This is the story of Karen Lelah, a Policy and Services Manager. As a part-time working mom, Karen explains how Shell’s flexible working arrangement allow her to maintain a rewarding career and enjoy quality time with her family.
I’m Karen, Policy and Services Manager based in Australia. In the 10 years that I have been with Shell, I have been fortunate that the growth and the change in our business during this time has provided me with countless stretch opportunities in varied HR roles. I sit on the Australia HR Leadership Team, and I have a wonderful team of 15 in my P&S Team. We relish the opportunity to work closely with our HR teams locally but also in Kuala Lumpur and further afield globally.
What I love about Shell, is without question the people. A gift of working for Shell is not just the diversity this global company brings, but notably that diversity is truly valued.
Change is a constant in our world, business landscape and even my own HR team. Shell has equipped me with crucial skills to manage change, which makes living in this dynamic world rewarding. I have also been through a significant amount of personal change recently having my first child in 2016, a girl named Eve! I have since navigated through maternity leave, returning to a new position with greater responsibility, and I also commenced working part-time for the first time.
This is my family - Eve and my husband Simeon. Our 3.5 year old Miniature Schnauzer called Pedro, at a local beach where we all love to spend our summer!
It was incredibly helpful staying well connected during my maternity leave, particularly as during this time we were going through a large organisational change through the company integration with BG.
This is Eve enjoying her first HR Community Meeting at 6 months old being coached by my HR Leadership Team colleague, Evan!
Time flies and every stage with Eve is so magical and precious, whilst my career is incredibly important to me as well. I am fortunate to be supported to manage my time so that I can truly embrace both worlds.
I work four days a week, with one of these from home. Part-time comes with its challenges, however this work from home arrangement provides me with the space to focus on key policy work items, without interruption during what is invariably otherwise a hectic week of meetings. Also, instead of sitting in traffic, this day also affords me the time to walk Eve up to day care.
We cherish this extra time together mid-week, chatting along the way and we sometimes stop for a baby-cino! Pedro also enjoys the extra walk too!
Success in any flexible work arrangement comes through open discussion and building trust, my line manager is very supportive and we have an inherent understanding on flexibility. This flows on to my team too, in which we have a very high rate of flexible workers in all different forms. It’s important that flexible working is not just viewed as a benefit that parents can access, there are so many other reasons team members wish to work flexibly.
Some, but not all of my wonderful team, a diverse group of Policy, Analyst, Services and Payroll folk.
Here I was lucky enough to travel to Karratha Gas Plant to visit the LNG tanker Northwest Seaeagle in 2015 to learn about their phenomenal safety record which can be largely attributed to their diversity, culture and care for people.
This is the Australia HR Leadership Team, which provides a platform to collaborate with my peers as we work to deliver the people priorities for Australia. They are also a highly experienced group who provide excellent support and at times a good laugh! This is a snap from a recent team building activity together, riding tandem bikes around the river in Perth, Western Australia.
Juggling life’s competing priorities is an unavoidable challenge for most. Working for Shell, I have confidence that I can sustain a rewarding career and continue to deliver, but also be there for Eve’s big milestones too.
This is Eve’s first dress up at daycare!
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the individuals featured and are not representative of the views of the Shell group of companies and their affiliates.
More in Live your Career
Nissa was born visually impaired but that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dreams. Be inspired by how Nissa thrives in a supportive and caring work environment that looks beyond her disability.