Being a working mom at MetLife

By: Meray El-Khoury, FIAA , Chief Insurance Officer, MetLife Australia

Life as a working mom to a toddler is a juggle – It’s the most challenging, yet the most rewarding experience. The mental gymnastics I feel I’m constantly doing to work out who is where, when, can often be exhausting, but balanced out by the reward from watching my daughter thrive as an independent, adventurous young girl.

I’m so grateful that MetLife has afforded me the opportunity to both continue to grow my career as I was starting my family, and then since then, has continued to invest in me through opportunities I had previously only dreamed of.

I joined MetLife in 2019 as part of a transformation of Australia’s Retail insurance business. I joined as the Head of Retail Sales, reporting to an Australian executive. Within the first six months of joining MetLife, I had my first big break, receiving the call from our CEO, Richard Nunn, to move out of sales and be appointed to the Australian executive team to lead our product and pricing for our refreshed Retail proposition. This was a leap of faith from Richard, and one which I will forever be thankful for as it paved the way for the next phase of my career, full of challenge and opportunity.

It was at the same time as when I moved into this Executive role that my (now) husband and I decided it was time to start a family. Being a mother was something I truly wanted to be, and I knew the time was right.

What has been the most amazing part of my journey to motherhood was that shortly after I fell pregnant, I got the call from Richard (who knew I was trying to fall pregnant) again to say that he wanted to expand my role to also look after our Group business. The message that this gives to women, that your career doesn’t need to be put on hold, and you don’t need to hold yourself back from promotions when you’re starting and raising a family couldn’t have been clearer. Just as I started the expanded role, I let everyone know of my pregnancy, and the outpouring of support from colleagues, and our Board was exceptional.

To further reinforce the support, whilst on my parental leave, my role was expanded again to take on leadership of retention of our Group clients. This was at the same time that Australia’s largest customer was going to tender after nine years with us. The support from MetLife when I returned to a much larger role was amazing. I’ve been given the flexibility to work from home as often as I needed, the support to cut down on my travel to be home as much as I could, as well as continued investment in my personal development.

As part of my leadership journey at MetLife, last year I was fortunate to have gone on a 2-month executive education program at Harvard Business School. We’d fortunately completed and successfully retained our largest client, and so the time was right for me to undertake further studies. There was a short window, while the baby was young enough and with the support of my husband, to invest in my leadership. While it was hard on everyone – My team who had to step up, my husband who had to be both mom and dad to our little girl – It was such a privilege to have done that investment in self.

This full life as a working mom is made possible by the support of MetLife. I hope that every parent out there knows there are employers who support you to do it all. It’s not easy... There are days when I’m so exhausted from a challenging day at work, that all I want to do is go home and do nothing. But I made a promise to myself, that every day when I leave work, I “wake up” again and I try to be present at home for my family. The joy I receive from seeing my little girl grow into a confident, independent, curious human drives me to be an inspiration to her.

Thank you to MetLife for giving me the purpose to bring my best self to my job, for investing in me, and for challenging me to keep growing. And thank you mostly, for allowing me the space to do all this while I am a mother and having the privilege of raising the next generation.



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