In today’s fast-paced business world, the traditional concept of leadership is undergoing a transformation. With a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion, it’s crucial to redefine leadership qualities and success in a way that is accessible and empowering to working moms. We sat down with Katalin Majoros (Maja), Customer Success & Experience Director at Meister, a leading tech company in the productivity and collaboration space, to discuss the challenges women and particularly moms face and the systems that foster their professional growth and wellbeing.
understanding the challenges of motherhood in leadership
For working mothers, the intersection of career ambitions and family responsibilities presents unique challenges. The legacy of leadership often doesn't account for the dual demands placed on women, leading to a work culture that can be inadvertently exclusive. Maja points out the need for rethinking ways of working and career development practices that sometimes conflict with the demands of the new role at home.
“When a woman becomes a mother, a new primary role and a whole number of societal norms and judgments come with that.” - Katalin Majoros (Maja), Customer Success & Experience Director at Meister
innovative strategies for working moms in leadership
The path forward, as outlined by Maja, involves a multi-faceted approach to leadership that celebrates outcome- and results-driven performance and a productivity culture; Flexibility and inclusivity as cultural pillars are an important part as well.
Maja advocates for:
1. prioritising wellbeing and mental health beyond success
Acknowledging and addressing the mental load carried by working mothers is critical. Meister fortunately provides access to mental health support resources and cultivates an environment where leaders are encouraged to lead through empathy, appreciation for their teams and remove barriers from developing their careers.
Achieving a good work-family integration is fundamental not to feel demanded and guilty (we still feel so!) about striving for personal fulfilment AND being a (good enough) mom. - Katalin Majoros
Maja emphasizes the opportunity to move away from traditional benchmarks of success that is only measured by the number of hours and physical presence. A good balance of flexible hours combined with cultivating in-person team experiences both on a personal bonding and collaborative level sets the path for new ways of working. Meister offers the great benefit of flexibility and the ability to inspire and foster teams to cultivate collaboration. For instance, at Meister they celebrate not only wins but also the learning process that led to it as well as best practices.
“Today's societal norm about success is measured mainly in ranks, financial wealth and based on competition over collaboration. There is a huge opportunity to unlock the power of the collective values, purpose and leverage the diversity of the teams. This requires different leadership styles, skills and environments.” - Katalin Majoros, Customer Success & Experience Director at Meister
2. fostering growth and development
Professional development shouldn’t stall upon becoming a parent. At Meister opportunities for growth, such as skill-building workshops and leadership trainings are accessible for mothers, including those on maternity leave or working reduced hours. Beyond skill development, leadership positions are ideally accessible for parents without the demand of endless working hours and being away from home. “Ideally, as a mother, you can practise “new” skills gained through parenting at work: holistic strategic leadership, effectiveness and empathy, achieving results through developing and coaching human beings (may they be little ones or team members),” Maja mentions. “At Meister we offer optional 10% dedicated personal development time per week and an encouraged coaching and mentoring support system.”
3. promoting equal opportunities
To combat the "maternal wall" bias, organisations must ensure that mothers have equal opportunities for advancement. This includes equitable access to high-profile projects, transparency in promotion processes, and fair compensation.
By incorporating these strategies into the organisational fabric, companies not only support working mothers but also benefit from the diverse perspectives and experiences they bring to leadership roles. As Katalin puts it, “The future of leadership is inclusive and diverse, and it starts with empowering the caretakers who will actually raise the next generation."
4. leveraging technology for improved productivity and effectiveness
Advancements in technology have made flexible working arrangements more feasible than ever. Utilising these tools to allow mothers to work from home or adjust their hours to accommodate family needs can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Katalin calls for a shift in culture that prioritises smart, efficient work rather than long, exhaustive hours. Techniques such as time-blocking for focused work and setting clear boundaries can help working mothers manage their dual responsibilities without sacrificing performance.
Meister is a role-model in encouraging the implementation of new ways of working by investing both into people development and technology-powered productivity.
5. building efficient and family-friendly support systems
The integration of family-friendly practices into the workplace is a key factor for supporting working mothers. This could mean transforming physical spaces to include childcare facilities, implementing policies that allow for remote work or flexible scheduling, and recognizing the importance of parental leave for all parents.
Mentorship and coaching can be transformative, especially when paired with peer support groups and networks that provide non-judgmental support and a sense of belonging. Katalin shares her experience: “Finding your tribe – a group of supportive peers, mentors, and coaches – can make all the difference in navigating the complexities of leadership and motherhood. It is our responsibility to build a support system; as the quote goes: it takes a village for us to succeed. I've raised my son for the first 3 years mainly without any support living far away from grandparents. My support system has been my husband and later on an amazing babysitter. When I studied coaching as a hobby, I recognized the power and importance of mental career wellbeing and built up my professional and life support network. Today I am advocating for female development support circles especially among moms."
Redefining leadership is not just about altering policies but about transforming mindsets. It requires leaders to embody empathy and to actively support the well-being and development of their teams. By embracing these changes, organizations can unlock the full potential of working mothers, leading to a more dynamic, innovative, and inclusive business environment. As Katalin wisely counsels, it’s about daring to lead a life that integrates personal fulfillment with professional success—a balance that is not only achievable but essential for the future of leadership.
Katalin (Maja) Majoros, the Customer Success & Experience Director at Meister, brings a multifaceted perspective to leadership with her extensive background as a tech leader and a coach.
Her journey is marked by her dedication to making a positive footprint through servant and coaching leadership, people development and customer-led growth impact.
Her advocacy for inclusive and diverse workplaces; new ways of working positions her as a pivotal figure in redefining leadership strategies for the next generation.