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Leading Women How to Make it to the Top While Still Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
INTRODUCTION Work-Life Balance. Is that a real thing? What defines it? Who defines it? All valid questions, and we’re here to tell you there is no right answer. We went ahead and asked some of our leading ladies here at Access Communications how they define “work-life balance,” and how they manage to climb the ladder while juggling everything that is thrown their way, both at home and at the office. Read on to see what they have to say.
“I have two musts: take care of yourself and surround yourself with good support at home and at work. If I counted balance each day I would fail so instead I look at each week. I try to make sure I have quality time set aside for family, friends, work colleagues and myself. If I don’t stretch, walk or find ways to relieve my stress I won’t have the energy and resilience to give to others.” BARRI RAFFERTY SENIOR PARTNER & CEO OF NORTH AMERICA KETCHUM
“I think seeking work-life balance is a flawed concept because it is based on the premise that one is good and the other is bad and each must come at the expense of the other. Instead I focus on passion and happiness in both my work and home lives. Of course there are times when my work world is exhausting or negative, and at these times I reset my “balance” by spending time with the people I love and doing things I love. This allows me to better address whatever is draining my happiness and better balance me and my world.” SUSAN BUTENHOFF CEO
“Nike COO Eric Sprunk recently talked about how coaching his kids’ sports teams helped him “put fuel back into the tank” to be a better leader. I love that. For me it’s walking my dogs at Crissy Field or bashing around a tennis ball as part of a team or going with friends for a Friday night foot massage in the neighborhood. It’s also making sure I plug in with my immediate family back East. I call my mother twice a day, believe it or not. Making sure you are a whole person outside of work makes you a better person at work.” NANCY BLAIR VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT
“Balance for me is all about prioritization. As I think about my schedule for the week or each day, I prioritize the biggest things I need to accomplish – from a client meeting, to volunteering at my children’s school, to a new business presentation or working out for mental sanity. I build my schedule around my priorities and where I am most needed. No two days are ever the same. I know I can’t do everything at once… so I do my best to focus on what’s most important.” LINDSAY SCALISI SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
“I think the reality is that if you work in PR and you’re a parent, you can’t expect that you’re going to achieve work-life balance on a daily basis. There are some days where it’s just not going to happen, but you have to be ok with that, and do your best to keep the crazy days to a minimum. It also helps to have partner balance. My husband and I talk about (read: negotiate) our schedules in advance to ensure that over the week our kids are getting what they need from us and from life. So my recommendation? Take a longer term view – if you can look back and feel good about what you’re achieving at work and at home overall – then you’re golden.” JODI MARONEY VICE PRESIDENT
“First off, I hate the phrase work-life balance. I think it conjures up all sorts of negative stuff. There are two things I do to make myself survive and be sane, however, the first being exercise. I try to work it in at least once during the day – either before work, right after work, or even in the middle of the day if that is the only way that it works for my schedule. That is a priority for me. I try to map it out for the week using something like ClassPass to make sure it merges with my work calendar and remains a priority. As a working mom, I also subscribe to the idea of a strict shut off when it’s family time. I’ll go back if needed in the evenings, but I don’t expect that of my teams, it’s just my time to get caught up with my kids.” CORI BARRETT SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
“I see work-life balance as not necessarily something that you do. If you enjoy the people that you are surrounded by and work with, and you like what you’re doing, then it doesn’t always feel like work. So finding that “balance” doesn’t have to be difficult. It helps to have teams, managers, and an executive team that supports and encourages people taking time for themselves and ensuring that you’re completely unplugged when you’re able to.” LYDA VALEZ VICE PRESIDENT
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