The skills you acquire while you are a mother are valuable for business. Motherhood should be recognised as a valuable experience and a key asset to companies rather than being regarded as a gap in their work experience. We gain life experiences that are essential for navigating the business environment – whether we are moms who decide to return to the workforce or have taken different roles at certain times to have a more balanced life. Zineb Lahlou has a Masters in Robotics and Mechanical Engineering and works at Mynaric. In the interview with herCAREER, Zineb explains how we could empower moms to pursue their careers.

„When I became a mother, I was quickly thrown into brand new challenges“

herCAREER: Why does being a mother often make women better at work?

Zineb Lahlou: Motherhood teaches valuable skills that are key to success in the work environment. We prioritize, manage crises multiple times a day, organise, juggle tasks, adapt, empathise, and influence. We learn about medicine, education, psychology, and nutrition. We read, we try new things, we explore, we’re the nurse, the clown, the cook, the teacher, the best friend, the cleaner, the psychiatrist, and we develop a polyvalent personality.

We are pillars of strength no matter how hard things get. When faced with obstacles, we figure it out and fix the problem. We strive to do more, to do better, and learn to organise ourselves and manage our time in the most effective way, all of which are fundamental traits to have in the workplace.

As mothers, we have to expand, grow, and exceed ourselves. We develop resilience, courage, and patience – all cornerstones of leadership. We are masters of negotiation, problem-solving, time management, and prioritization.

herCAREER: Which experiences you made as a mother proved particularly valuable in your professional life?

Zineb Lahlou: When I became a mother, I was quickly thrown into brand new challenges. I thought my role was to teach, nurture, and protect others, but what I learned in the process and what I learned from my children is magnificent.

Motherhood challenged my boundaries. It made me cross thresholds of patience, empathy, understanding, and sacrifice. It truly expanded my being. I learned to be comfortable with uncomfortable situations and I was able to give more because of who I had become.

I developed resilience, persistence, influence, and authority, all valuable skills in life and also in the workplace. I had to be the best version of myself to be there for my children and to be a role model in all aspects of life. I’ve had to lead by example.

“Done properly, parenting is a heroic act”. Juggling between my professional and personal lives, managing complex projects at work and managing house chores, school pick-ups, homework, parents meetings, dentist appointments, shopping, cooking, ironing, tidying up, and extracurricular activities, while trying to keep a level of quality performing each of these tasks is a colossal, somewhat debilitating mission. Developing coping mechanisms when things don’t go as planned and learning to adapt, prioritize, and cross the thresholds of my comfort zone are all part of my journey as a mom. I had to expand what I was comfortable being uncomfortable with.

herCAREER: How could we empower moms to pursue their careers?

Zineb Lahlou: Companies and businesses should offer a safe, flexible, and empathetic workplace that offers equal opportunities for working moms to continue to grow and reach their full potential. Moms should have the opportunity to discuss career prospects and explore options for a smooth transition back to work before they leave on maternity leave. They should envision a roadmap for their career progress with their line manager. It provides a goal, something to work towards and the reassurance that their skills, experience, and capabilities will continue to be recognised and fostered towards their highest potential.

As mothers, we become so absorbed in our new responsibility that very often, we forget our professional self, our strengths, and competences. We’re out of touch (especially in fields where the technology and competition is moving fast). It can make our return to the workforce challenging. Companies should offer the opportunity for moms to stay in the loop throughout maternity leave with options for “keep in touch” days, training, classes…etc., to meet their needs, keep the gears engaged, emphasize their relevance, and smooth their transition back to the workforce.

There is a misconception that mothers cannot take on higher roles or progress their careers because they are less available, which results in mothers having to resort to downshifting their careers or leaving the workplace completely. The company should define realistic objectives/expectations, and performance should be measured by the quality of the performed tasks and their delivery rather than by availability. A career progress path should be considered and made part of their regular performance review.

Businesses should normalize motherhood and its responsibilities, and children always come first. If I have to run because I had a call from school that I need to pick up my child, it shouldn’t be perceived as a lack of commitment. This shift in workplace culture could increase productivity and devotion and bring back capable minds to the enterprises.

Mothers should be made aware of the strength, skill set, competence, and capabilities acquired through motherhood, which can increase their self-confidence and conviction in what they have to offer. Motherhood should be recognised as a valuable and impactful experience by companies and professionals across all industries. Motherhood belongs in our Curriculum Vitae. It should be emphasised and reflected in our description on professional platforms.

herCAREER: Would you act as a sparring partner? If yes, we ask you to name the topics for which you would be available as a sparring partner in keywords.

  • Discrimination at work
  • Working moms
  • Working abroad

herCAREER: Are there any topics on which you personally would like to have a sparring partner and continue a professional and personal exchange? Then name keywords for your topics.

  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Development
  • Speech anxiety

herCAREER: Would you also be a mentor the herCAREER community? Can you describe what kind of a woman you would like to have as a mentee?

Zineb Lahlou: I would love to be able to mentor young women who come from different countries, women who are starting their career journey and are looking for advice and also moms returning to work after maternity leave.

Use one of the ways to contact the interviewee and refer to the herCAREER community interview.


A senior Robotics Engineer with over 11 years of experience in Aerospace,Including 8 years of leading and managing projects and teams. My attention to detail and rigorous work ethic have earned me trustworthy relationships both within my organization and externally.Throughout my career, I have collaborated with notable clients including Airbus, Bombardier, Northrop Grumman, Space Development Agency, regulatory agencies like EASA and FAA, and national and international suppliers.

Refer to the interview of the herCAREER community and use an opportunity for contact that the interviewee has indicated. The offer for a sparring refers to a casual exchange. herCAREER thus acts as a bridge builder. Please feel free to accept the invitation for the exchange. You do not have to give anything back directly to your sparring partner, but you are welcome to contribute your expertise elsewhere in the network.

Apply with a maximum of one DINA4 page about yourself and your motivation for the mentoring – together with your CV or a link to your Xing or LinkedIn profile. For this purpose, use the contact options provided by the mentor. The mentor will be available for up to three (video) meetings for an exchange, depending on your needs. Please note that the mentor decides which and how many mentees they can admit.

Take advantage of this opportunity and apply! Maybe you will soon have a mentor from the herCAREER community at your side.