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I moved to Singapore and had a baby overseas

Erin Williams real story

Erin is an ambitious career woman and as a sports media and marketing expert, has worked with some of Australia’s biggest brands, clients and agencies. Her career has recently taken her to Singapore and she’s also become the proud mother of a gorgeous 10 month old boy Hamilton. We caught up with Erin to find out about making the move to Singapore, juggling motherhood and a career in another country and being a strong female role model for her son.

Can you tell us about your career journey?

After completing a Bachelor of Business / Marketing at University, I joined a small agency which was very hands on and I was exposed to, and responsible for a plethora of tasks. We worked extensively with News Corp, and via relationships I had developed I was offered a role in their media sales team. I progressed through various commercial and partnerships positions during my 7 years there, working with fantastic people and some of Australia’s biggest brands, clients and agencies– we had a lot of fun! I’ve always been a big sports fan, so this passion coupled with my skill set lead me to specialise in sports media and marketing. I was approached about an exciting opportunity at FOX Sports Asia, and made the move in January 2015.

You’ve recently moved to Singapore. Tell us a bit about your move and how you’ve found it.

I had always had the intention to live abroad, but the right timing or opportunity hadn’t eventuated. I had only been to Singapore once for a few days prior to relocating, but really enjoyed it so we decided to make the move.

It’s a wonderful country. Safe, clean, filled with kind people and geographically well placed as an excellent base for travel. The most challenging element for many expatriates is the hot and humid climate, but we love it! Live-in helpers are affordable and encouraged, enabling us to enjoy all our precious free time.

From a career perspective, FOX Sports is a brand that I’m very proud to work for and the international and emerging market experience, knowledge and insights I have gained has been incredibly valuable.

Did your career change after becoming a mother? Were you more or less ambitious?

I never actually had a clear, conscious career plan mapped out. My career has just evolved based on the opportunities presented to me and the choices I made.

Now that I’m a mother I’m certainly much more calm and relaxed, and everything pertaining to my work is put in a clearer context. Raising a son with a strong female role model is important to me, so I want to continue to advance my career for the benefit of my whole family.

What was the most challenging part of returning to work after your first child?

The maternity leave policies in Asia are very different to Australia. It is the norm to work until your due date or when you go into labour, whichever comes first. I was lucky that I had an excellent pregnancy and felt great, however decided it would be best for me to finish up work 2 weeks before my due date, which was supported by my obstetrician. In hindsight, I probably could’ve worked another week – I’m a high energy person and was so bored being heavily pregnant at home!

Maternity leave itself is set at 12 weeks total, with the expectation that you then return to full time work. I spent most of my pregnancy struggling to wrap my mind around this timeframe. After working closely with my wonderful, supportive manager and HR team we arrived at an arrangement that saw me return to work after 16 weeks, splitting my time between working from home and in the office for the first few months.

I was breastfeeding, so had to express at work during the day. The logistics was difficult at first as often I was scheduled in back-to-back meetings all day, so I ended up blocking out time in my diary to ensure that I had the necessary time I needed to avoid the sensation of an impending explosion!

The week leading in to my return to work was tough. I’d certainly underestimated the impact pregnancy, birth and the recovery has – I didn’t feel ready physically, or emotionally. But after just a few days, I found myself enjoying work again.

Just prior to the birth of our son, Hamilton, we were advised that my partner’s role was being relocated to mainland China. We felt that Singapore was more suitable home for our young family, and decided that Chris (my partner) would resign, spending at least 9 months at home with Hamilton, whilst dedicating more time to some side projects.

What have you learnt from this experience that you would pass onto other women in a similar situation?

Be kind to yourself. Happy mama = happy bubba! The only thing that matters is your child. They are only indicator you should concern yourself with.

Of course, I have had those incredible pangs of guilt or that I’m missing out on precious moments with my son. Or that people would think I’m a cold, heartless mother. But the former is natural now and then, and what other people think simply doesn’t matter at all. Hamilton is a happy, healthy baby. He hasn’t missed a beat!

What is the best career advice you have ever been given?

Trust your gut instincts… but your brain should back it up.

Learn to harness, and importantly channel my passion, enthusiasm and emotion.

Lastly, at the end of a busy week, how do you positively reenergise?

Get outside, be active and spend time with my family and friends.

SWALK

Favourite time of the day is… first thing in the morning, when Hamilton wakes before going to work.

Instagram sites that inspire you… @being_mum is fabulous for fun kid’s activities, with a touch of nostalgia, @torygiles.health a mum with a great fitness and alternative medicine background, @thegracetales for stylish mums, @thedesignfiles wonderful to discover talented, creative people

I’m happiest when… At the beach or by a pool

I’m addicted to… Pilates

Favourite wardrobe staple for work… Scanlan & Theodore crepe knit, anything & everything

Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend… Denim cut-off shorts

My role model is… I’m continually amazed and inspired by my friends, kicking goals in their various respective fields

Heels or flats? Heels

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