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The Working Mother Experience is a 250 page glossy coffee table book that contains nearly 100 essays written by EMC women (and one man) from around the world. The essayists share their candid perspectives on being working mothers in our fast-paced business environment.

Working Mother Experience Book (in PDF)


Meet EMC Working Mother -- Shelly Donaher

Shelly Donaher

Area Sales Process Manager, Canada

Mother of one toddler

Excerpt from Shelly's essay (p.36)
The hardest time is in the evening, when I have to finish some things from work, do schoolwork, and try to fit in some quality time with my daughter. So I’ve learned to take my job hat home, applying a sense of urgency to things that need to get done. My job at home is definitely the second shift, and I try to be just as organized there as I am at work. If I have a deadline in front of me, I like to just get the job done, rather than getting anxious about it. I sometimes think life would be just perfect if I had a wife, cook, or maid.
Why she wanted to contribute her story to the book: I wanted to contribute for a couple of reasons:
  1. I think it is important to share your story.  A lot of people think that they are alone in juggling motherhood, marriage, home, work, school etc.  As you see that is not the case since we have enough stories for a book
  2. It is important to share how difficult and busy a woman’s life is.  We have that added responsibility that most men don’t.  We actually have another full time job waiting for us at home.
  3. Most important, EMC is a great company to work for.  In saying that, a lot is expected of you because EMC hires the best of best people.  I think that the women in this company are absolutely amazing to be able to excel at their job at EMC and excel at what they do at home.  This shows the fantastic talent that EMC has working for them.

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Real stories bring a book to life (a series)

Why EMC’s working mothers contributed their stories to

The Working Mother Experience

The Working Mother Experience contains real stories written by EMC women (and one man) from around the world that provide candid perspectives on being a working mother in a fast-paced business environment. This book showcases the unique choices, daily challenges, and victories working mothers experience in today’s business world and in their personal lives. The essayists are the perfect examples of individuals who each day creatively and successfully manage the balancing act that is the working mother’s experience. We hope you’ll enjoy reading short profiles of some of the book’s contributors, including excerpts from their stories and their reasons for becoming storytellers. These stories will start with the title "Meet EMC Working Mother"

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Be the CEO of your life

Successful working mothers share one trait in common.  They are the CEO of their lives.  They take responsibility for their lives, their happiness, their boundaries and their success.  They are able to prioritize on the fly and have the gift of perspective.  Many of the women who wrote in the Working Mother Experience book talked about the concept of CEO of your life either directly or indirectly.  One woman went so far as to give titles to each member of the family! One amazing thing occurred to me while reading the book.  The traits are the same everywhere in the world.  Working Mothers cherish their communities and take charge of their lives.   The women who wrote inspired me with their skills.  We always worry about getting it all done and having work and life balanced.   What I got from reading the book was that balance is not defined as a constant even keel, but the ability to emerge from moments of chaos with a plan or path back to balance.   We have not failed when our lives are out of balance unless we give into the chaos and feel powerless. One of the reasons working mothers thrive so well in the high tech workplace is that they have mastery of concepts like teamwork, accountability and delegation.  Their negotiation skills are well practiced.  Any mother who has ever talked a toy out of a toddler’s hands at Toys R Us without a scene, into a dentist chair, or to leave a birthday party is a fierce negotiator. The one role that working mother CEO’s could use some more bench strength is in marketing.  We are statistically less likely to talk about our successes and strengths as our male counterparts.  We have proved we are fast learners so this gap will likely fill in soon.  We have come far from the Rosie the Riveter days.

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Greetings & Welcome

This blog is in support of a book published written by employee volunteers and published by EMC Corporation. The book started out as an email.  One working mother recounted a day spent with her newborn and sent it to a friend, another working mother.  That friend replied with a story of her own.  A deeper connection was formed between these two moms.  They chatted about how reading each other’s stories positively impacted them and mused that other working mothers might feel the same.  They wondered how many others were out there.  The seed was sown that this might be “something”. The idea was pitched to a mentor, an EVP at EMC.  One woman asked for financing and support to create a book.   Within moments the answer was yes.  An amazing team was assembled and employees volunteered their stories from around the world. EMC is a unique culture inside of the high tech world, a company that prides itself on planning and execution.   Innovation is the cornerstone of this culture. An idea like this book could never have been strategized or mandated.  It was based on a network of women and the credibility of the team entrusted to create it. Every woman’s story different, all are compelling.  A new way for these EMC working mothers to connect, contribute, and be celebrated.

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The Working Mother Experience Book Launch 4/3/09

Tomorrow is a day I have been waiting for a long time. In September of 2007 I asked my mentor at EMC to fund a book project. The process has been called “request and a yes” for it was seconds from the asking to the book project being underway. The process of creating the book, The Working Mother Experience, was a large project.  The process of collecting the stories, translations from our international participants, legal, creative, and overall making the book the amazing glossy 250 page jewel that it is took time and patience. Patience is not something I am known for, by the way.

I am a product manager, and a very detail oriented person (just read my story on page 226 to find out just how far my penchant for organization goes)! I am familiar with product development life-cycles of 18 months or greater when working on my day job. I walked into this project scoping it more like a service pack than a revolutionary, paradigm shifting product launch. We at EMC know a lot about revolutionary products. I had no idea how far the effects of this book would be felt.

The official launch is tomorrow as I said, but with any book project comes advanced copies and reviews. I am touched, moved, and inspired to have been the catalyst for this project. As with anything worth doing well, it took a team of incredible people with varied skillsets to bring this project together. Each step in the process I learned something new. I learned about areas of the business I knew nothing about – like what the communications department does. I met the fabulous creative minds behind our ad campaigns and found out we have many published authors in the ranks of EMC. (Note to self – look into that for a future blog post!!)

What impacted me the most, was hearing how the “page turned round the world” has connected not only the EMC women which was an expected outcome, but how it is impacting areas of EMC I never expected. Men I don't know are stopping me in the hallways to talk about how much their wives, mothers, daughters have loved the book. Moreover, how much THEY loved it. Managers have thanked me for helping them understand the lives of their employees and women who are not yet mothers at EMC have thanked me for paving the way for them.

I am certain that there will be more to write about after the launch and you will hear about my journey from the “request to yes” to the 6 degrees of separation that will form for all of the employees who participated in this book. Hats off to every one of them – you are heros.

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