She says: From red carpet to stock market.
I say: From glossy magazines to Financial Times.
People around us will say: From serious news anchor in CNN Money Switzerland to smiling blonde girl in a bar in Zurich.
Ana Maria Montero is all of this and even more. She is a role model for her girls, a dreamer who is thinking about what the world still has to offer, and a patient partner waiting for her husband to step up more at home.
We tend to put people in boxes, or stick labels on their heads, but we are all multi faceted!
This is even more true as a TV anchor – people on the screen are different when you meet them in person.
Full-Time Mother of 2 Girls
I had the pleasure to see Ana Maria for the first time at the Zurich LeanIn conference in January 2019 (Thanks LeanIn ladies!). Her story touched me. She had the most glamorous life in LA, interviewing Hollywood stars on the red carpet for more than a decade. Then, for love, she left LA and landed in Zurich where soon she became a stay-at-home mom.
For all the mothers out there that are at home with babies and toddlers, you know how difficult it is to do full-time. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have any family close by to help you.
Ana Maria dedicated six years to her girls while thinking on what she could do to come back to work in a country where she did not speak any of the official languages.
Ana Maria: “My first years here in Zurich have been intense. I needed to decompress after my time in LA, I had to find myself. But overall I needed to understand what I could do here in Switzerland.”
She then had to put even more focus on her family after the birth of her second daughter, who was born with Down Syndrome. But in the back of her mind, coming back to work was an imperative.
She started to look actively for a job when her daughters started to go to Kindergarten. She tells me just how challenging those times were.
AM “What kind of schedule is that anyway? Three hours in the morning? I couldn’t even organize a job interview!”
I laugh. Indeed, this school schedule allows parents (mostly mothers) to buy some groceries or have a physician appointment (and even then, you have to be lucky to find the good time spot with your physician!).
Coming Back in a New Career
I remember that during her speech at the conference she told the public the challenges and the pressures she went through at the beginning while learning the financial jargon and worked on fitting into her new job.
AM: “I used to read glossy magazines to keep up with the gossip. Then, while starting to work for CNN Money Switzerland, I needed to learn the financial language. I started to read the Financial Times. At the beginning it was like reading another language! Now, of course, is a different story. Not only I understand it and I appreciate it as well.”
Her comeback wasn’t easy. She had a new family schedule to plan, was a new type of news anchor, and was learning how the finance world works. To be frank, she was having a very intense time.
AM: “I loved to stay at home with my daughters and I’m grateful I was able to do it. But I would not go back again. I love to work.”
What strikes me the most interesting about Ana Maria is the sweetness in her eyes and the unawareness of her role as role model to the women around her. As I told her this, she is surprised. Ana Maria does not realize the magnitude of what she has accomplished. She managed to overcome the tough moments of being a stay-at home mom of two girls in a foreign country. She rebuilt her career as an anchor and she shifted her glamourous and a bit trivial image into a serious financial anchor. Since I met her in January, I’m regularly watching her shows and I’m very impressed about her competences and her way of interviewing all those experts.
AM: “My husband and my older daughter watch all my shows. She wants to become an anchor at CNN Money Switzerland.”
She says this happily and proudly. This is when I see it again: another mother who is the role model of her girl.
We talk forever, blissfully unaware of the time, our husbands in charge of home and kids. I feel like I’m speaking with an old friend. Her openness and enthusiasm are contagious and I’m known to be a good entertainer when I’m in my best conditions. We discuss our family organizations, our husbands, exchange some book recommendations, and share our plans for the future and our dreams.
Leaving the bar and watching her jump on her bicycle, heading home under the rain, I feel like I had just spent a couple of hours with my best friend.
Meet another working mom: Ana Maria Montero, a resilient mother who found her way back to work.