Go back to International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020. To think that we’d be using words like “lockdown,” “home-schooling” and “furlough” would be unthinkable – for a few more weeks, at least. The past year has been one of turmoil, sadness and anxiety. But it’s also been one of solidarity, discovery and triumph.
Among our ranks are individuals still managing to make an impact. In the community, personal success all despite lockdown adversity. We’d like to celebrate them this International Women’s Day.
Jasmine: Lockdown- an opportunity?
Jasmine White is a Senior Consultant in ARM’s Commercial Shipping team. She won the company’s Q2 Outstanding Performer award. How did she manage this?
Jasmine found that working remotely provided some unexpected gifts. “Although difficult at times, the challenge to spend time alone taught me things about myself that I didn’t know.”
She adopted a new, short-term working strategy, never looking further than a week or two ahead. Putting all her effort and energy into those 1-2 weeks helped her stay fully focused.
However, she also modestly credits her accomplishment with reaching out to people when lockdown or work got the better of her. “I found this key to my success because these people either lifted me out of these feelings or gave me reassurance and solutions.”
It clearly worked. Reflecting on her achievement, Jasmine says :“It felt really great to win this award because 2020 was a challenging year, both inside and outside of work. It also motivated me even more to continue working hard, even when times are testing”.
Nora: Family Lockdown
Nora Gewert-Allen is an International Consultant in ARM’s Transportation and Infrastructure team.
She, like many, found it “odd being together at home 24/7”. A family of four with two boys of 9 and 11 years old, home-schooling started with minimal provision. So Nora assumed responsibility. During this time, her eldest son moved up to secondary school and both boys are thriving.
Nora simultaneously welcomed new clients and has still been able to change people’s lives by finding them new jobs. She says that despite the pandemic, making it work is such a great feeling. “My son, who I share an office with at home, has been celebrating with me and developed the ‘We-got-an-interview-dance’!”
What has been hard is not seeing loved ones. “It’s been a year of loss and distance – friends and family passing away and not being able to say goodbye is difficult,” Nora says. “A lot of family live in Germany and not being able to share your grief and sorrow with them makes these difficult moments harder.”
Though a ray of sunshine came in the shape of her tiny newborn niece, who she’s watched grow from afar. “Thank goodness for Facetime and video calls!” As if the pandemic wasn’t enough to contend with, Nora also kept an eye on Brexit. “As a German national living in the UK for 20 years, I decided I needed more security with the imminent change. So I applied for British Citizenship and I got it!”
Many congratulations, Nora!
Kellee: the joy of volunteering
Obviously, we wouldn’t have got through the past 12 months without the thousands of volunteers who have helped those in need. One such person is Kellee Howgill, Delivery Coordinator for Optamor.
Kellee has been volunteering at a local surgery, administering the Covid-19 vaccination to elderly and vulnerable patients.
“They rely heavily on volunteers to run these clinics, as the surgery staff still have their normal daily jobs to do,” Kellee explains.
Working and home-schooling two teenagers means Kellee’s time is precious. Yet she felt compelled to help out after friends within the NHS explained the pressures they’re under. She takes advantage of the Group’s volunteering scheme, which enables staff to volunteer without having to book annual leave or forfeit any earnings.
Kellee says she’s met many lovely people and had such good laughs. “Humour has definitely made it all easier and I plan to continue for all the time they need my help.”