These women executives share their advice on having a successful career and family life.
1. Aim for Flow Instead of Balance
“Sometimes it is going to ebb and flow in different ways, and sometimes you are going to flow very heavily around work, because you are getting ready to relaunch the brand and try to hit these huge milestones for a startup within two months of joining, and other times, it is end of the school year and there is the recital and the school play and da-da-da and those things are important, too.” Says Kira Wampler, CEO of Art.com, former chief marketing officer of ridesharing platform Lyft and mother of two.
Kira explained that she doesn’t even try to achieve balance. Instead, the idea of allowing for “flow” works better for her. She recognizes that there are certain periods of time where she will have to be spending more time at the office, and certain periods of time where she will be able to spend more time with her family at home.
Prior to joining Art.com and Lyft, Wampler was the chief marketing officer for real-estate marketplace Trulia. She was also the vice president of marketing at camera company Lytro.
2. Build a Team You Can Trust
Cathy Bessant is a breast cancer survivor and mother of two. As the Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America she leads one of the largest tech organizations in the world, managing a $16 billion budget and more than 100,000 employees and contractors globally. She’s ranked No. 1 in the Institutional Investor Tech 50 list and No. 3 on American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking list.
Cathy’s advice is to “craft yourself a village.” She says, “know what helps you, what makes things more complicated, where you’re comfortable with other people stepping in. Then own your choices, and trust your family, your company and your village to support you and help make it all work.”
3. Ruthlessly Prioritize and Use Your Transferrable Skills
Ann Miura-Ko has been called “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes and is a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford. Prior to co-founding FLOODGATE, she worked at Charles River Ventures and McKinsey and Company. Some of Ann’s investments include Lyft, Ayasdi, Xamarin, Refinery29, JoyRun, TaskRabbit, and Modcloth. Given the success of her investments, she was on the 2017 Midas List of top 100 venture capitalists.
“For people who believe that women juggling a career and kids are a liability, I would posit that there are few people in the world who know how to multitask and ruthlessly prioritize like a mother of young kids. It’s been the key to my success.” Says Ann.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Yale and a Ph.D. from Stanford in math modeling of computer security. Ann was working on her thesis at Stanford and raising her three young children all while starting FLOODGATE.
4. Leverage Technology
“FaceTime is a godsend,” Jessica Alba, mother of three, The Honest Company co-founder and actress, said of the iOs app. “I think it’s just checking in and asking them about their day.”
We are always looking to leverage technology at work, why not leverage technology at home?
5. Allow Yourself Flexibility While Doing Good Work
Lisa Lacasse is the vice president for strategy and operations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She also has four teenagers. “I just do everything all the time,” she says. “I’ll go to work and spend 20 minutes during downtime finalizing logistics for summer camp.” She works the hours that work for her, coming in a little later if she’s got a school event, and then making up the time elsewhere.
“I’ve never asked permission for the flexibility of my job,” she says. In life, it’s sometimes better to ask for forgiveness, which may not be necessary if you do good work. “I think women in particular need to feel more empowered to do that,” she says. “No one ever told me to do it, I just did.”
Do you have any advice you would like to share with other working mothers who are ambitious and aiming for success at work and at home? Share in the comments below.
By: Rudbekia Bach
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