Shonette Rodriguez, a Production Manager in Swiftwater, PA, and Jorge Tinajero, a Warehouse Generalist in Reno, NV, know first-hand the challenges working parents face, especially in today’s climate. This year, they have been named as the Sanofi US 2020 Working Mother and Dad of the Year to celebrate the honor of Sanofi US receiving a spot on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies and 100 Best Companies for Dads lists. Shonette and Jorge will be featured in the magazine’s annual listing of the country’s top companies that rank highly in family benefits, including parental leave, family support and job flexibility. Read on for their stories.
I began working for Sanofi in 2009 in vaccine production. In 2012, I became a mother and welcomed my son Solomon. Solomon surprised me and was born early at 23 weeks. I was able to use my Sanofi leave (almost 6 months), then I returned to work on a reduced work schedule in order to attend to my son’s medical appointments and to be there for him. My coworkers and managers supported me during this time and continue to support me today.
I have learned that in order to be at my best, as both a mother and an employee, I need to take time for myself. Knowing how important overall well-being is, I spend time with my team to work on their career goals and support their lives outside of work, so they can bring their whole best selves to work.
My son is now 7 years old and I am currently working on my master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology to make myself a better manager and bring evidence-based knowledge to support my team and the workplace. My son and I have made a daily ritual of saying what we are grateful for before bed, focusing on the positive of the day and expressing gratitude for the current moment we are in.
My wife and I were first-time parents, excited for the birth of our daughter. Sofia Tinajero Hernandez surprised us by being born prematurely. Sofia experienced complications right after birth and was hospitalized for two months, which was a difficult time for my wife and me. Once she was released from the hospital, she needed to have surgery, which required many medical appointments.
When I came back to work after an eight-week paid childcare leave, I had an open conversation with my manager about the situation and requested flexible work arrangements to attend my daughter’s medical appointments as needed. Through the support from my manager and the company, and its family-friendly programs, I am grateful to be able to be there for my daughter when she needed me.
Through my experience with my daughter, I value being part of a team that is focused on improving lives and knows how critical their work is to helping patients.