Thrive: Tell us about a female leader or mentor who inspired you in your life/career.
Daniela Seabrook: I grew up as an immigrant (my parents fled the communist regime in Czechoslovakia) in Switzerland at a time when mothers typically didn’t work. My mother worked throughout my childhood and often experienced bias from the community — at times hearing ‘nothing good will come out of these girls because the mother is working.’ She managed to work and take care of family duties in a time when aftercare support was not available. The influence on me and my sister was the belief that combining family and work is possible and that you can create enduring family bonds with two working parents. My sister is an entrepreneur with incredible work stamina and passion for what she does, I admire her and what she has achieved tremendously. My mother and my sister have been an inspiration to me throughout my life.
Thrive: What’s your favorite leadership mantra or lesson and how do you practice it?
DS: You can only contribute at your best when you are at your best. This means knowing your boundaries, listening to your body and mind, and taking time to recharge. Don’t compare yourself to others. We are all different and have different levels of energy and capacity. If you know your limits and take a step back when you are approaching them, then you will be able to contribute at your best.
Thrive: What advice would you give your younger self?
DS: Make bolder choices and be less concerned about what others think!
Thrive: How can workplaces help break the bias and promote gender equality?
DS: Language in many respects shapes our world. By being mindful of the language we use in our workplaces, we contribute towards an inclusive environment. We use language like ‘war rooms’ and ‘fighting for results,’ to name a few. This is male-oriented language. When we use neutral language, we create a more inclusive environment for everyone to contribute.
Secondly, in our workplaces, we still see that many women do not feel comfortable speaking up when they see behavior that is not inclusive or even transgressive. As leaders, we need to foster a safe and inclusive culture where speaking up is encouraged. As women, we need to be bold and ask for what we need to do our best work, whether this is a hybrid working arrangement or lessened hours.
Thrive: What’s important in your life outside of work? What helps you thrive? With a demanding schedule, how do you make time for these important things?
DS: Spending time with those I care for is essential to my well-being, whether it’s with my husband and my teenage son, or other family members and friends. My evening walk with my dog and doing Pilates also brings balance to my busy days. I have learned to read my own signs when work or life gets too busy. I consciously take the time I need to recharge.