Hon­ing lead­er­ship skills with help from her com­mu­nity

Working Mother - - Inclusion Index -

Clau­dia Bowmil knew she wanted a job where she could help oth­ers.

The child of im­mi­grants from Mex­ico and Colom­bia, she grew up in a close fam­ily that em­pha­sized ed­u­ca­tion. Her mom was a chemist, who has worked for Ab­bVie for 15 years.

When Clau­dia, armed with an engi­neer­ing de­gree from North­west­ern Univer­sity, went look­ing for a job, she was de­ter­mined to find an em­ployer whose work had value and impact. “The heart of my de­ci­sion to join Ab­bVie was its com­mit­ment to de­liv­er­ing life-chang­ing ther­a­pies to pa­tients. This con­tin­ues to mo­ti­vate me to wake up in the morn­ing, ready to con­trib­ute to Ab­bVie’s suc­cess,” she says.

But when she was hired in 2008, the ad­mit­ted in­tro­vert felt “un­sure of where I fit as a seem­ingly small cog in a big ma­chine.” Clau­dia found her com­mu­nity so she could “gain trust and be able to ask for in­sights from oth­ers with sim­i­lar back­grounds” by join­ing AHORA, the His­panic em­ployee-re­source group (ERG).

“I have been in the po­si­tion of hav­ing to nav­i­gate the cor­po­rate cul­ture as a Latina and be­ing un­sure how to ap­proach it. My in­volve­ment [with AHORA] has al­lowed me to pay it for­ward by sup­port­ing the cur­rent and next gen­er­a­tion,” she says of her decade-long ex­pe­ri­ence with the ERG.

Be­cause she works in a tech­ni­cal job, AHORA has helped her de­velop more of her softer lead­er­ship skills, such as mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. By serv­ing as co-chair of the group’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Aware­ness Com­mit­tee, she’s honed her mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions skills. For ex­am­ple, in her

role as AHORA com­mu­ni­ca­tions chair, Clau­dia needs to compose and dis­sem­i­nate care­fully crafted mes­sag­ing to mem­bers through the ERG web­site and mem­ber­ship dis­tri­bu­tion list.

As the mother of young twins, Clau­dia is quite busy, and of­ten has to work on her AHORA re­spon­si­bil­i­ties af­ter her daugh­ters go to sleep. “Work­ing off-hours is not an op­tion or de­sire for every­one, but for me, it’s as much of a bal­anc­ing act as I can man­age with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the most im­por­tant as­pects of my life.” But the ERG work dove­tails with her need to have an impact.

“My in­volve­ment is im­por­tant to me ... I see the pas­sion in its lead­ers as in­di­vid­u­als work­ing to­gether to­ward that com­mon goal for the bet­ter­ment of our com­mu­nity.”

Clau­dia Bowmil

Cory Hooks and his wife teach in­clu­sion to daugh­ters Jor­dan (left) and Ash­ley (right).

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