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A Mother, a Caregiver, and a Colleague: Carla Vaughn Shares her Experience in the Workplace

A Mother, a Caregiver, and a Colleague: Carla Vaughn Shares her Experience in the Workplace
  • Sabrina Suzuki

This Women's History Month, Carla Vaughn recalls the challenges women have had to overcome and how society and progressive movements are helping pave the future. 

Vaughn's three children are now 28, 30, and 32 years old. She explains how raising children, working, and being a caregiver to her 80-year-old mother was challenging. “My children would describe me as strong,” Vaughn chuckled, “opinionated, loving, and focused.”

Carla Vaughn.

But it was far from being easy for her, as each day had its challenges. In the 90's, workplaces didn’t have the same parental flexibility that allowed for a work-life balance. “When I first started working, I would be afraid to take time off to be with my sick child or seek respite help for my Mom.”

But Vaughn says through the years she has seen the role of women progressively move forward. “Sometimes women unfortunately feel that they have to be tougher or give the appearance that they are because they don’t want to be looked at as soft because they are women. But it’s a new day! There are workplace values and morals that provide guidance and make for a better workplace and I’m really thankful for that,” she notes.

In her time at the SFPUC, Vaughn says she appreciates the emphasis put on a work-life balance which has allowed her to have a fulfilling career. She is grateful that the SFPUC’s workplace culture supports working parents and provides resources for family leave.

Vaughn hopes new generations will continue to have an appreciation for how far women have come and acknowledge the struggle it took for them to get here. "It’s been exciting to see women have the opportunity to excel in the workplace. Don’t take it for granted. A lot of women worked really hard and made a lot of sacrifices when it wasn’t this way, to get it this way."

She said the new Southeast Community Center located at 1550 Evans is a great example of what can happen when a group of women with support from the community won’t take no for an answer. Each woman has a unique story to tell, and she encourages everyone to support each other. 

Sabrina Suzuki