Jessica Bilston-Gourley

Children: 1

Industry: Human Resources

How would you best describe yourself?

A positive, bubbly, friendly and passionate person that is always looking for ways to work with and support people and businesses. I’m a dedicated networker and love celebrating other people’s achievements.

How has becoming a parent changed your perception of work and career and what surprised you the most?

When I became a parent I was working with a very rigid corporate multinational. It made me realise the lack of flexibility available and lack of desire to work in partnership with working parents to find a happy and suitable medium. My eyes were truly opened to my workplace being in my opinion unaccepting to working parents. As you can imagine, being in HR this was disheartening and disappointing for me to see and feel.

What advice would you give your younger self about starting a family?

I am 28 and became a mum by a beautiful gift and surprise at 25. I would have told my younger self that it is okay to do things differently to others. It is okay to want to keep doing things that made me happy and to not lose myself.

What has been your biggest challenge in motherhood to date? How have you overcome this?

For all mums it is a challenge. My biggest challenge has been a single mum. Not having another person to be a soundboard for those moments when I question myself is still tough. I overthink a lot and I would find myself crying because I would always second guess something I was doing.

What are your strategies to manage the juggle of career and family?

Structure and routine. My son is a happier child when he has the same daily routine - that’s the type of kid he is. And I find it easier to manage clients expectations and workload. As example, my clients and employees all know I do not answer emails or calls on a Monday as this is a day fully dedicated to my son and helping him experience life. Other strategies is knowing when to ask for help. I’m a Taurus - we are stubborn people, and I’ve had to learn the skill of asking for help. I have a great support network with my mum and sister and can call them anytime I need a little me time for that day.

What do you do for self-care?

I love to head out for a walk at about 10:30am when my son is in a daycare day. A 9pm epsom salt bath just before bed really helps me unwind. And making sure I connect with the shementors events - these always lift me up and inspire me.