Working at Advantage

In 2022, Neil McCarthy rejoined the Advantage Solutions team through his former employer, and one of the company’s award-winning agencies, Daymon. His story is an inspiring one that demonstrates the Advantage commitment not only to flexibility in talent management, but how effective employee resource groups (ERGs) like Our House are in helping new or returning associates/team members acclimate to an increasingly dynamic workplace.

My career journey is an interesting one. I began my Advantage Solutions story at Daymon in 2004. I worked there for 10 years, and being from the UK, my career during that time was entirely international. I decided to leave Daymon in 2011 in order to be close to and care for my three older children as they grew up in England. I rejoined Daymon in January 2022 after an almost 11-year break.

It was not without some trepidation that I went back into the corporate workplace. During that time away, I: swapped private brands in consumer packaged goods for a nonprofit role in conservation and restoration, become a dad for the second time around to our daughters Charli and Lily, made the move to the U.S. and obtained my permanent residency. I didn’t realize the hoops we would have to go through as a family to gain residency, or that for a good portion of that time I would be restricted from working due to immigration services regulations. Then COVID forced my family to make another pivot.

My return to work was stalled as we made the family decision that I would take on the role of primary caregiver and virtual kindergarten teacher during the pandemic. Having been a working parent who traveled constantly, being a stay-at-home parent was entirely new for me. It was a role that I never envisioned would be part of my resume or LinkedIn profile. Yet there it is, and importantly, it stands as one of the most fulfilling roles that I have ever had the opportunity to experience.

With the pandemic behind us I was finally free to return to the workplace, but I was very conscious of the fact that a lot has changed over the last 11 years. I felt relatively secure in my knowledge of the industry. Yes, there would be tweaks, nuances, new procedures and systems, but they can all be readily learned. However, during that time Daymon became part of Advantage Solutions, and I was unfamiliar with the company, its breadth of services, and most importantly its people and culture. Embracing a new way of working and developing a network would be one of the biggest challenges I would face, but one that would be critical to my future development and satisfaction.

Within weeks of returning to Daymon, I decided that joining an ERG was a great opportunity for me to engage more broadly in Advantage, build a network and meet new people who shared common values and beliefs. Our House seemed to be the perfect fit, as the group’s mission statement embodied my journey back to the workplace. I was right in the middle of re-juggling work and home lives, readjusting to full time in an office and attempting to find my new normal.

I learned that I needed to find a way to allow my work and home lives to integrate. I needed to normalize being a parent with young children, and include them in my work life whether through days in the office, joining conference calls or “driving” their favorite “stuffies” to and from work. I wanted my team to see these activities as totally normal behaviors, and perhaps encourage them to embrace the flexibility to make and take the time for their family routines and important events as part of their daily work environment. So, the next logical step was to call Our House co-chairs, Ashley Powell and Dottie Balsano, introduce myself, and ask if I could volunteer to be part of the Steering Committee.

Fifteen months later, I can confidently say that was the single best decision I have made since rejoining Daymon. Being part of the Our House ERG has combined many facets that can be hard to find in large organizations: a community, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity to have fun and be yourself with a like-minded group of people.

Being part of the Our House team and watching our ERG grow and mature has been another compelling journey. The biggest change this year was seeing our mission statement shift from “families” to “individuals” in recognition of the fact that everyone fits in a family. The realization that families come in all shapes, sizes and life stages, often blending and intersecting with many of the other ERGs, shaped how we rewrote our mission statement to reflect this inclusivity. Our House is home to everyone and anyone who wishes to join. We provide support for any and all individuals who are looking to connect, balance, or integrate their family and work life the way I strive to.

Neil McCarthy
Director of business development

Neil McCarthy returned to Daymon, an Advantage agency, in 2022 after a nearly 11-year break. He is a member of the steering committee and programming co-lead for the Our House employee resource group.