When Christine Barton was growing up in a small town in Texas, she didn’t have any role models of successful high-achieving women who were having it all—high-powered career, marriage, and children.
The world opened up to Christine after she graduated from the University of Texas, won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford (England), and then went on to an Ivy League law school (Yale University). “I never expected to have this kind of life,” she confesses. The Boston Consulting Group recruited her when she finished law school, and the 38-year-old is now a partner and managing director in Texas for the firm.
The Boston Consulting Group is a top-tier global management consulting firm with 66 offices in 38 countries, yet the company still prides itself on its employee-focused culture. High-achieving women face special challenges as they pursue demanding careers while planning families, says Angela Guido, a leader within the firm’s Women’s Initiative—an ongoing strategy to recruit and retain high-caliber women.
Christine is just one of hundreds of women at Boston Consulting Group who want it all. “My partners and our colleagues want to see me succeed at having both a rewarding and successful career and a thriving and loving family in my life,” says Christine.
She credits her employer’s generous fertility coverage—unlimited fertility treatments under a health plan that employees get for free—with helping to fulfill the family dreams she shares with her husband Chris Egan, who also works as a principal for Boston Consulting in Dallas.
After three years together, Christine and Chris married in October 2007 and hoped to start a family right away. They had tried to get pregnant for a year, and during that time Christine had an ectopic pregnancy. A fertility specialist diagnosed her with one damaged ovary and ovulation problems.
“I knew we had good [family-friendly] policies and employee benefits,” says Christine. “But I didn’t realize the culture of support until I needed it. There are not a lot of women in the top ranks of consulting. I was nervous to broach the subject of asking for time off.”
Yet Christine asked for and received a three-month leave to undergo fertility treatments. She was also surprised to be embraced by an informal support group of colleagues who had also struggled with infertility. “It was amazing,” she says. “People would come up to me and say: ‘You probably didn’t know that my twins are from IVF.’’’
Christine became pregnant on a second IUI cycle. It was an easy, uneventful pregnancy and Christine kept up with business travel until three weeks before her son’s birth. Greyson Christopher Egan was born October 13, 2008, and Christine went back to work after a 12-week leave to resume her busy career. Her mother and a part-time nanny help care for the baby.
She and Chris are planning to have more children, and are grateful for The Boston Consulting Group’s generous benefits. “We have an appreciation, humility, and reverence for our blessings that I’m not sure we would have had the maturity or grace for 10 years ago,” says Christine. “My heart, compassion, and hope have grown with the experience.”