Balancing Career and Family as a Woman in Partnerships

Balancing Career and Family as a Woman in Partnerships

Explore how women leaders balance career and family life, drawing inspiration from their communities and families while effectively managing time and making conscious, realistic choices about their priorities.

As women continue to break barriers and take on leadership roles across various industries, how to juggle professional ambitions and personal responsibilities becomes increasingly relevant. 

This blog explores the experiences of women leaders who navigate these complexities daily.

Drawing from candid conversations, we delve into the sources of inspiration that drive these women, the resilience they’ve built through personal and professional trials, and the time management techniques that help them stay on top of their game. 

These insights from Barbara Ford, Vice President Global Commerce Platforms at Nuvei, Joanne Modugno, Head of Partnerships and Alliances at Inlogik, and Anna Redmile, Technology & Strategic Alliances Manager at Optimizely, offer a glimpse into the strategies that enable them to thrive at work and home.

Sources of Inspiration

Whether it comes from supportive communities, family members, or personal growth, these sources of inspiration provide the strength and motivation needed to balance career and family.

Women Supporting Women

Creating communities where women uplift each other is a powerful source of inspiration. 

These networks provide a platform for sharing experiences, offering advice, and fostering a supportive environment. 

Some of networks include:

  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Local groups

Joanne shared, “Women that really wanna help other women succeed inspire me. It’s about creating a community where we can support each other in various aspects of life.” These connections are more than just professional. They become personal pillars of strength and encouragement.

Drawing Strength From Family

Family is another profound source of inspiration. 

“My girls inspire me because they think independently and propose solutions to problems,” Joanne explained. “And my 93-year-old mother, who faced so many challenges as an immigrant, remains a source of strength and hope.” 

Watching children grow and make independent decisions can be incredibly motivating for parents. It reminds them of the values and lessons passed down through generations, and seeing these come to life in their children can be deeply rewarding.

Personal Growth and Self-Improvement

Inspiration can also come from within as individuals strive to become better versions of themselves. This self-benchmarking process involves setting personal goals and reflecting on progress over time.

Barbara emphasized, “I aspire to become the better version of myself at any time. It sounds a bit silly, but I inspire myself.”

By continuously aiming for self-improvement, women can find motivation in their own achievements and growth.

Women as Natural Leaders

“I think women have an instinct to be kind and generous,” Joanne noted. “If they’ve had a role model like their mom or grandmother, they carry these attributes into their leadership style.” 

The nurturing instincts many women possess can translate into effective leadership. These instincts often stem from their upbringing and the role models they had growing up. Women leaders tend to be empathetic, supportive and focused on the growth and development of their team members.

Distinguishing Between Managers and Leaders

It’s important to differentiate between managers and leaders. 

While managers focus on tasks and processes, leaders are visionary, identifying potential and mentoring their teams. 

Women, emphasizing growth and mentorship, often excel in leadership roles. They inspire others, identify and nurture talent, and create development opportunities.

“Leaders think about possibilities, identify talent, and look for growth,” Joanne explained. “They mentor and provide guidance without being overbearing.” 

This approach contrasts with traditional management styles, emphasizing long-term development over immediate results. Women leaders who focus on nurturing and mentoring often drive sustainable success.

Gender Roles in Leadership

While women are often seen as natural leaders due to their nurturing qualities, they must acknowledge that men excel in these roles. 

Leadership is not inherently gender-specific. 

“There is a shared responsibility between men and women in leadership,” Joanne said. “Men can be just as nurturing and capable of managing caregiving roles.” 

Both men and women can be nurturing and influential leaders, bringing their unique strengths to the table. Recognizing and valuing these diverse leadership styles enriches the workplace. Organizations that appreciate how leadership manifests can create more inclusive and dynamic environments.

Resilience in Leadership and Family Life

High-stress situations can test anyone’s resilience. Managing these pressures at work and home is a daily reality for women leaders. Developing the ability to stay calm and composed in the face of adversity is essential.

Anna shared a personal story: “When my waters broke at 27 weeks pregnant while on holiday in Bali, I faced a highly stressful situation. But I managed to stay calm through it all.” 

This experience of handling a life-threatening situation with composure illustrates the depth of resilience women can develop through their professional and personal lives.

Transferring Skills from Work to Home

Leadership skills acquired at work can be precious at home. Many women find their strategies and approaches to managing teams and projects equally effective in their personal lives. This transfer of skills helps in creating a balanced and efficient home environment.

