Insights (Blog) - Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Spotlight on Flex – Jennifer Nowlin

The Spotlight on Flex showcases professionals from member organizations who exemplify personal and professional success while working a flexible schedule. Their stories illustrate the long-term benefits that flexible schedules offer to both individuals and organizations.

This month, we are pleased to share insights from Jennifer Nowlin, Associate General Counsel, Labor and Employment, in the Bentonville, AR Office of Walmart Legal.

Jennifer NowlinDiversity & Flexibility Alliance: How have you made flexibility a priority and a success through your career? 

Jennifer Nowlin: I started practicing law as a commercial litigator at a Dallas firm. I’d been practicing for less than one year when my husband was offered a job at Walmart in Bentonville, AR. We had to decide whether it was time for us to relocate, but I knew my marketability was limited with such little experience under my belt. From the beginning, Walmart supported my family’s needs; the company allowed us to stay in Dallas while my husband traveled back and forth to Bentonville. We kept this arrangement for a year and finally relocated to Bentonville when I joined Walmart’s legal department in 2005. I started with the employment practices legal team, but in 2009, I joined the legal team supporting labor relations, and I’ve been with them ever since.

Walmart had developed a Professional Work Option Program, and when I had my first child in 2007, I was one of the early participants in it. I really wanted to spend time at home with my newborn, but I also wasn’t ready to stop working all together. I talked with my supervisor at the time, and she encouraged me to develop different work scenarios that would work for me. If my first choice wasn’t accepted, then I would move on to my next scenario and so forth. My first choice was to work a 3/5 schedule which meant three days in the office, and two days off.

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Action Step –
Feedback Essentials Part 1: Delivering Feedback Effectively

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility.  Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center

FEEDBACK ESSENTIALS PART 1: DELIVERING FEEDBACK EFFECTIVELY

Feedback is critical to career advancement, but research shows women and other under-represented professionals are much less likely than their majority group counterparts to receive the kind of constructive feedback necessary to improve performance. The reasons for this vary, but common ones include supervisors’ concerns they will be perceived in a negative light and fear that the person receiving feedback will leave. These issues are particularly pronounced when feedback is being provided across differences. This introduces additional challenges to an aspect of managing and leading others that many supervisors would prefer to avoid. Overcoming these challenges, however, is essential to fostering the success of all talent, and applying the following best practices provides supervisors with a framework to successfully meet this responsibility….

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