Polycom Employee

I see on television and in papers that Mother’s Day activities for many families includes breakfast-in-bed for Mom. Not in the Woon house, though. We change it up every year. I called her earlier this week to see what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day and during the conversation, I offered to cook dinner for her and my dad. Her answer:


“Let’s make it easy and get pizza.”


True story. Well, I don’t blame her. I'm not a 5-star chef. In my defense, though, I make a mean grilled cheese.


I’m very lucky that I can be with my mom on Mother’s Day. Our homes are only a few miles away. She works in Oakland, and on the days that I socialcommute, I work in Oakland too. Flexible working is a way of life for most, if not all, Polycom employees, and a big draw for working mothers. In fact, we’ve won awards for it. A couple of Polycom moms (and dads!) have recounted their flexiwork stories in previous blog posts. For example, read:  Why Video is Vital to Me as a Working Mum by Weileng and Telecommuting Tales from a First-Time Mom by Laura.


With Mother's Day just around the corner, we’d like to share some perspectives from Polycom moms with you, and wish all of the mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!



In your role as a Polycom mom, how do you use video to achieve work/life balance?




Being able to work from home and still stay connected with my entire team has allowed me to enjoy every single day of the first 5 months of my baby boy. Video keeps me linked to my job and takes worries away; I know that my baby is in the next room and it takes just 2 seconds to be with him. – Adriana Gonzalez Novoa, mom to Alex (5 months), Marketing Representative, Polycom




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“Life is a casserole.” You can’t separate being a female executive and a mom. Our video technology allows me the flexibility to be everywhere and not sacrifice one side of my life for the other.  Just last week, I worked from home so I could be there for my daughter’s last day of her driving course.  I was able to sign for her license and not miss this important milestone yet participated in all of my meetings using video. I have a second home near the beach and on Fridays in the summer, I can participate in team meetings and partner discussions over video while my family enjoys the beach.  Conversely, when I am on the road, I use my mobile app and connect with colleagues whether I am in a hotel or on airport Wi-Fi. Our technology allows me to instantly IM, or connect with anyone face-to-face, collaborate on a document, and present content as if I were sitting in our Herndon office. Traveling no longer means you are not available.  I keep in touch with my family including my daughter away at college using video products, instant messaging, and social media. I know what is going on in their life no matter where I am! – Barb Huelskamp, mom to Allison (20) and Leah (17), Vice President, Americas Channel Sales, Polycom





As a working mom, I am always trying to juggle time between my career and my family.  Video has allowed me to defy distance and given me the freedom to work from home during the times when my kids needed me most.  A great example is the few weeks in May (yes now!) and in November when the kids have exams.  I am able to work from home during this period and be there to help them with their revisions and homework when they return home from school.  The time I saved (about 2 hours a day) not commuting to and from the office also mean that I can pack more work in a day, or get the work done earlier.  Video has given me the freedom to work anywhere and anytime while being “present” and this freedom has helped me juggle my work and family time more efficiently. – Christina Tan, mom to Kayley (11) and twins Kendra and Kenzie (8), Head of Partner Marketing, APJ, Polycom




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Being a Polycom mom allows me the flexibility to work from my home office using video and still be able to share in a lot of the precious moments in my son's first year of life. Warren also met his Polycom aunties over video! I'm so grateful for the technology! – Christine Nguyen Vaeth, mom to Warren (4 months), Sr. Services Marketing Manager, Product Marketing, Polycom




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One of the factors that drew me to Polycom was the flexibility to work remotely while still feeling 100% connected with the use of RealPresence and other Polycom solutions. Instead of thinking of work as a job that needs to get done between 9 to 5, I just view it as a job that needs to get done…period. With the use of video, I am able to do that effectively and efficiently whenever and wherever so I can be there for the ‘life’ part of the ‘work/life’ balance, which includes making family dinners, afterschool activities such as sports and dance, field trips, parents meetings, and just those unexpected ‘mom’ moments - like my teenage daughter’s outfit emergencies! – Colleen Martin-Garcia, mom to Antonio (15) and Alysia (15), Vice President and Corporate Controller, General Accounting, Polycom





