How do you ensure that you mean business, and grow your career, while also embracing the challenges and joys that come with raising well-adjusted children?
As a mom, chances are you are accustomed to balancing a variety of roles. Motherhood can be your greatest asset, teaching you to have grace for yourself, how to be compassionate and to see the beauty in all lessons life has to offer, especially the hard ones. Add in the responsibility of being a working mom, and you can basically do it all!
As a mom of two dynamic girls and vice-president and chief auditor at Scotiabank Group Jamaica Limited, Shelee Wilkie Channer’s responsibilities are great. Her primary business is keeping the bank and its customers safe by providing independent and objective assurance over the internal controls, risk management, and governance processes.
“The ever-changing risk landscape means that audit executives must be agile in keeping abreast of the constant changes and responding to the potential threats. This agility helps me to grow and develop while embracing the joys and navigating the challenges of raising my daughters in the world, which is also a constantly shifting landscape,” she shared.
She deliberately and intentionally carves out time for each aspect of her life, which is critical to maintaining balance between her personal and professional demands.
“When I am at work, I am super focused on getting the job done. I balance that by carefully managing my time. I make time for my regular exercise routine, which helps to ground me and support my mental well-being. I am also very deliberate about being present for my children, both physically and emotionally,” she noted.
In the pre-COVID-19 years, she was intentional in making sure that she was present for all their school events, ballet recitals, music recitals, tennis and football matches, among other things.
“These days, little things like taking them to Fontana to pick up personal supplies or getting Devon House ice cream are treasured moments. We enjoy family time dining together at the dinner table at least once per week and definitely on a Sunday. These times are spent praying, sharing, and laughing together.”
With motherhood already being a full-time job, moms are responsible for every aspect of their children’s well-being, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, there are no vacation days or sick time, and it is a full-time responsibility. Wilkie Channer believes that it is very important to have a strong support structure — “My husband Lennox and I both have significant work responsibilities and so we work together as a team and support each other.”
The seasoned banking professional admits that the journey of motherhood has been loaded with joys as well as its fair share of challenges.
“There is no manual that comes with being a mother. You learn and adapt as you go along. I recall as a young mom, I got all the pre- and post-pregnancy resources I needed, but while they were useful, by no means could they have prepared me for the actual experience and journey ahead,” she said.
“There are days when I do question whether I am actually getting it right. Am I present enough for my girls? Am I consumed too much by work?” she reflected.
During the pandemic, working from home enabled her to strengthen her relationship with her children. It allowed her to be physically present and more attentive to their needs, while fulfilling the responsibilities of her job.
“I jokingly mentioned to a colleague during the pandemic that I was their classmate and they, my co-workers. My home office was right there; I was just so accessible. I would get updates or sometimes complaints at break time, particularly from my older daughter, about which test, for example, didn’t go well. Naturally, being at work, I wasn’t always able to entertain those discussions at the point in time, but the good thing is, it opened the door for the discussion later,” she shared.
Her main aspirations for her girls at the end of the day is for them to grow up to be good, decent human beings.
“My dream is for them to be kind, respectful, and caring individuals. My personal goal is to raise them to become well rounded, well-adjusted, God-fearing women who contribute meaningfully to society and help make the world a better place,” she affirmed.