Sherrie Clark assumed she would have to give up her career to care for her son. Shutterstock

Business

What I Learned: Sherrie Clark

The chief technology officer at ABB Integrated DC Power on the lessons she took from her newborn's stint in the NICU.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned didn’t come from an early job, like a paper route or working on the family farm. It came after the birth of my second son, Jared. I learned to have the courage to ask for what you need, even if you don’t know the solution. Too often, we try to figure everything out by ourselves. Instead, when you share your needs with others, they may be able to help find solutions you didn’t know were possible. My son has special needs and spent 63 days in a neonatal intensive care unit after he was born. I assumed I would need to quit my job to provide care for him, once my maternity leave was over. I didn’t see any other option. I was fortunate that the leaders of my business unit, without me asking, presented me with a flexible work arrangement that would allow me to care for Jared and keep working. Because I didn’t know such an arrangement was possible, I never would have asked. Over the years since then, I have always tried to anticipate when members of my team would need extra support or flexibility, as a way to repay the generosity I received. I’ve learned that too often, people do not speak up and ask for what they really need.

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