L.E.K. Business Development Manager Rubina Dawud tells us about her primary caregiver leave experience in London and why balancing motherhood and a career is important to her. 

Tell us about yourself and your journey to L.E.K.
I’m originally from California and went to college at UCLA and then pursued further education in law and banking law. Eventually, I ended up in marketing and business development for several years before finding an opportunity with L.E.K. in London, which I joined in September 2020.

Why is it important for you to balance a successful career and family life? 
Having a successful career is important to me because I enjoy working and learning new things. In my business development role, I need to continuously learn new topics to be effective. It’s important to have a successful career not only for me, but it also allows me to be a role model for my daughter. I want her to see that it’s possible to balance both career and family, and I want to serve as an inspiration for her. Sometimes when I’m working from home, she’ll see me and pretend to also be typing on something to match what I’m doing, and it’s fun to see that. 

How have L.E.K. London’s parental leave policies benefited you?
The policies have been very generous and L.E.K. has been very supportive during my journey to motherhood.  In London, we are able to return at 80% for the first six months at full pay, and I found this very beneficial. Leaving Mila for the first time was very hard, but knowing I have a day in the week with her made it easier.
L.E.K. also offers one-on-one parental coaching, which covers support for a first-time parent and the team provided valuable support during my pregnancy and maternity leave, promptly answering any questions I had. Additionally, I was fortunate to be part of a nascent parents group at L.E.K., which allowed me to connect with others in similar situations. Furthermore, the company offered a flexible work arrangement, allowing me to gradually transition back to work after maternity leave. This support made the return to work much more manageable and less daunting.

Since parental leave, how have you adjusted to returning to work?
Post-pandemic and -parental leave, it has been nice to return to work, as I can also now enjoy the office to meet and socialize with my colleagues in person!

As my return-to-work date approached, I felt nervous as I was also coming back to work supporting a new sector; however, it was so important that I believed in myself. I told myself, “You did it before and you are more than capable of doing it again.” Coming back, I realized quickly it’s the same job just different stakeholders. Truly, it’s amazing how our minds adapt so quickly to change!

How do you balance your new parent responsibilities and working life? 
L.E.K.’s hybrid working policy has helped me balance my parental and working responsibilities. My day also starts much earlier than it used to — at 6:30 a.m.!

Specifically, on days when Mila is not at nursery, she is supported by a nanny from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m.; she then naps from 3 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. I work during these hours, wake her up at 5:30 p.m., spend some quality time with her and feed her dinner, and she is back to bed by 7:30 p.m. I then log back online to clear any outstanding emails or items to close off for the day.

On days I am working from home, I can pop by to see her, which is always nice to have that flexibility. I have also felt my L.E.K. team members have been respectful of my time, such as allowing calls to end earlier.

What’s your top tip for working parents?
Always plan ahead when possible to avoid chaotic mornings and ultimately chaotic days! For example, always plan their outfits the night before and always pack their nursery bag the night before, including extra clothes and food.