a little one’s back with the other, being able to schedule that next conference call at the exact time the child will nap (okay that never happens, you just hope their iPad is fully charged). Mom’s don’t have the luxury of leaving a desk or office to go out to lunch, scheduling a conference room so it’s quiet for your call or even just walking over to a co-worker’s desk for a conversation about an upcoming deadline.   It’s a constant running up and down the stairs while trying to finish a project before the next round of symptoms and praying you’re not ruining your child with another hour of screen time so that you can get in one more hour of work.  And, in the end, we will feel guilty for every part of it: Not focusing on work, not taking better care of our sick kid, needing to take a sick day, and then feeling guilty for feeling guilty about taking a sick day.

4.  What kids song (or song your kid listens to) is currently stuck in your head? 

No joke, it’s – “Catchy Song” from the Lego movie – Don’t know it? Look it up. You won’t thank me.

5.  What does a “me” day look like to you? 

A long run on my own schedule, drink coffee while it’s still hot, sitting down for lunch with a friend, and reading a personal growth book without being interrupted 25 times because someone can’t find their shoes.

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