Tracy Morris is both a leader in the c-Suite and a mother at home. Balancing life as it unfurls while maintaining the pursuit of a career has always been particularly daunting for women, but there is finally some sense of change within the corporate world. Tracie Morris is the chief human resources officer for BMO Financial Group. She is also a mother, yoga instructor and steadfast colleague.
Ascending to the c-suite as a woman in the professional world has never been easy, but with the right approach and mindset, change is possible.
A Changing Workforce
A glance at executive leadership numbers split by gender would prove quite compelling. Only 28% of C-Suite executives happen to be women, and many are put in positions where they must choose between their family and their career.
Even though these unenviable choices weigh upon women in c-suite positions, there are still signs of change. Morris does her part to make this transition easier: “In my role, I just want to make sure everyone’s heard, and that really helps with managing conflict.”
While Morris is still relatively new to her position, having taken on the role over two years ago, she has already helped to build what she defines as a winning culture to foster career development and community engagement. Through her efforts, Morris has helped develop serious initiatives that have positively impacted her colleagues and the surrounding area. Among these programs is Zero Barriers to Inclusion, which prioritizes people of color and women while providing mentoring, career development and sponsorships.
Community investment through efforts Morris and the BMO team has extended to transformational donation drives. One donation drive led to more than $10 million for sustainable opportunities in and around Austin, Texas.
Balancing Work and Home With C-Suite Expectations
While Morris may enjoy the work she does at home, she is no less busy because of it. In order to find success in work and in life as a c-suite mom, Morris spent time contemplating keys for personal success without burnout. Here are her top five suggestions for getting the most out of a c-suite position without abandoning any aspect of yourself that you enjoy.
- Share Your Needs
If you don’t ask for help, then you can’t be surprised when help doesn’t come. Morris points to the pandemic as a key indicator of the need for sharing our requests. Morris reflects on a divorce she experienced in the early ’00s, “What I had to learn was to communicate and ask for help.”
- Reach Out For Help
Knowing that you need help and actually asking for it are two dramatically different things. Morris suggests that asking for help is, in part, “not feeling like a burden.” Feeling indebted when asking for help can create an imbalance in our minds, but we must work to silence that “career killing weakness”. Throughout the pandemic, Morris worked directly with her employees to ensure that their needs were met.
- Accept That Life Isn’t Perfect
We can’t fall to pieces when something is out of balance because this would happen far too often. For Morris, understanding that imbalances in life and work should be expected was important to acknowledge. Setting boundaries can help to limit the impact of life imbalances. Consider turning your phone off during dinner or not answering emails outside office hours.
- Embrace Your Mental Health
University of Phoenix conducted the Career Optimism Index to better understand how mental health resources were pursued by the general population. Their research revealed that a larger number of moms (39%) sought mental health than the general population (33%) when isolated.
- Enjoy Your Time
Word demands can amplify the demands of home life, and if you don’t learn to properly balance them, they can drag you under. Morris embraces her morning walks and weekends with her favorite books as necessary parts of her schedule. Find your time to relax and never forget it.
While these are only a few of Morris’s tips, they set the tone for the mindset she wants other c-suite moms to believe in. Additionally, Morris believes that working mothers need to adopt and believe the mindset that they are enough just as they are to push away unfair feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
University of Phoenix
At University of Phoenix, it has never been easier to empower yourself to pursue a higher education to move forward in the workforce. Aspiring c-suite executives can begin their educational journey by looking into the many career planning services available to them. The University focuses on making educational opportunities flexible for working adults so that they can balance family, employment and education on their chosen terms.