Promoted while pregnant: My first year at Tribe
Lynda Strutton, our Chief Operating Officer, reflects on her first 12 months at Tribe to mark International Women's Day. And make sure you check out our IWD blog, in which a handful of Tribe's leading ladies share what today means to them.
First things first, I’m acutely aware that I’m one of the lucky ones. It seems like every week, there’s a story in the news that sheds light on the battle women face for equality; whether it be in the workplace, the adjectives used to describe us in newspapers, or the litany of other double standards dotted around society.
Having spent more than a decade building a career in the payments space and the last five years of it in Dubai, my partner and I decided to move back to England with three kids in tow for our next chapter. I secured the role of VP of Customer Success at Tribe and many flights, suitcases and boxes later, the next chapter of my life began. Little did I know what 2022 had in store for me…
Just a couple of weeks into my new role, I found out that I was pregnant and for many reasons it was quite the surprise. I’m sure there’ll be many women reading this – and some men too – who will appreciate the feelings that I was going through. As someone who worked hard to get this far in my career, it was both exciting and unsettling in equal measure. I had a good handle on juggling a busy career with pre-teen twin boys and a seven-year-old daughter, and I had got used to the guilt any working parent feels with the impossible balance of being a working mum, but a new baby was certainly going to change things.
What would Tribe say? Could I cope with a new role? And how would I juggle a Senior Leadership role with being a new mum again?
I joined Tribe because I saw its potential for growth. The paytech sector is rapidly evolving and the solutions Tribe offer are among the best I’ve seen. I was really excited to be part of such an innovative business.
When a company is growing, two things happen – you both recruit more people, but also people’s roles naturally change, and you invariably end up taking on more tasks. During my pregnancy my role evolved and I was promoted to COO. The support and belief the Senior Management gave me really demonstrated the encouraging growth culture that exists within Tribe, making choices that may initially be more challenging for the business and being able to see the longer term benefits is not something all companies are good at. I am very proud to be part of one that really does.
Women should be able to balance building a career with having a family.
The pandemic has brought to the fore how effective working from home and hybrid working can be – no more so than at Tribe, and I was able to work from home in the final month leading up to giving birth. The company was great – right from the very top level of management, through to the team I manage – and even sent through some lovely gifts for both myself and “Baby Tribe”.
Following maternity leave, Tribe have been accommodating and flexible during my return to work. I was able to gradually build up my working hours and days over time, taking rest days when necessary, and fully WFH for a while before having to come into the office.
I’ve managed to find a good work/life balance, and this has been largely down to the support I have received from Tribe. Baby Tribe has even joined some conference calls to add her input into how Tribe can deliver some innovative payments solutions.
This should not be an unusual situation to feel grateful for: Women should be able to balance building a career with having a family. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and I have known many talented ladies take a step down due to lack of support or flexibility from employers, sometimes even putting off having a family. I know I’ve been in a very fortunate position, but it does show that with the right support, women can both maintain and climb the career ladder even while having children. They say it takes a village and in my case a Tribe! This International Women’s Day, as the campaign theme goes, it’s never been a better time to #EmbraceEquity