Sharing the stories of working mothers has been an eye-opening experience for me. You may check out the previous interviews here. Each woman’s story I have shared thus far has been unique.
Today I am sharing the working mother story of Lamona.
Lamona and I worked together for a couple of years. Lamona is so wise (like an oracle). A grounded person, with strong values and a innate drive to see equality in this world.
Lamona is a Diversity & Inclusion Lead. Her role is to ensure that people identify their own unconscious bias, and influence the way people perceive each other. She helps others embrace diversity.
As you all know by now, when it is italics in pink that is me adding my five cents worth!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Lamona Rajah and I am a mum to two teenagers. My son is 18-years-old and my daughter is 14-years-old.
Born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, KZN.
I came to Johannesburg 17 years ago seeking employment and have never looked back! Johannesburg is my home now.
I am a single mum for the past ten years. I prioritized raising my kids during this time of being divorced.
As a 22-year-old graduate, desperately looking for a job with a baby, I had no choice but to take the first available job I found – a teller at a bank.
During the next six years that I worked here, I eagerly tried to move into HR, with no success.
I eventually moved into HR after completion an Honours qualification. I then pursued two more qualifications, a B.Com Industrial & Organizational Psychology and a Diploma in Marketing.
Here is how a working mother lives her purpose through her day job. How many of us can say that? #workingmom #interview Click To Tweet
How I live out my purpose in my career
Talent Management got me hooked and I grew into different roles within this space. After 11 years of being in the financial services industry, I moved into a global technology and management consulting company.
I landed a role in the Global Inclusion and Diversity Team. This was where my day job started to connect to me to my life’s purpose. I thrived on working with individuals on how to identify and leverage their strengths to reach their full potential.
Guys, I can attest this, Lamona is referring to the Gallup Strengths Finder. You can identify your innate strengths and learn how to use them.
Through using the strengths finder I found that certain aspects of my personality is innate, and I can embrace and leverage that. If you ever have a chance please try to do it. Example, I like to do lists and close on things (Achiever). I have learnt how to use this to my own advantage in team and also also what I need to watch out for (burn out).
My innate strengths became clear and I learnt how to maximize them in my career. I was headhunted by my current organization to lead their Diversity and Inclusion journey in Africa and the Middle East.
‘Headhunted’, don’t get it twisted.
My job is to develop strategies to address diversity challenges
- We live in a world where there is so much inequality and atrocities due to hate between people.
- It is a privilege to be a champion for change and show them a better way of mutual respect, trust and human dignity. This is my purpose.
- I help people reframe their world experiences to embrace and value diversity in others instead of being unconsciously threatened by them.
An important job. I have seen this in action.
All of us carry unconscious bias. Example, we like people who have the same background like us. We hire people who are similar to us.
Lamona’s job in part is to highlight unconscious bias, and coach people and teams to see the world from a different perspective.
What do you LOVE most about your job?
Living my life’s purpose to change the world.
- I feel that each interaction I have with people holds a precious opportunity to speak the truth that can change the way they see the world.
- I like teaching others to reframe what they have always known and seek to embrace diversity and be inclusive in everyday living.
- How we see and treat others because of assumptions and how we may be missing out on so much because of it.
Share with us your top two tips that help you to manage your work life integration (balance) that would help other working moms?
- Everyone has a unique story. Don’t beat yourself up, if yours doesn’t look like other successful women around you. Work with what you have and write your own story. One that fits your life circumstances. For example, if you are single or don’t have a supportive partner/spouse, find a way to create success for yourself despite this. Don’t look at those who have support to propel them in their career. You can find that kind of help in extended family, friends and a good nanny.
- Don’t try to be superwomen. There are times you need to go outsource activities/tasks. Identify what you can outsource, be it meals, transporting kids etc.
- Work on your strengths. If you can cook a mean meal but suck at baking, buy ready-made cake mix or buy baked treats and continue preparing great meals.
- There are times you will need to vent about how much it all is. Do that. Find a trusted friend or family member that you can express your feelings and frustrations with. Then pick yourself up and walk right through.
Looking back share with us advice you would give yourself as a new mother?
- Don’t feel pressured to conform to an image you grew up to believe is the only way it must be. Write your own story.
- Don’t feel guilty about needing some time to yourself – leverage all the brooding family around who cannot wait to babysit your child, or help in some way.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. Recognize what works for you and your baby and give it a shot.
- Be mindful. Be in the moment. Don’t miss the everyday moments. Journal them if you must, so you can go back and relive how precious motherhood is.
Don’t feel pressured to conform to an image you grew up to believe is the only way it must be. Write your own story. Click To Tweet
What do you do to kick back?
Literally doing nothing, just laying on my sofa, and catching up on my thoughts. I also love watching series with my children, when we can chill without me worrying about what to clean next.
Reading an excellent Christian novel is also relaxing for me.
When I can, going out on a hike and being in nature is fabulous to ground me.
Lamona thank you for sharing your story with me! You hold such an important role in your home (as a mom!) but also in society. Thank you .
Lamona is active on twitter, you may check out her profile here.
Further Reading: The Side Hustle: 6 Things You Need to Start Now