In the face of adversity, Jeanne has been an inspiration to us all.
05 Nov 2017
Jeanne started at UBS almost three years ago as head of marketing for the Americas FX, Rates and Credits (FRC) function. Now she oversees global client marketing for FRC. She is actively involved with UBS's culture and diversity & inclusion initiatives across the firm. She is also a single mother.
Always taking a positive approach (even in challenging situations), when Jeanne and her teenage son, Jackson recently lost their two-bedroom apartment in a fire, she handled the situation with bravery, sheer grit, and grace.
What has helped you succeed as a working mother at UBS?
Really it's the UBS culture as a whole. Here, starting at the very top, people absolutely 'walk the walk and talk the talk'. So many elements aim to help employees who are parents; from an actual network for working parents, to the general commitment to work-life balance, to the core sense of collaboration which means we will have each other's backs when someone needs to tend to family. It's really unique and something I don't take for granted having worked elsewhere.
But ultimately your line manager will set the tone for the department. Having a line manager who really embraces the culture and supports you—that makes space for you to be good at your job and be a good parent—that has been key.
And specifically this year, I owe so much to all the individuals who helped me get life back to normal so I could focus on work again. Their kindness and support was so above and beyond.
What has it been like building a career in an industry with few women and few working mothers?
There's a certain opportunity to shine when you're in a smaller group. There, you might have the opportunity to surprise people and maybe turn their opinion around. It does make you really appreciate the importance of having other women who support each other. But I haven't found it really difficult, and I've been in finance-related jobs for my entire post-college career. It hasn't been bad so far!
I look at it as more of an opportunity to prove yourself. When we are faced with challenges, sometimes it allows us to do our best work.
What's the best thing about being a working mom?
It's the pride my son takes in my accomplishments. If I weren't a parent, I am sure my career would be rewarding on its own, but sharing those things over the dinner table and seeing him light up, or hearing him say 'That's awesome!' or 'I knew you could do it' is great. You can second guess your choices sometimes, so seeing that your child appreciates what you do means a lot.
… and the most challenging?
It's the sacrifices. No matter how great your work-life balance is, sometimes you need to miss things. I'm a single parent, and when I miss things, sometimes that means no one is there. My son is pretty resilient, but it can still be hard (harder more for me than him, I think).
But luckily the world is full of other working parents and other working single parents, and you soon learn you aren't alone in these situations. When my son was in elementary school, I became friends with other working moms and we would make sure that if one of us couldn't be at an event, the others would pay special attention to their child that day. We'd take pictures of the performances and text them to the missing parent so they felt more connected.
What's the one piece of advice you would give to others?
It's what my mom used to give me: 'Do what you can do before you worry about what you can't do.' When you approach something, whether a difficult business problem to solve or a personal crisis, think of what you can do and how you can make any bit of positive progress, and in doing that, you can often find a solution for those things you thought you couldn't do. It keeps you from getting stuck and overwhelmed.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Successfully getting my son off to high school last month! Surviving the New York City high school application process is definitely an accomplishment!
Three fun facts about Jeanne
She's been doing cartwheels in front of world monuments since 1995. She has taken photos of about sixty of them so far.
She is one of six kids: three boys and three girls. They are all very close with each other.
She is a big indie rock fan. She was at the very first Lollapalooza concert and brought her son Jackson to his first Coachella at age three. And he has his own band now.