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Inspiring Change: My MacCheese Mantra

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Editor’s Note: Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is “Inspiring Change.” We’re delighted to have one of our Johnson & Johnson employee moms sharing her perspective on how her children help center and inspire her, both personally and professionally.

Having children was a conscious, deliberate and inspired decision I made several years ago. Becoming a mom has been the most amazing personal journey I’ve ever undertaken. The decision to have a family was by far the biggest change I had ever experienced in my adult life. No longer was it just about me, it was about us and will forever continue to be this terrific triad.

When I look at my son and daughter, especially at night as they lay sleeping, I think how much they inspire me to do better, care more and help create positive, supported pathways forward for others.

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I’m very fortunate to have a professional role at Johnson & Johnson where part of my time is spent working with some of our preeminent agents of change – our nation’s nurses. I can hardly call it a job really, as the pleasure I glean from our work to create ways to support this cadre of caring and skilled health care professionals is truly my honor. I’m proud to work for a company that has long supported this commitment through our Campaign for Nursing’s Future.

My children, really all of our children I think, also inspire us to make change. They do this quite organically. They’re innocent beings, pure and full of heart, unaware of the “busyness” and intricate details of life, work, relationships, traffic, etc. They have this knack to just center us, at the most amazing, needed times. And some days I’ll admit that center does go a bit off-balance, but somehow we always course correct.

And sometimes, all it takes is a simple phrase to jolt me into the moment. The now. I owe my 2 year old daughter a real thank you. Of late, her repeated utterance of “MacCheese” (yes, one word in her vocabulary) as an enthusiastic call to action for dinner (or gladly for any meal), sets me on a new path. It is her anthem, her current roar, and it makes me smile. It makes others smile, too. See how our children have such power to inspire us?

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I hear it and gone from my head is my workday, the New Jersey traffic, my previous night’s lack of sleep, the loads of laundry to be done. It’s this simple phrase that like a laser focuses me back into the moment and to the purity of just being a mom to a 2 year-old daughter and a 4 year-old son. It guides me to what is important. Her phrase becomes my Mommy mantra. MacCheese. MacCheese. MacCheese.

It makes me realize that what I am doing with my life, in my day job, is to be able to be a leader in every way I can, and to model for my children that anything is possible. I want them to grow to learn that caring for and thinking of others is a great virtue, and to pause often and be in the moment, and to help them realize they can inspire change in their own lives and those around them. We all have this capacity; sometimes it just takes a little MacCheese to help us find our way.

Andrea Higham is the Director of Corporate Equity. Ms. Higham is also responsible for directing the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, a national initiative designed to enhance the image of the nursing profession, recruit new nurses and nurse faculty, and help retain nurses currently in the profession. Her work at Johnson & Johnson is driven by her passion to serve children, families, and healthcare professionals. Ms. Higham lives in Princeton with her family.

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