Partner Content, Provided with the support of Juggle & Thrive
How do you thrive when you’re juggling work, kids and everything else life throws your way? This series supported by Guardian Early Learning Group takes a look at the daily lives of women tackling it all.
Suzy Nicoletti was five months pregnant with her second child when she was appointed Managing Director of Twitter Australia.
It was a big job, and also a massive point in her life personally. But combining the two at the same time was an opportunity for both Suzy and for Twitter, following the departure of Karen Stocks in October 2016.
“It was incredibly exciting, but also surprising,” she says on being appointed to the role just over a year ago. “It was great that a company would invest and get behind a woman in supporting her and believing in her at such a critical time for the business.”
As such, it’s been a huge 2017 for Suzy. Much of which has been spent raising two kids under two at home, while pushing to grow the revenue and other opportunities for the local arm of an international tech business – that has itself been the subject of much media attention (notably because of those using the platform).
Balance and communication at home with her partner have been key to making it work. “We’ve been taking our careers in turns, especially as we don’t have family here in Sydney,” she says. “If one person steps forward, then the other steps back. At that point [of being promoted] I was number two [on career] and I remained the main caregiver until my husband could step back.”
Planning is also essential, as is a joint Google calendar that includes standard meetings and appointments, and then ‘must do meetings’, as well as when they’ll spend time together as a couple and even when they’ll get exercise in. “Everything else, with two little kids, is fair game. You don’t know who is going to get sick when, and working in digital you also never know what fun surprises you might wake up to in your inbox.
“It’s a constant conversation we’re having, and it’s very much about balance. We do a lot of planning, and will sit down and discuss goals. We might go for a walk and think, ‘what do we want for our lives?’”
Suzy’s long had significant career goals, especially growing up the San Francisco bay area (later to be known as Silicon Valley). Her first mentor was her father, who worked in tech. Much of her family still lives in the area, and works in tech.
Still, graduating during a massive industry crash, her plans to work in the sector were quickly thwarted. She ended up in Los Angeles, working in a business renting cars in the entertainment industry. The role involved dealing with difficult requests from celebrities, and managing the rental fleets required for big budget movies.
It was a job that taught her how to get things done, no matter what.
“The lesson for me was to always make it happen, and to just figure out a way to get to a yes.”
And that experience would later prove particularly handy back in the tech sector. She took a role a Google, starting at the bottom at a time when they were still using Excel spreadsheets to track clients and when free lunches were a novelty. Suzy’s job was to call clients and explain Google AdWords. Great communication was key, as was putting the client first. She witnessed firsthand the evolution of Google, after spending more than eight years across a number of different offices, including Sydney.
“I kept identifying opportunities and putting my hand up to take them,” she says. “When Google opened a San Francisco office, I put my hand up to help with that. Then when they launched in Sydney, I put my hand up again. And when I could see an opportunity to create an education team in Australia, which did not yet exist but was already massive in the US, I put my hand up again.”
Suzy moved over to Twitter’s newly launched Australian office in 2014, initially to head up sales. She had her first baby while there, and became the first Asia Pacific employee to take maternity leave – that meant personally creating from scratch how she’d take the time off and then successfully return to work.
Those lessons also taught her to create the best possible environment for other women working at Twitter, especially to ensure they don’t lose people when they have children.
“We’re a performance-based culture. As long as the work is getting done, that’s really what matters.”
“We’re able to be really flexible. But we also know it’s important to check in and communicate with people, especially with women taking maternity leave.
“That’s something I’m really pushing. Especially having had two kids while moving up.”
Guardian Early Learning Group operates 96 high quality early learning centres across Australia. Guardian’s Reggio Emilia-inspired Curriculum places importance on the unique interests and developmental stages of each child and focusses on literacy, numeracy, creative and social skills to create lifelong learners. With custom-designed environments, nature inspired resources and passionate educators, we invite you to discover your closest Guardian centre today.
Read other stories in the juggle thrive series: