Our dynamic duo Daniela Frömmel (left) and Natasha Maroun (right).
To be (a working mom) or not to be…
You will immediately say that this is the kind of question you would expect from a young newly married girl who is contemplating her future and not one Daniela and Natasha contemplate and ponder almost every day. Well, you will be wrong. In an ever- changing world where traditional female and male roles are challenged and changed by not only our own environments, but also by the wider world at large, we are in a conundrum. Be present and be the best mom you can be AND be present and be the best employee you can be. This sounds relatively easy, two things to juggle, but when you consider in our case it means juggling three lives at a time, it is a bit more complex than one imagines when the baby shower is planned and possible baby names are thrown around.
So how do you juggle, balance and be the best in whatever it is you choose to get involved in?
We have concluded that you must make clear choices and decisions from day one. Your children are your children because you chose to have them and therefore the somewhat unorthodox approach of ‘I will transfer the responsibilities of parenting over to my spouse, an au pair or any willing family member’ while I build my career, although it may sound glamourous and very committed, we do not believe is sustainable in the long term. Conversely, your employer cannot be expected to wait until you are ready to be fully present and your children no longer demand time and attention for you to deliver on the investment they have made in you.
You choose in any given moment which of your two roles take presedence over the other and just go with it. We will be shot down for saying this, but often you roll with the punches and take it as it comes. Whilst planning and scheduling is key to juggling a successful career as well as being an involved, invested parent, life happens and you must be able to just roll with the punches when the situation demands it.
In talking to each other we wished someone had sat us down and given us some practical and, in some cases, logical tips long ago and so we attempt to share some of our own tips from experiences with you, which we hope will help you in being the best mom you can be and the best employee you can be.
- Whether you are with your family or at work remember to have fun while you are taking care of the serious stuff.
- Communicate with your employer. Understand the expectations and demands and discuss the details of your current job. Express your requirements and family dynamics. Negotiate upfront. However, always stay reasonable.
- Create a family calendar in addition to your career calendar. Being organised is key!
- Be proactive and have your deadlines in mind. This helps to avoid that you need to manage too many tasks at once.
- Guilt is a useless emotion. Think about how your involvement in your company assists in furthering the financial wellbeing of your family, instead of feeling guilty that you are not fulfilling ‘mom duties 24/7’
- Focus on tasks and avoid time wasting during the day at the office so that you can be fully present and involved when you get home.
- Make time to connect with your family during the day. With social media and platforms like WhatsApp you can be involved, even if you are not there and it takes literally a few minutes.
- Create special family activities and spend special dedicated time with your partner.
- Make time for yourself.
- Enjoy being a mum and a business woman!
So, in conclusion to our fellow working moms we say:
“You are far more likely to succeed if you are having fun, so play just as hard as you work, if not harder! Find time to laugh, whether it is catching up with friends, chatting to new people or sharing a joke on Twitter. Then when opportunity knocks, open the door and make every second count.” – Richard Branson
Natasha has 25 years experience in the insurance industry. After completing her legal studies she started in the industry as a broker and then moved on to Hannover Re where she completed the graduate trainee programme. After a few years in the treaty department of Hannover Re she joined the Lireas team and represented them on the boards of the various Underwriting Managers where they were involved. She became a shareholder and managing director of Gem & Jewel Acceptances. After 6 years the company was sold to Bryte SA. Since then, she has been the National Head of the Jewellery, Fine Art and Specie division of Bryte SA. In 2018 she was elected as a councillor to the Insurance Institute of Gauteng in the marketing portfolio.
She is passionate about family, all things bling and precious and attracting bright young talent to the insurance industry.
While studying at Technical University Dresden, Daniela joined an excursion to Allianz and discovered the exciting role of an actuary in the insurance industry.
In 2004 she started her reinsurance career in the Property & Casualty department with GE Insurance Solutions in Munich, Germany. After finalising her mathematical studies in 2006, she joined Swiss Re as a Marine Underwriter and found her passion in this very specific and often overlooked business in the short-term insurance industry. Daniela found a niche, where she could combine her love for mathematics with her underwriting responsibilities.
In 2009 Daniela joined the Marine team at Munich Re, Munich, where she had underwriting responsibility for various markets, as well as serving as the senior actuary for Germany, Asia Pacific and Africa. She gained experience in different portfolios and cultures, which contributed positively to her decision to move to South Africa in 2014.
Daniela joined Munich Re of Africa (MRoA) in the role of Senior Underwriter, and rapidly ascended to the position of Property Treaty Manager. In February 2017 she assumed overall responsibility as Chief Underwriting Officer for all Non-Life business at MRoA, which includes Fac and Treaty across all classes of business. After having spent 4 years in South Africa, Daniela’s secondment to MRoA will come to an end in August 2018 and togehter with her family, she will move back to Munich to explore new opportunities at the Munich Re Head Office.