Alecia Emerson Thomas Interview
Born and raised in the sleepy Cotswolds life was never quite enough for me and I always yearned for excitement and adventure. I’m from a single parent family and didn’t have it particularly easy as a child. Mum was always working so my sister and I had adult responsibilities from a very young age. As tough as this was, it definitely gave me the grounding as an adult to have courage in the face of adversity.
I joined the army but there is a huge part of me that is a free spirit so at the very last minute I changed my mind and packed my bags to go travelling instead. Whilst in Tenerife I met and became engaged to my first husband and we fell pregnant with my eldest son Ethan. We returned to the UK when I was five months pregnant and during my maternity leave from my job as a PA and account manager for a recruitment consultancy, I submitted my application to join the police.
My first marriage came to an end although we remain incredibly good friends now. I started the police training when my son was three years old. As a single parent I also worked in a bar in order to make ends meet, which was incredibly difficult as I was responsible for my child my full-time job and studying in any spare time I had.
I served for 10 years as a police constable with Avon and Somerset Constabulary but sadly my career came to an end early 2018 when it was made impossible to return from maternity leave. As the saying goes ‘as one door closes another one opens’ and a few minutes after finding myself adrift I landed a job in television and began filming the new sky one hit show ‘The Heist’.
My husband is in the Royal Marines and after a full mental breakdown in 2016 has subsequently been diagnosed with complex PTSD. Medically downgraded for therapy but still serving and due for medical discharge, we started a videography and drone business early in 2018. My main role is as Business Director whilst he is Creative Director www.eliteairimagery.co.uk .
Follow Alecia on Twitter @AleciaLouise1
What were or are the biggest challenges you faced going back in to the work place after having your children?
Organisation and diary management of childcare has been one of the biggest stress factors I have faced as a working mum. I have returned to work in various capacities three times now and each time, childcare is the hardest thing. Additionally, negotiating my reduced hours whilst returning to the Police became so impossible that my mental health began to suffer and I was forced to quit.
How do you achieve your work life balance of career woman and mother?
I am very particular about planning things in advance and running a diary. If I can plan things out I reduce the stress for all of us and everyone knows what to expect. I can then make sure I get quality time with the kids, both together and with each of them individually.
If you could give your past self-one piece of advice about being a working mother what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to be assertive and if anyone confuses it with aggression, politely but firmly correct them. Stick up for yourself. You’re just as worthy as any other person in the workplace who doesn’t have caring responsibilities.
What are your future goals in your career path in the next few years, what do you hope to achieve?
I have very few formal qualifications. I am an incredibly capable individual and my skills cover such a wide range but on paper I am worth very little. It’s still difficult to get interviews or to be taken seriously without formal qualifications so I begin my studies in Security Risk Management in January ’19. I would also love to film a second series of ‘The Heist’.
If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for working parents, what would you change?
People’s attitudes! There’s lots of research to prove that, at work, part-time working parents actually have the same output as a full-time member of staff in the same role. Sadly a lot of employers & some colleagues, fail to see this and treat you differently because you are not physically there as many hours as the rest of the team.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given? Just start.
It doesn’t matter where you start you just have to make a start. That may seem really simple but it really is that basic.
What is the best piece of advice about being a parent you have given?
Pick your battles. Sometimes the argument just isn’t worth the stress. Parenting is like a constant game of trying to reduce your stress levels!
If you could recommend one book to our readers leisure or business what would it be?
‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k’ by Sarah Knight. A friend sent it to me and it really did help change my life!
Laura Hinton on PWC’s Executive board – What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview? Who inspires you, and why?
Women who work in male dominated environments and are being treated with respect and equality by their peers because they deserve to be there. Lady Karen Brady, Meg Hine, Michelle Obama. On a personal level, my sister in law Hannah for her career goals and achievements, my sister for her daily battles and unwavering support and my best friend for her heart of pure gold.
What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview?
Three life hacks that make being a working mum easier?