Meet three people in the CGI community who share their stories of working as full-time IT professionals while acting as caregivers for family members. But first, a little background…
More than 53 million Americans provide vital care to parents, siblings, children and other loved ones—often at great sacrifice of their own time, resources and well-being. As the population ages and home care responsibilities add pressure to a growing “sandwich generation,” employer support becomes critical. Families seek options and flexibility at work as they face hard choices regarding care of their loved ones. That’s why CGI makes it a priority to offer caregiver benefits and provide a forum—our Working Caregivers member resource group (MRG)—where members can find support among peers during their caregiver journeys.
Today, CGI’s Rachel Rawlings, Alexandra Edwards and Kalpana Srinivasan are among those balancing caregiving responsibilities with the demands of a successful IT career. Read on for their stories.
Working caregivers need a supportive employer
CGI’s Rachel Rawlings, a Director of Consulting for a major communications client, deeply values the flexibility CGI affords her as a caregiver for a parent, especially during her mother’s recent recovery from surgery that required an intense period of support from her whole family.
“When her back surgery went sideways with complications, the members of the Working Caregivers MRG were incredibly helpful and compassionate and always had something positive to offer,” she says. “Life happens, and you never know when it will happen to you. Caregiving is just part of living and shouldn’t be considered negatively.”
Caregiver experiences vary widely and are difficult to predict or plan for. Alexandra Edwards, for example, left a full-time job to care for her father when he became ill, supporting him until he passed away. Several years later, after reentering the workforce with CGI, Alexandra's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was scared to tell my manager based on my prior experience,” says Alexandra, today a Director and Senior Proposal Manager. “However, he and CGI were extremely supportive as I was able to continue working while being her full-time caregiver until she passed away.”
As Strategic Engagement and Inclusion Operations Manager, Kalpana Srinivasan leads programs that reinforce a culture of belonging and empowerment across CGI. She is also a caregiver who has been a guardian of young nieces and nephews, and today cares for parents and in-laws who stay with her family for up to six months every year.
Caregivers have significant work-life balance needs
“This constant juggling can be stressful, but I am so grateful to be working for a company like CGI where I really feel like my needs are understood and supported,” says Kalpana. “Through the MRG, members have found a safe space to share and receive support, and it has also opened doors for members to advocate for the change they would like to see. The leadership at CGI is very supportive of our Working Caregivers MRG, signaling that it is okay to juggle a career and caregiving.”
Alexandra leads CGI Federal’s Working Caregivers Member Resource Group, and credits the Working Caregiver MRG with providing support and a sense of community during her caregiver journey. She shares a favorite quote from former First Lady Rosalynn Carter that sums up the prevalence of family caregivers and the need to support them: “There are only four kinds of people in the world—those that have been caregivers, those that are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”Back to top