How ambition and parenthood can go hand in hand


When I became pregnant in 2018, instead of putting my career progression on pause, I continued to thrive and deliver as one of the top sales performers in EMEA.

By: Shakira Talbot, Sales Director, Public Sector

The sales environment is my natural habitat. I’m driven by the challenge of turning around a difficult sell and I thrive on the sense of achievement that comes from converting a prospect into a happy customer.

When I became pregnant in 2018, instead of putting my career progression on pause, I continued to thrive and deliver as one of the top sales performers in EMEA. 

On the second month of my maternity leave, I was promoted to Sales Director — a rare move at the time that reflects not only my own performance but also the belief and support shown to me by the company.

Creating change
Very early on in my time at ServiceNow, I approached HR to have an open discussion about my long-term plans for motherhood and career progression at ServiceNow. I wanted a long-term, successful career in the company. 

The HR team was incredibly supportive about enabling that balance for not only myself but everyone in the workforce. It is great to know that ServiceNow offers paid time off to recover and/or bond, whether an employee is welcoming a new child through birth, adoption, surrogacy, or foster placement.

Sales is a team sport
Following my maternity leave, I officially came back into the business as Sales Director in 2019. I was primed for a new challenge and assigned to lead sales in specific public sector markets.

The EMEA region is complex and the public sector differs considerably across different countries, which brings challenges for a sales team. Yet, we have transformed our performance and delivered record results in the current financial year, becoming a top sales team in EMEA and into the top 10 globally.

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Moving into leadership has expanded my focus from my own performance to looking at the wider team structure, making sure each team member is supported and given space to play to their strengths. 

I now have a new appreciation for other people, how they work and what they need in order to excel. Within our team, in addition to the ServiceNow values of “Hungry and Humble,” I’ve also introduced “Pride and Belief” to really instill confidence in every individual as well as in each other, as we know how much we can achieve if we support each other. 

We work incredibly closely, recognizing that sales is a team sport and that each of us brings something different to the group that we can all lean on to achieve amazing results.

The leadership mindset
Becoming a parent has certainly changed me. I’m not saying I’m better at what I do because I’m a mum, but my experience of being a parent has changed my own working style. 

I have more empathy and tend to step back and think more deeply about what others need from me and their team in order to succeed. I mentor several people, both within ServiceNow and externally, and I love working with people to help them identify and grab hold of their potential.

Moving into leadership has definitely enhanced my sense of ambition. I now see so much potential in others and in the business and I am hungry to grow and do more. With an incredible team and the amazing support network that ServiceNow provides, I know there’s so much more I can do — and I can’t wait to continue my journey.


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