My 34 year old daughter, Kristen, was diagnosed in January 2008 with brain cancer. Our technology, here at Polycom, enabled me to be there for my daughter, Kristen, throughout her 27-month battle with brain cancer. I was able to work three days a week from home, as the disease progressed, so that I could share the caregiving role with my husband. I had some quality time with Kristen that I would not have had, if not for our video capabilities that are afforded to us as Polycom employees. It helped immensely with the anxiety I had, as a Mom, of my not being there when she needed me most. - Denise Fuller, mom to Kristen (34), IT Process Operations Manager, Polycom





Video gives you flexibility, as well as peace of mind. My daughter has been through repeated back surgery over the last two years, and being able to connect from hospital and home meant that I could be there for my daughter yet also meet my work commitments. I don’t think anyone noticed that I was juggling my time and location, because I was on the calls and responding! - Helen Grimmett, mom to Jennifer (16), Director, Global Channel Strategy and Programs, Polycom





For me, video has enabled me to work from home and stay connected to my team and my job as if I worked out of a corporate office, while also allowing me to be there for my son whenever he needs me. I don't think I could be half the mom (or half the employee!) I am able to be now without the flexibility video has allowed me. – Jamie Passantino, mom to Ryan (2.5), Senior Manager, Internal Communications, Polycom




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My family lives in Los Angeles. Rather than having a long commute, the time is re-allocated to family and increased productivity for Polycom.  As a Polycom ‘mom,’ I enjoy benefits of working for a great company that lets me pursue my professional path, balanced with the ability to provide optimal parenting to my two young boys.  – Karen Buchhagen, mom to Luke (11) and Mark (7), Sr. Manager, Video Content Solutions Management, Polycom





I have 3 boys who each attend a different school, each with their own activities including martial arts, football, track, choir and more.  The flexibility provided to me by using video collaboration means that I can be on a call with EMEA at 7am, help my 9 year old get ready for school, be on another call at 8am, help my 14 year old get ready and out the door – meanwhile continually prompting my 17 year old to get out of bed!  When I have a football game or track meet or choir concert to attend, they are usually at 6:30 or 7pm, so working from home with video collaboration means that I can put in a complete day and still get to their events to support them (and take lots of pictures) on time.  In addition, as an avid runner, I can add a 1-2 hour work out every day to my schedule without having to be concerned about traffic, drive time, parking, etc.  I’m able to have dinner available for my family, help with homework, tuck them all in – and then, occasionally have a late meeting with APAC.  – Laura Shay, mom to Billy (9), Daniel (14) and  Michael (17), Sr. Director in Solutions Marketing, Polycom.





When I started [at Polycom] 6 years ago, I did not have children. Now I have 3 girls. I was worried that having children would cause the need for my career to be placed on hold – that’s not the case!!  The amazing products that we produce are critical tools I use to have a successful career while still being a great mom.  I work around the clock with folks from many different time zones from Austin to Beijing, I depend upon video for my communication.  It’s fantastic to be able to see our Beijing peers in real time (after the kids go to bed!). So much of communication is non-verbal and essential to productive meetings. I can’t stress enough how much I really treasure our tools for effective communication, and my kids treasure their mom working a bit more remotely so that we can go to the pool after school! – Mara Still, mom to Izzy (5), Lizzy (5), and Maddy (3), Sr. Finance Manager, Polycom





Throughout my professional career, there have been many days when work had resulted in lost productivity due to extensive travel and non-urgent office meetings. Now that I am at Polycom, I use video to attend training, catch up with internal team members, host meetings with partners, and I can do it all over video - even while attending my son's lacrosse games. – Marcy Kawadler, mom to Asher (5), Channel Business Manager, Polycom




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Polycom video means freedom for me.  Freedom to work hard and play hard;  to be a mother who can show up for work and show up for my family.  Rare is the wasted hour in commuting and the draining hassle of days of travel – I save my energy (eco included!) for my family’s most important events and I never have to miss a meeting—work or otherwise. – Marisa Shumway, mom to Eden (6), Senior Product Marketing Manager, Polycom





