Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Amy Burke, Senior Associate General Counsel at Dunkin' Brands. Amy gives us the scoop on her experience as a working mom during her nine years on Dunkin’ Brands’ legal team.
As the mom of a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter, I was always on-the-go from one spot to the next before the COVID-19 pandemic. Days were packed with soccer practices, school concerts, and parent-teacher conferences. On weeknights, my husband and I would try to squeeze in family dinners while helping with sixth grade projects and fourth grade math. Now, due to the pandemic, I’ve had to adjust to being a Workin’-From-Home-Mom. There’s definitely been more time for family dinners - lunches and breakfasts, too - but there’s also an even greater need to find balance between work and life responsibilities with both now under the same roof.
In between all of the bustle, I’m a Senior Associate General Counsel at Dunkin' Brands. I love being a mom and a lawyer, but it was very important for me to find balance for both in my life … even before the pandemic. At my previous job at a medium-sized law firm, I was fortunate to take two maternity leaves and work a reduced schedule while I transitioned back to work with both kids. However, at the time, I didn’t have fellow colleagues taking maternity leaves, and part-time or flexible work arrangements were uncommon for law firms back then.
With a newborn and a toddler at the time, I learned that Dunkin’ Brands was looking for an employment attorney. I also heard that Dunkin’ Brands was a great place to work, so this was an opportunity I wanted to consider—even though it was a little daunting with two kids, and I was conflicted about leaving a firm that I loved working for.
Before sending in my resume, I first reached out to a mutual connection of someone who worked at Dunkin’ Brands to get a pulse on what it was like to work for the company. I wanted to make sure that any career move would not just benefit me professionally, but also be the right fit for me and my family. I heard nothing but great things about the company, so I moved forward with applying.
Even during the interview process, I found Dunkin’ Brands to care about who I was as a whole person, professionally and personally. When I met with members of the legal team, I instantly felt a connection. Our team is a small and tight-knit group, currently made up of 10 attorneys, eight paralegals, and two admins supporting all aspects of our business, from Learning and HR — which is one of my areas of expertise — to Franchising, Operations, Marketing, IT, Construction, and Development.
When I was hired, I initially worked part-time for three full days a week, which shifted gradually to full-time over the years as my children got older and my role and responsibilities grew. Our company acknowledges that people have a life outside of their jobs and is supportive of their lifestyles and needs. Dunkin’ Brands offers flexibility to encourage a work-life balance for our employees, whether they are parents, caring for elderly parents, or have a passion outside of work, such as training for a marathon or volunteering for a nonprofit they’re passionate about. Throughout the pandemic, the company has offered employees plenty of resources and support to help people like me who were used to going into an office adjust to working remotely, while still finding time to care for your family.
My team supports each other in our roles in any way we can and also respects our lives outside of the office. We trust everyone to make the right decisions for the business and our team. Over the years, my colleagues and I have gotten to know each other and our families through stories, outings, etc. With all of us practicing social distancing these days, we’ve scheduled virtual happy hours regularly to catch up and stay in touch with one another.
In addition to the extraordinary support I’ve experienced as a working parent, my legal group and my extended team of colleagues in the departments we support are truly what keeps me running at Dunkin’ Brands. Back when we were in the office regularly, they put up with me eating Baskin-Robbins Mom’s Makin’ Cookies for lunch and drinking Dunkin’ Original Hazelnut hot coffee even in the dog days of summer, but they are also supportive of me being there for my family when they need me.
Additionally, our “Whole U” benefits program addresses “all of you”—your life at work, at home, and in the world. These benefits cover everything from top-notch medical and dental insurance to pet insurance, and discount programs, just to name a few. While I didn’t take maternity leave while at Dunkin’ Brands, my colleagues have and I appreciate how supportive we are of new moms and dads, including those who pursue adoption, with up to 16 weeks of leave, much of which is paid!
During my nine years with the company, I’ve also enjoyed being a member of our Women’s Integrated Network (WIN): an employee resource group (ERG) of colleagues who meet to discuss a variety of topics, like women in leadership and work-life balance as a parent. I have met many wonderful people through this network and continue to learn a lot as I navigate parenthood at all stages – which has gotten even more challenging with the pandemic.
Dunkin’ Brands is truly a great place to work. Our people are passionate about our brands and love what they do. We want to attract the best talent — and oftentimes, that talent is growing a family, caring for elderly or sick family members, or working hard on a personal passion. It’s not just about flexibility — it’s recognizing our lives outside of work and delivering benefits, policies, and resources to help employees live their best lives.