There’s lots of noise in the parenting arena about “having it all” – referring to parents who successfully balance working outside the home with a rich family experience. While not all parents choose to work outside the home and raise kids simultaneously, Megan Taylor, vice president of Finance for DaVita Kidney Care does. She always knew she wanted to be a working mom, as she looked up to both her mother and aunt growing up, seeing that they could be fulfilled by doing both.
Like many executives, Megan has a robust and often challenging job at DaVita, an industry leader in providing compassionate, quality care for people with kidney disease. She works in a collaborative environment focused on finance and strategy, where she oversees portfolios and interacts with a team of high-caliber people who thrive on growing as leaders and being good financial stewards while investing in the future.
“It’s a fine balance, as it takes a lot of buy-in from others and work across multiple lanes,” said Megan. “DaVita does a fantastic job with leadership development, which helps me define what’s important in terms of both my role at work and that of mine at home. Being a mom has been the greatest joy of my life, and I also want to have a career and make an impact that way.”
A parent of two boys, ages four and one, Megan decided to start a New Mom’s Club at DaVita after her first maternity leave, as a way to connect with people at her life stage.
“It was challenging to find new mom connections that gathered outside of normal working hours, so I was passionate about creating a place to work where people can share stories, support each other, and strengthen connections,” added Megan.
There are now 65 members in the New Mom’s Club out of more than 1,600 employees at its Denver headquarters, with about a half dozen mentor moms who are tenured in the organization and have older kids. Those mentors can be there as a way for new moms to learn what challenges and rewards that they may confront in years to come. In addition, the club has a leadership committee which organizes quarterly events such as having panels and guest speakers from different organizations. Some of these have included representatives from Children’s Hospital Colorado and Mamahood.
It’s Still a Challenge
Megan’s husband works full-time outside the home in marketing, while the eldest child goes to school and the youngest stays home with Megan’s mom, who is also her nanny.
“I’m so lucky to have my mom, and this is something not all working parents may have the opportunity of enjoying,” said Megan. “Even so, there are still challenges. There are different needs at different times across all stages of my kids’ lives and of mine. At one point, as a new mom, working from home on Fridays gave me a lot more flexibility. Then as my children grew older, I had to consider different models. For example, I am currently working four days per week. Ultimately, the key is to be nimble. DaVita has partnered with me on that journey and I am grateful for that.”
Even with challenges, there are significant rewards. Megan finds fulfillment by being a working mom.
“I’ve always wanted to be a working mom to continuously learn, be a role model, and to give back. Everyone’s journey is different, and I have a lot of respect for parents who choose to stay home full time. It is a personal decision, and for me, this is what works. I hope that having a career will teach my kids the discipline, work ethic, and value of chasing dreams,” she said. “They will have a perspective on gender roles at home and in the workplace, and an example of the courage it takes to put in the hard work to achieve their goals.”
Megan travels one-to-two times per month but she minimizes the amount of disruption in her home life by taking early-morning flights and trying to be gone just one or two nights as opposed to an entire week.
“It’s all about preparation,” added Megan. “If my husband has work obligations while I’m away, I reach out to friends and family who I trust, who might be able to cover for me.”
Coping with stress is just a part of life, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or one who works outside the home. For Megan, it’s all about having the right outlets on a regular basis, whether that’s through friends, meditation or something as simple as walking the dog.
“Just being able to recognize the possible stressors is a huge part of the equation in terms of managing mental and emotional health,” she added. “Because work limits my time with my kids, I cherish those times and want to be present when I am with them. The leadership development I’ve received from DaVita makes me a better mother, wife, and daughter.”
DaVita Kidney Care does its best to offer useful programs to improve the work/life balance of its teammates and to support children of all ages. Some of these programs include:
- DaVita’s Bright Horizons Care Advantage: this teammate program provides counseling services, support for children with extra needs, access to caregivers, pet care, tuition discounts, back-up care, and other family-centric benefits.
- Little Star Leave is a program for new parents, who can receive a monetary gift or six weeks paid leave that can be supplemented with paid time off for 100 percent of pay.
- Adoptive parents may be eligible to receive additional adoption assistance in an amount up to $5,000.
- DaVita’s Bright Horizons offers College Coach, which prepares teammates’ high schoolers for university. College Coach provides impartial insight from former admissions officers, finance professionals and teachers. Parents are given guidance on financial assistance while students are offered essay reviews and educational counseling.
- The KT Family Foundation is a private foundation funded by DaVita CEO, Kent Thiry and wife, Denise O’Leary. It provides scholarships to teammates’ eligible children and grandchildren who are enrolled in grades 6-11.
- Milk Stork is a breast milk delivery service for business-traveling moms. It provides refrigerated, express shipping or easy toting of breast milk.
- Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies is a Cigna program to help pregnant teammates and their babies stay healthy during pregnancy and in the days and weeks after delivery and birth. This service provides pregnant parents with 24/7 access to the Health Information Line, weekly health tips and prescription prenatal vitamins with a $0 copay.
Even though finding time for herself is not a top priority for Megan, she does recognize its value.
“The reality for me is that exercising, being outside, practicing yoga, meditation, planning annual trips with friends and family, as well as a quarterly staycations with my husband, make me feel more centered and grounded.”
Finally, Megan and her husband make it easier on themselves by outsourcing at home, which includes retaining a house cleaner and relying heavily on delivery for house staples, order-ahead for groceries, and grab-and-go options or Door Dash for those days when cooking is out of the question.
“My advice for those parents considering working outside the home, is to spend the time and create space to figure out what ‘having it all’ really looks like,” concluded Megan. “Does that mean having an impressive title, or a specific career track? Is it important to be able to pick up and drop off the kids, participate in field trips or be with kids for dinner and bedtime? It’s a give-and-take situation as your career changes and grows at the same time the children do. Recognizing what you want your life to look like makes all the difference.”