It’s been quite a year. Everyone has dealt with more than their fair share of challenges as a result of the world getting turned upside down by a pandemic. But for working parents, these challenges often multiply. From getting a child to wear a mask to navigating various school schedules (Virtual! Hybrid! In person!) to the unknown long-term impacts of social isolation and remote learning — the list goes on and on.
All while navigating one’s own job and career.
Vertex not only celebrates parents, but it also strives to create an environment where working parents can thrive in their own careers. That’s why a spot on both the Seramount (formerly Working Mother) 100 Best Companies and the Best Companies for Dads lists for 2021 is recognition that’s well deserved. According to Seramount, “this year’s winners are focusing on inclusive benefits for families, including gender-neutral leave, gradual phase-back after parental leave, and accessible, affordable childcare.”
By earning a spot on both of these lists, Vertex had the opportunity to honor a mom and dad as Working Mother of the Year and Working Dad of the Year, respectively. Connie Lin and Sunny Singh exemplify Vertex’s core values, demonstrating a deep commitment to work, family and community. They’ve also found ways to thrive as parents and colleagues during an especially challenging time.
Working Mother of the Year
Connie Lin, Vertex’s Working Mother of the Year honoree, is a Research Scientist based in San Diego who studied physiology and neuroscience. Going on 10 years as a Vertexian, she currently works on small molecule enhancers of AAV for future therapeutics, novel cell line engineering to support disease modeling and assay development, and automation solutions to advance Vertex's molecular and cell biology capabilities. She also serves as the San Diego chair for the VIBE (Vertex Includes Boundless Ethnicities) Employee Resource Network, one of Vertex’s four employee-led resource groups. Earlier this year she spoke on a Vertex-led panel, sharing her perspective on the rise of anti-Asian violence during an all-employee event.
While she worked remotely in the beginning of the pandemic, she returned to the labs last August — another transition that required her to be flexible and adapt for her job and her family. Learn more about how Connie leans into her faith in times of discouragement to help her reset and reprioritize.
We are not meant to do this alone. To help make daily life less overwhelming and more sustainable, I’ve learned the importance of being gracious with yourself and others, intentional with time, flexible in any situation, and humble enough to reach out for help.
Like many full-time working parents who are navigating caring for their children while delivering at work, there are weeks where I’ve crafted grand plans for perfect presentations, healthy home-cooked meals and picking my son up early enough to take him to the park after school. However, life happens — with any combination of meeting schedule changes, last-minute pick-up/drop-off swaps with my husband, later workdays, and family illnesses, these variables inevitably lead to sporadic last-minute dinner plans, later pick-ups, and late-night data analysis from home after putting my son to bed. I can feel the weight of my own expectations “to be enough” and “do everything” and feel like I’m failing. During times of discouragement, I hold fast to my faith in God and remember that my identity and sufficiency doesn't come from my own effort. In God, I find freedom to relinquish control, reset my expectations and boundaries, reprioritize what's truly important, reframe my mindset, and reach out for help. I lean on Him for the capacity and freedom to manage work-life balance more effectively by being more present in each moment I intentionally choose to prioritize, to humbly and graciously reach out to others for help, and to extend help to others. I find success in the joy God reveals through each mundane and extraordinary moment as a working parent in a community of others on the same journey.
Congratulations Connie! Want to hear more from other Mothers of the Year and the best advice they have for juggling it all? Learn more: https://www.workingmother.com/wmoty2021-work-life-balance-advice.
Working Dad of the Year
Sunny Singh, a Working Dad of the Year honoree, studied pharmacy and later went on to pursue his MBA in strategy and corporate finance. He’s been a Vertexian for seven years, serving in a variety of different roles. His current role as Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Operations, Office of the CEO, means that he has a lot going on — in the office, in the home office and at home.
Hear from Sunny on how he and his wife developed a creative solution to support their children and their careers, and the unexpected silver lining of growing closer as a family. At the time, he was a leader on the Cystic Fibrosis Patient Services team at Vertex.
When the pandemic hit, and we were suddenly stuck at home without childcare for our 3‑year‑old and 8‑month‑old daughters, my wife Manleen and I were suddenly scrambling to tag team home daycare with two demanding jobs. As a business attorney at a local law firm, Manleen’s work was project-based, with occasional meetings, and of course, the pressure of meeting her billable hours. Conversely, my job, managing a team of six and serving on the leadership team for a patient services team of 120, largely revolved around meetings. Both of us are passionate about our kids and careers, so we sought a creative solution to ensure we could both continue to be productive under the circumstances. We shared a weekly calendar, which varied week to week, where I marked off the approximately three to five hours each day (in hourly blocks) where I wasn’t in meetings. That’s when I was on Daddy duty so Mommy could get her work done. Not surprisingly, we both ended up working a few more hours each evening, once the kids were asleep.
Somehow, we managed to preserve our professional passion, our passion for our amazingly resilient daughters, and grew even closer to each other because of the understanding and care we showed one another. We look back on it fondly because we got invaluable time with our kids and miraculously managed to continue delivering for our respective work teams. It also set two important examples: 1) for my team, that it was okay to prioritize family and get work done around your own schedule; 2) for our daughters, that they saw both parents working and both parents bonding with them.
Congratulations Sunny! Read more about some of the other amazing Working Dads of the Year: https://www.workingmother.com/wdoty2021-giving-back.