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Why Smart Companies Support Working Moms

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Colleen Arnold, Senior Vice President, Sales and Distribution, IBM

Colleen Arnold, Senior Vice President, Sales and Distribution, IBM

By Colleen Arnold

I’m a mother of two and have a husband with a demanding job. I also have outside interests and hobbies, and work as a Senior Vice President at IBM.  It’s not always easy to balance it all but I feel fortunate to work at a company that values the unique capabilities and contributions of working moms.

2015 marks the 30th consecutive year that IBM has been named to Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies – a record we are proud of and don’t take for granted.  In fact, there are only two companies on the list since it launched – the other is Johnson & Johnson. You can read more about it here.

Programs and services that support families were an important issue at IBM long before the Working Mother list began. Back in 1956, the company introduced paid family leave of absence. In the 1980s, it made flexible work options available and launched the first national corporate child care initiative.

We’ve continued to add programs, such as childcare provider referral services, funding for daycare centers near IBM locations, ensuring priority admission for children of employees, support for parents of special needs children, helping employees and family members pay back college loans, and funds towards adoption and surrogacy services. This year IBM extended paid leave for parents and is launching a breast milk delivery service for nursing moms.

Supporting progressive workplace practices is not only the right thing to do for our people, it’s also good for business and society. And we want more companies and business leaders to take this issue seriously. Supporting a family-friendly workplace has a powerful effect that extends well beyond working moms to their children, immediate families and networks of friends and co-workers. Everyone benefits.

There’s always more to be done and we haven’t figured in all out. So let’s continue to push the agenda forward and pull each other up one working mother at a time.

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