At BDO, we know that our people bring their best selves to work when they’re also able to be their best selves at home.
BDO USA is proud to announce our 10th consecutive year being included in Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list, as well as inclusion in the Best Companies for Dads list. This milestone reflects our people-first culture and is a testament to the progress the firm has made in cultivating a work environment that actively supports flexibility, trust and empathy.
We are excited to recognize our 2020 Working Mother of the Year, assurance senior Makayla Bradford, and Working Dad of the Year, assurance director John LaFramboise. Learn more about their stories and advice on managing their work and lives by reading their profiles below.
When I look back on where I was five years ago – earning a Certificate in Advanced Accounting Proficiency from Santa Clara University as a single mother to a one-year-old – I was only beginning to learn that time is one of the most valuable assets we have.
Nearly four years into my career, I understand how the way I structure and balance my time impacts those around me. When I first started at BDO, I pushed myself to excel in every arena and began racking up significant hours each week — but it wasn’t sustainable. So I took a step back to reassess my priorities outside of work: raising my daughter Taniya and spending quality time with family, but also taking care of myself.
At the end of each week, it’s important for me to know I’ve made meaningful contributions at work, spent time with people I love and practiced self-care. I know now that unless I accomplish those things and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I cannot show up as my strongest self for those who need me, both at work and home.
I now work a more balanced workweek to achieve this and take each Sunday to carefully schedule the week ahead to ensure I have enough time to spend with Taniya and on myself, using Outlook calendar blocks to map out my days. And throughout the week, I do a daily self-assessment and reflect in my journal to document progress of work/personal tasks and how I’m feeling overall.
Now that I’ve been fully working from home due to COVID-19, I also have greater flexibility in my day to spend time with Taniya. Since she knows I have meetings throughout the day, we schedule our own “meetings” for playtime and eat meals together so she understands she’s the most important part of my day.
Since your time is your most valuable asset, self-advocacy is key. At the end of the day, you and the people in your life are what matter most – so it’s important to prioritize accordingly.
My wife and I have been married for 21 years and are proud parents to 10 children between 3 months and 20 years old. When I started at BDO almost 17 years ago, we had three children and I recognized early on the importance of prioritizing, being flexible and setting clear boundaries between work and home life.
Over the years, I learned that prioritizing the most important events of the week for both family and work is the best approach and then I fill everything else in around those events. I make sure to schedule time in my calendar for what’s important, whether that’s blocking time for audit workpaper reviews or family events and activities.
To further support my work+life fit, about five years ago, I decided to reduce my work hours so my weekly schedule was more consistent, even during busier times. This flexibility has helped ensure that I’m home emotionally and mentally — not just physically — once my workday is over. If I have a deadline approaching that requires extra attention, I will let my family know that I may be busier for a few days. Being flexible and communicating my schedule — whether to my family or team — is essential.
Taking my commitment to flexibility a step further, I also serve as one of the flex champions in my office to educate people on our firm’s resources and support others to help manage their work life.
Putting these measures in place has provided me the opportunity to not only spend time with my entire family hiking or camping, but also enjoy special one-on-one time with each of them throughout the year. It is not uncommon for me to work for a few hours in the morning and then head out to spend time with one of my children at an amusement park, kayaking or at a ballgame. It’s a wonderful arrangement for me and my family.
To celebrate and reflect on the last decade, we caught up with our past Working Mothers of the Year. Follow along through the years as they share their stories below.