CT’zen Stories: Irish Reyes-Edmondson on Careers and Motherhood — and Making a Difference

CT’zen Stories: Irish Reyes-Edmondson on Careers and Motherhood — and Making a Difference

Everyone has a story waiting to be heard. We’re highlighting some of the amazing stories from within CleverTap — from our very own CT’zens — because we believe in the amazing people we work with everyday and want to share the exciting work culture that we’ve built together. Presenting: the CT’zens of CleverTap.

Irish Reyes-Edmondson: In Her Own Words

I always admired my mother’s achievements and how she ran her life. She has always made motherhood look easy — balancing raising 8 kids, attaining the highest degree, and excelling in her career. Growing up, my parents taught us the value of hard work, community, and financial independence. One thing that she would always remind us, “No matter what, you should always be able to afford to pay for your own lipstick.” 

Starting My Career and Changing Gears

With her as my role model, I finished university and started my career in tech back in the Philippines. In 2008, I moved to Japan and got my MBA through the Japanese Young Leaders Program. Then my career took off, and I worked in Tokyo, the US, and Singapore. At this point, hard work was really paying off. Then in 2015, I moved to Dubai following my husband’s new role. 

On the first day that I landed in Dubai, I learned that I was expecting my first child, and like most women, that was a life-changing moment in my life. It is challenging for women to get a job post-maternity break. Initially, when a couple of friends mentioned this, I refused to believe this would be the case. But after giving birth to my child, when I was ready to get back to work, I found out the all-too-common truth. Companies plainly refused to give me a job having taken a break from my career to have my baby. I was devastated because the whole thought process didn’t sit well with me. 

Finding Support, Making a Difference

While motherhood was fulfilling, part of me was missing and I needed something to motivate me every morning. While talking to a few friends who were new mums as well, I came across a lot of them who didn’t have any child support here, which made them feel very vulnerable with respect to the small queries about their children. After much thought and being pregnant with my second child, I decided to step up and do something about it because I realized that there were so many women out there who were struggling with the same —and if I could reach out, it would make a difference. 

So, I began a community on Facebook for first-time mothers whose children were born during the same quarter as my second child. The initial purpose was to support each other and help each other deal with the queries and struggles a new mother faces. The response received was terrific. We discussed everything from baby firsts to baby problems, and it was blissful finding that companionship in a new country. I stayed as a group moderator for over two years, and the group expanded. Many mums started joining in, making it an open group. I am still a part of it, but it now manages itself. 

This group generated a reference, and I got a job after four years. I joined a company as a Business Development and Marketing Manager, and I realized how reaching out to others can help your journey. During motherhood, especially when in a new country and trying to cope with different things, you tend to believe and convince yourself that this is your only role. At times, you begin to lose confidence in your own capabilities. As I had been working since my first job, and I loved my financial independence and valued it a lot, I strongly felt every woman should do the same if they can. Because the potential is out there, waiting to be explored. I wanted to put out this message and create awareness for women who were trying hard to come back from a break but didn’t know how.

A New Collaboration With Other Moms

Wanting to take this drive forward, I began another collaboration with a large group of mothers called Crunchmoms, where we started a campaign called “RETURNSHIP.” The whole purpose of this initiative was to help women who had a break in their career, for whatever reason, to come back and resume their work. We began conducting training to help candidates prepare for interviews, and connected with corporations for possible internships, since even a three-month internship can make a significant difference on one’s resume. 

I want to see this initiative expand and evolve. And I want to convey it loud and clear to every woman out there, who, even for a moment, has stopped believing in herself. I want her to know “That there are opportunities out there. All you need to do is take that first step and reach out.” 

No Judgements, Just Skills

I joined CleverTap two months ago. The company’s core values — of giving everyone an opportunity and not judging them based on things like having a break in their job history and that what matters is having the right skills — are in line with my beliefs. The work culture and the transparency of the people at CleverTap are incredible. If every company adopts this kind of approach, it will be easier for people to return to work after their breaks. No judgments, just skills. 

I want to send a message summing it up with a quote from Winnie the Pooh, “You can’t stand in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

#ownyourbreak #nonjudgemental #reachout #opportunities #independence #themotherhoodproject

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Posted on February 28, 2022