October 14, 2015 / All Stories

Real-life balancing act for AbbVie’s “Working Mother of the Year”

Is work-life balance really possible? See how this mom discovered her path to managing her career and home life at AbbVie.

Sandra Chambers, supply chain director at AbbVie in Lake County, Illinois. She is mom of Andrew, Joshua, Sara and Jeremy.

Five days a week, Sandra Chambers strives to effectively manage her work and home life. 

You see, Chambers — a successful career woman, wife and mother of four who's worked at AbbVie for 25 years — regularly wakes up before dawn to train as a competitive figure skater.

Her extraordinary morning regimen enables her to mentally and physically prepare for the day, while simultaneously achieving a personal fitness goal. Most importantly, it provides the foundation that allows her to, as she says, "achieve greater balance across my top priorities: my health, my family, my career and my community.”

"Believing that you're delivering your best at home and at work, while still finding personal time is very empowering," says Chambers. "I am fortunate to have an amazingly supportive family. My husband wakes me up each morning at 4:45 a.m. with coffee. I head to the rink at 5:30 a.m. so that I can meet my coach on the ice at 6 a.m. sharp. I bring with me everything I need to get ready for the office afterwards."

Working mother of the year

The commitment, passion and adaptability Chambers exemplifies every day at AbbVie have led her to being named AbbVie’s 2015 “Working Mother of the Year”.

Chambers credits AbbVie’s family-friendly policies to her ability to achieve balance in her life. For the third year in a row, AbbVie has been recognized by Working Mother magazine as a top company for leadership in establishing policies, programs and corporate culture that support working moms, including child care, flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, access to and usage of family-friendly programs and advancement of women.

“The AbbVie leaders with whom I’ve discussed this topic have been incredibly supportive,” Chambers explains. “The greatest thing I’ve come to realize is that the criteria for maximizing my work-life effectiveness will likely be very different than that of the next person. AbbVie can offer an array of tools including connective technology, access to health coaches, well-being programs and flexible work arrangements, but it’s up to the individual to employ them in achieving their own balance. I personally have linked in to my son’s taekwondo promotion via FaceTime while a passenger riding through Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. I have also taken advantage of flexible work arrangements when my day was consumed with conference calls across multiple time zones.”

As a Supply Chain Director who has led AbbVie’s systems integration on a global scale (including plants in Ireland, Italy, Germany and Singapore), Chambers has forged a remarkable career. Known by coworkers for her sense of humor, high energy and creative spirit, Chambers' management style has earned her the respect of leadership and her peers. She puts aside time to learn important details about her team members and colleagues, celebrate successes, and create opportunities for team building, while also spending considerable energy mentoring AbbVie interns and Development Program employees.

"The most rewarding part of my job is experiencing plans and ideas coming to life — and realizing success for my investment of time and effort," says Chambers. "Enjoying my role and the people I work with makes what I do so much more than a job."

Finding balance

By diligently prioritizing her work responsibilities, Chambers uses her evenings to focus on home life. She finds joy in cooking and playing board games, and coordinates her children's various and social activities. She also carves out time to volunteer at her local church to support homeless people through the PADS (Providing Advocacy, Dignity and Shelter) Program.

"My main message would be that balancing work and family requires ongoing effort and planning," says Chambers. "It's important to have clear communication with key individuals, particularly your family and your manager, regarding your plan so they can best support you."

It all adds up to a balancing act that's as impressive as a flawlessly executed triple Lutz jump. However, Chambers isn't resting on her laurels.

“Achieving balance for me is always a work in progress, but AbbVie’s culture and resources have enabled me to feel fulfilled and happy, knowing that I am contributing my best at work and at home,” Chamber says. “I’m happy, my family is happy and my company is happy …it’s a win-win-win situation.” 

Find out more about work-life and flexibility resources at AbbVie.

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Elizabeth Lloyd
Email: liz.lloyd@abbvie.com
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