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ISC Events’ Mary Beth Shaughnessy and Trish Moubayed on Women Supporting Each Other in the Workplace

Trish Moubayed and Mary Beth Shaughnessy

SIA’s Women in Security Forum is an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, networking and professional growth events and thought leadership opportunities. The group – open to all SIA members – works to promote, recruit and cultivate the leadership of women for a more inclusive and diversified industry.

SIA spoke with two members of the Women in Security Forum – Mary Beth Shaughnessy, event director at ISC Security Events, and Trish Moubayed, sales director for ISC Events/Security Portfolio – about their experience in the security industry, working together and how women can support one another in the industry and the workplace.

Where did your paths first cross?

Trish Moubayed: We met 23 years ago at International Meeting Services (IMS). Mary Beth was working there two days a week, and the company was looking to hire another part-time employee.  A mutual friend suggested to me this was a great opportunity. Turns out we both had kids the same age, and I was looking to work three days a week, so we were able to not only job share, but also share a full-time sitter.

What has changed about your roles over time?

Mary Beth Shaughnessy: We both worked part-time during our 11-year tenure at IMS. The company moved to New York City (and we didn’t want to commute over an hour), so we both left, and Trish began working full time at Reed Exhibitions since the kids were now in high school. She suggested I look into working at Reed, as she knew we both worked well together, and I discovered it was a company that had a flexible work environment that would allow me to work part time, as I wasn’t ready to go back to full time yet. It wasn’t long after that that we were both working on the same team – ISC Events – together again! We both started our careers working part time in sales and have now moved up to show management, working full time and tasked with putting on the largest physical security event in North America.

Please share some stories about how you have been able to support one another professionally and personally in the workplace?

TM: When we were at IMS, we worked in sales and had our own territories, so we were able to cover for each other on days we weren’t in the office. We also were able to switch days of the week we worked (due to kids conflicts), which made for a very flexible working environment. Many times, if we worked the same day our sitter would watch all four kids, who all became great friends!

MBS: Now that our kids are grown and we’re both on the ISC team, we collaborate with each other, as I manage the overall show logistics and Trish works on overseeing the exhibitors/sales. We work together seamlessly, support each other’s opinions and can basically read each other’s minds!

What advice would you give other women colleagues relative to supporting one another in the workplace?

MBS: At first, we found it difficult to return to the workforce with young kids; however, job and child care sharing proved to be our savior and was fun. Not only did Trish and I become great friends, but our kids did too. This can be a great solution for women looking into part-time work who have young children.

We currently work with many young mothers and women looking to return to the workforce and find that we’re able to mentor them in finding solutions for work/family balance, re-entry into the workforce and dealing with additional challenges they are facing. We reinforce that there are many more options today for moms returning to the workforce – such as flex time, work from home, on-site day care or conveniently located to the office and HR incentives (like tax benefits that help pay for day care) – and that it can be done.

TM: We stress it’s important to remember it’s a two-way street, and while we hope companies will be flexible to meet our needs, we must also be flexible to meet theirs. For example, if you have flex hours and a meeting comes up that you are required to attend, you may need to change your work schedule that week. It needs to be a win-win for both the company and the employee.

We share our “story” and promote job and child care sharing and relying on friends for a job recommendation. This is how we were able to have our careers and still maintain a great work/life balance.

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