The Balancing Act: Featuring Nicole Trick Steinbach
Call Emmy: Nicole Trick Steinbach, Global Executive & Career Coach.
Nicole Trick Steinbach is a global career coach and change management consultant. She is a former global senior director and has worked in over 25 countries. Nicole innately understands and lives the skill of bravery & the joy of failure. She was born into a struggling single parent family and with a speech impediment; now she is financially secure and bi-lingual. Nicole helps others around the world build their own bravery so that they turn dreams into reality, like accepting executive roles, relocating internationally, doubling their income, and thriving in the career of their dreams.
Where did you begin your career?
I started in tech as a secretary within a computer science department to pay for college. As an extrovert and a non-techie, I was shocked to discover that I really enjoyed being around tech folks. The way that they tended to approach situations, questions, and problems was so different than my own, I found it so stimulating. I took a short detour into PR — a disaster! — and teaching adults in Germany — very confidence-building — before I made my way back into tech.
How did you grow into your current position?
I was a senior global director and found myself getting bored, metaphorical leaning back in meetings about my actual job, and leaning in strongly towards mentoring, coaching, and advocating for other women in technology. I was already certified as a coach and getting more interested in doing something nuts, like starting my own business.
When severance packages were offered, I clearly communicated to the places that matter that I wouldn’t say no. Then I took a summer off with my kiddos (my first ever) and hung out my shingle in late summer of 2019.
When is it most difficult to balance “being a mom” as well as your career?
The absolute most difficult thing for me is dealing with rigid systems designed around a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Families have so many different sizes and shapes. Careers look and feel differently than they once did. Technology and communication have also shifted in massive ways.
But the systems stayed the same: schools that end at 3 pm; health insurance based on full-time working hours; activities designed around one full-time parent, and more.
What do you do to manage your time?
I do less and focus more. For example, each kid participates in one activity at a time. Yes, we want them to be exposed to loads of different activities but we want them to be bored more. I am also very careful about what I commit to beyond my business and what gives me joy and pays the family bills.
I hire out what I can, especially cleaning, grocery shopping as necessary, StitchFix rather than the mall, simple meals rather than feasts, easy decorating.
My husband and I consistently navigate and discuss responsibilities and each aim to do 100%. Sometimes my 100% is more or less; sometimes his. But we do our best to make sure it adds up to at least 100% during each phase.
What challenges have you faced in regard to gender imbalances in society, workforce, etc?
I coach women in technology to be even more successful because of the gender imbalances that I faced. For example, in Germany I struggled with society expectations that I found were even more rigid about what “good moms” do.
Good moms don’t work full-time. Good moms don’t travel. Good moms cook everything, including lunch for their part-time school kiddos. Good moms iron.
IRON?!?! Who irons?
In the US I experienced less of that most likely because my husband was a stay at home parent. Instead, I was shocked to work with data that showed with great clarity the significant pay discrepancies between men and women in similar roles. Even more, the global succession planning was overwhelming either white, straight men (in NA, SA, EMEA) or Chinese & Indian, straight men (Asia Pacific).
How have you dealt with these challenges?
Therapy. A lot of therapy.
The world is perpetually telling us that we are too much of this, or too much of that, or too little of the same stuff. Self-love becomes revolutionary. That takes therapy & doing the hard, icky, messy inner work.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Girl, fail often, and fail fast. Say yes. Travel. Get away from those crappy bosses faster. Do that therapy. Laugh more. Forgive faster. Make more time for girlfriends.
Lastly, if you were given 10 extra hours a week to spend however you wish, what would you do?
I would hike, read, and — assuming no budget limits or pandemic — sit with a close heart-friend and explore heart topics like dreams, wishes, growth, relationships, and more.
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