Video collaboration liberates me from the office, allowing me to work from home and be present for my young children. It allows me to have it all.. a great career and a family. – Mei Lin Low, mom to Lauren (2) and Julian (6 months), Director, Business Functions, Worldwide, Polycom




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Without video conferencing in my career, I don’t know where I would be. In the past 9 years I have been able to purchase a home, move, take maternity leave, raise 2 sons, and deal with a few serious family health crises – all without jeopardizing my professional responsibilities. Using video allows me to balance the needs of my family with my need to work and have a career.  I can work seamlessly and effectively from home (or anywhere), as needed, while demonstrating to my managers, colleagues and team that I am completely ‘present.’ This means I can drop off and collect my children at school and never miss a meeting. I can work cross regionally and not have to travel away from my family. - Melissa Bannan, mom to Harley (6) and Jett (16 months), Sales Operations Specialist, Polycom





Video is the key to allowing work/life balance! I can meet with clients around the world from the comfort of my own office and still be able to answer the 11 month old who finally learned how to yell “Mom!” - Monique Rezaei, mom to Sebastien (11 months), National Channel Manager, Polycom




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It’s a constant challenge to find balance, but luckily I have an understanding family.  Having the flexibility to meet face to face for work (over video) from my home office gives me the opportunity to be around when my kids need me, and still keep a close connection with my team and colleagues.  We also use video all the time with our family members to stay connected, whether I am in the office, on a business trip or just asking my Mom for our family meatball recipe! – Niki Hall, mom to Sophia (6 ½) and Hudson (3 ½), Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Analyst Relations, Polycom





Being able to work from home means that sick and snow days don’t slow me down! And while traveling for work, I have met my girls on a Polycom bridge for story time. It's almost like being there. :)  – Sara Adams, mom to Margaret (4) and Sydney (6), Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Polycom




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I am based in Milan (Italy) and work remotely currently covering  7 countries in EMEA: I am used to spending my day on video jumping from Capetown to Istanbul, from Madrid to London and working from anywhere. My colleagues and partners know it very well and do the same. Seeing kids wave their hands in business video calls to say ‘hello’ is quite usual and well perceived along the regions. I do appreciate the respect and ‘netiquette’ that is part of the daily job and video collaboration. This kind of smart and flexible working is in Polycom's DNA and allows me to work effectively to achieve goals, conciliate work and family, reduce travels, and spend more time with my family. I would like to share and extend this practice to as many women as possible because it does make a big difference in combining work and family successfully. Working full time and spending part of the afternoon walking in the park with kids does happen in real life because of this technology. – Sara Puppis, mom of Viola (1) and Michele (9), Regional Marketing Manager, Polycom.





I am a full-time teleworker, I video to my colleagues all around the world, and most have met my babies over video and they get to see them grow. Video makes me super productive because I remain connected to my colleagues and the business while at the same time having quiet time to get through the projects. I find I have more hours in the day to work and get the household chores done while staggering the hours to spend my evening with my kids since I don’t have to commute - and leaving my weekends free to be with my family. – Sharonika Camplin, mom to Thomas (22 months) and Layla (4.5 months), Director of Regional Campaign Management, Polycom




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I am fortunate to be able to work from home where video has become a natural and integral way for me to communicate.  When I was around the age my kids are now, I moved to the United States.  I would go to my mom’s job and do my homework while I waited for her to finish work.  It was nice to have her close by to ask questions if I got stuck.  My children are experiencing similar life lessons that I did in that they get to see and value strong work ethics and can reach out to me in between meetings for help with homework. A few minutes with my kids when they come home goes a long way. I was at the hospital and still able to participate in video calls using RealPresence Mobile.  With video I don’t have to miss an event and disappoint my children. – Tricia Allen, mom to Kyree (9), Troy (9) and Olivia (7), Sales Project/Program Manager, Polycom





I use video daily in field marketing to manage my work with partners as opposed to travelling frequently in order to cover a disparate region like mine. Many people in my position would find it hard to juggle. Best part is I can do this from home and be there for my toddler to run up to when he comes home from school! I also use video to connect with other Polycom mummies and have our kids "talk" to each other. – Weileng Tan, mom to Josh (2), Head of Marketing, South East Asia, Polycom





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