November 2018 | Working Mom of Milwaukee Spotlight | Ari Ericson
Each month we celebrate an amazing working mom in our community. Check out this month’s WMM Spotlight!
What is your name, employer and profession?
Ari Ericson / Chr. Hansen / Sr. Process Engineer (Chemical Engineer)
Isak (4), Olin (1)
What neighborhood do you call home?
Explain/describe one of your proudest mom moments recently.
Isak brought home a bar graph from school where he plotted the number of skittles by color (pictured below).
What do you like best about your job?
I get to help everyone solve their toughest problems, to develop efficient and effective systems. My role is focused on making improvements, so it if fulfilling to see the results of our hard work. Plus, the days always go by quickly!
What (in your opinion) has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as a female in a male-dominated field?
This is a tricky question, what comes to mind, is there are always some behavioral or cultural expectations for women. It is challenging to navigate these expectations and help others avoid pitfalls. I believe in Sheryl Sandford’s “Lean In” approach, of paving the way for future women in these fields. To make it easier for the next person, and reinforce that “women-engineers” can be excellent.
What’s the hardest part of being a working mom?
Balancing priorities (being truly present for work and family) / trying to avoid being mentally and physically exhausted / keeping a positive, long-term outlook through momentary challenges.
Any words of advice for other working moms, especially those that are newer working moms?
Try to manage your expectations for certain things. Not that I’m advocating low standards, but sometimes something has to give and that maybe your expectation for how something is supposed to go. Focus on what is “really” important and try to let everything else go. Remember that many others rely on your health and stability, prioritize self-preservation. Find mom friends, especially working mom friends who share your struggle.
Favorite MKE restaurant/store/hangout?
I love the Hoyt Park beer garden!
What makes your family unique?
Paul and I lived in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years before having Isak, and moving home to Wisconsin. We love to travel, hike, ski and go to museums. Paul is from a huge family in the area with more than 20 first cousins, and 10 second cousins. The get togethers are very fun. A new baby or wedding occurs every year.
What (in your opinion) is Milwaukee’s biggest opportunity to improve the lives of working moms and better support them?
Networks like, Working Moms of Milwaukee, are excellent to help learn from other’s trial and triumphs. I keep wondering, why are there so many obstacles with basic items like dropping off and picking up my kids from school/daycare. Creating a space where we can network and learn from other is huge. Milwaukee’s decent business base, with a “small-city” feel, encourages supportive communities, while still providing options to find the right corporate culture.
Are you celebrating Thanksgiving? If so, how will you and your family/friends celebrate?
Funny, you ask. I am actually traveling to London for a conference and global summit of process engineer’s from the other manufacturing sites. They did give me the option to not attend, but it is a short trip and my husband will have support during the week.