Key skills include:

  • Empowering Decision-Making: Encouraging children to make their own choices fosters independence and confidence.
  • Solution-Focused Approach: Applying a problem-solving mindset to family issues helps find effective and practical solutions.
  • Prioritizing and Time Management: Balancing multiple tasks and responsibilities ensures that work and home life run smoothly.
  • Communication and Negotiation: Effective communication with family members aids in resolving conflicts and setting clear expectations.

“Empowering kids to make decisions and giving them agency really benefits them,” Anna explained. “It’s like managing a team at work.” 

By applying these leadership skills at home, women can create a supportive and structured environment for their families while also managing their professional responsibilities.

Adaptability and Growth

Adaptability is a critical component of resilience. Adjusting to new circumstances and learning from experiences is vital for continuous growth. 

Joanne emphasized the importance of adaptability: “You just remember things and become very calm, working through situations as they come.” 

Women who can pivot and adapt, whether in their careers or personal lives, are better equipped to handle unexpected challenges and seize new opportunities.

Time Management Techniques

So, how do you balance a career and family life? Effective time management is vital. Prioritizing tasks, scheduling efficiently, and caring for yourself are essential strategies. 

Here, we explore how women leaders juggle their responsibilities and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

1. Prioritizing Tasks

It is essential to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. Women leaders often must distinguish between what requires immediate attention and what can be postponed.

Anna shared her approach: “You cannot possibly do everything, so you need to let go of unrealistic expectations.” 

By focusing on the most critical tasks first, women can ensure they address their responsibilities effectively while reducing stress.

2. Time Boxing and Scheduling

Timeboxing involves allocating specific time slots for tasks, ensuring that everything gets done without overworking. This method is handy for maintaining a structured day. Scheduling breaks is equally important to prevent burnout.

“I live my life like I’m running my job, time-boxing tasks to ensure I get everything done,” Anna explained. 

This approach helps balance work and personal time, ensures productivity, and prevents exhaustion.

3. Taking Breaks

Incorporating regular breaks into the daily schedule is vital for maintaining mental and physical health. 

Joanne shared a technique from Juliet Funt’s book A Minute to Think: Create five minutes between meetings to decompress and refocus.

By allowing the mind to rest briefly, women can return to their tasks with renewed focus and energy. These short intervals allow for decompression and help in recharging energy levels. Taking breaks can significantly enhance overall productivity.

4. The “Done is Better Than Perfect” Mindset

Adopting the mindset that “done is better than perfect” helps manage workload more effectively. 

Barbara emphasized this: “You don’t have to have everything completely finished and perfect before sending it out.”

Striving for perfection can lead to unnecessary stress and delays, whereas completing tasks satisfactorily ensures progress and efficiency.

Can Women Have It All?

The question of whether women can have it all – successful careers and fulfilling family lives – is a complex one. Balancing both aspects often comes with sacrifices and requires conscious decision-making.

So, can you have it all? We offer some answers to that question.

Understanding the Cost

Achieving a balance between career and family often comes with a cost. It requires making tough decisions about priorities and accepting that some aspects may need to be sacrificed. 

The simple answer: You can have both, but you’ll suffer from one or the other.

Recognizing trade-offs is crucial for maintaining both personal and professional well-being. This realistic view helps set expectations and make informed choices about what matters most at different stages of life.

The Myth of Work-Life Balance

Anna reflected, “I really did think I could have it all, but it was a confronting realization that actually I couldn’t.” 

The idea of a perfect work-life balance is often a myth. Realistically, it is impossible to excel in all areas simultaneously. Women may need to prioritize different aspects of their lives at various times, accepting that they cannot always give 100% to everything.

Accepting allows women to make peace with their choices and focus on what truly matters at the moment.

Making Conscious Choices

Making conscious decisions about priorities helps women achieve a sense of balance. You must evaluate your goals and values, deciding when to prioritize career over family and vice versa.

Barbara emphasized the importance of these choices:

  • Evaluate personal and professional goals regularly
  • Accept that priorities will shift over time
  • Communicate openly with family and colleagues about needs and boundaries

“Prioritizing family or career at different stages is essential,” Anna noted. By making conscious choices, you can navigate the complexities of balancing both aspects of your life more effectively.

Conclusion

Balancing career and family life as a woman in leadership is no easy feat. Drawing inspiration from your community, family, and personal growth can help you harness your nurturing instincts and resilience to lead effectively at work and home. You can navigate this delicate balance by prioritizing tasks, managing your time efficiently, and making conscious choices about your priorities. Remember, recognizing the costs and embracing realistic expectations will guide you on this challenging yet rewarding journey.

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