Al Suwaidi & Company Celebrates Mother’s Day with Vida Grace Serrano, Mother & Legal Associate
This Mother’s Day, Al Suwaidi & Company pays tribute to the working mother who dedicates her life to raising generations while managing to fulfill her mission as an active member of society through a career path she chooses and succeeds in with her legendary perseverance.
We interviewed Vida Grace Serrano to tell us more about the challenges she faces as a working mother from her position as Legal Associate at Al Suwaidi & Company.
Vida, tell us a bit about yourself. When did you first join Al Suwaidi & Company & how did your career path evolve?
I joined Al Suwaidi & Company back in 2011 as a Lawyer Assistant. Having newly arrived in Dubai as I joined my husband, this position gave me the opportunity to learn about UAE laws. I immediately became part of a team where I was providing support to lawyers across a range of corporate, civil and labor cases among others. In 2012, I left for New York City to pursue my Master of Laws degree (LLM) with a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. In 2015, I returned to Al Suwaidi & Company, this time as an Associate. As a core member of the team handling legal matters for corporate clients, I acquired greater responsibilities by becoming more client-facing with my work. I was entrusted by the Firm to deal with its blue-chip clients.
Now we would like to know more about you on a personal level. How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have 3 kids, 2 boys, and 1 girl. They are 8, 5 and 2 years old. My boys are studying at the Dubai British School, while my daughter has already started early years schooling. My kids were born in different places, namely Manila, New York City and Dubai. This reflects the global journey that the family has taken to date, where Dubai has been the place we have called home the longest as a family.
Being a mother is a full-time job. How difficult is it for you to balance between your career at the Firm and your role as a mother?
I have been fortunate to have found a home at Al Suwaidi & Company that has been very supportive of my dual role both as a mother and a lawyer. The Firm has given me the flexibility to accommodate family demands on time. I am fortunate to be able to attend parent-teacher conferences, meetings, and field childcare emergencies as needed. On a daily basis, the demands on my time at work and at home remain extensive and thus, it is necessary for me to operate efficiently ensuring things are done in due course whether at work or at home. Maintaining such a pace is not easy, but with supportive management and colleagues, everything is possible.
How does your work at the Firm influence how you raise your children?
As lawyers, it is important for us to uphold the highest degrees of integrity, trustworthiness, commitment, fairness and social mindedness. These same values are inculcated in my child-rearing approach, always reminding my children that they must uphold the highest standards to become honest, well-loved and respected in society.
Does your husband help you in raising the children? How does he react to your job as a lawyer?
My husband is also a busy man. Having done management consulting for most of his career, he is not around home much. However, whenever he is, he contributes greatly to raising our children, taking them to sports and extra-curricular activities and helping with their homework. My husband is very supportive of my work and my profession. He understands the demands of the job and encourages me to exceed my potential and reach new heights.
If we were to talk to your children on how they see their mother, what do you think they would say?
I think they would say that their mom is dedicated, loving and supportive. I am thankful to be in a Firm that allows me to attend to the needs of my children when necessary. This flexibility made it possible for me to be highly regarded and respected by my children.
What advice would you give the working ladies on motherhood and how to balance between career and family responsibilities?
I believe that there is no surefire, standard formula for working mothers as each situation varies from one family to another. What I can share from my experience is the importance of being in a work environment that encourages employees to achieve a work-life balance. As most working women can tell, that elusive balance can only be reached in an organization through the top-down support of its management.