(From R to L: Monique , Paula Glickenhaus, Kathleen Procario, Claudia Chen)
A least 100 women are gathered in a conference room -- and two men.
We are waiting to listen to a panel discussion on Investing in "What Matters" over "Having it All" at the S.H.E. Summit Bacardi in Miami. The panel looks interesting to me as I gaze at the white board with bios on the speakers. And then, the discussion begins....
Here is what I take away from the conversation that follows:
1. Investing in your relationship with your spouse, partner, significant other should be high on your priority list. (It matters!)
The moderator is Claudia Chan, founder of SHE Summit and author of This IS How We Rise. Claudia tells us she is struggling with raising a two year old, seven month old, writing a book, keeping her marriage strong, and running her organization. I've heard discussions on work life balance many, many, many times. But Claudia brings up a point that rarely gets mentioned. She aims for balance not as an individual, but as part of a couple. Claudia prioritizes she and her husband "getting on the same page." When investing in what matters most, she considers her marriage her top priority.
"If you're good as a couple, your children will feel more confident when they see mom and dad in good place," she said. "Your relationship with your partner is your most important relationship."
2. Outsourcing will look different for each of us, depending on our income, but it can be crucial to having time for priorities.
Panelist Paula Glickenhaus, Vice President of Global Indirect Procurement with Bacardi Limited, travels often for her high-powered job. She has a grown daughter who is 22 and a son who is 9. To keep up with her many responsibilities, she exercises wherever she is in any way she can..."If I am in Miami, I swim. If I am in New York, I do yoga. If I am in Switzerland, I run." But to have me time, work time, spouse time and child time, Paula outsources. She outsources A LOT. "I do procurement ...so even at work I outsource everything I can." Paula said the goal of outsourcing is to ensure family time is the best quality it can be.
When prodded, Paula detailed exactly what she outsources:
- Homework: "I can't help my kids with homework. I have no patience. So I find a tutor who can help them until the age they don’t need help anymore. I did it with my daughter and now with son."
- Sports. "My son is good at soccer, but the coach said he needs to practice more. I found a coach online and recruited a few other kids in the same boat who can be coached as a group."
- Driving. "I have a nanny, but she is not full time. She picks my son up from school and takes him to activities."
- Lunches. I tried to get my son to buy the school lunch but the quality came time and he wanted to bring a lunch box. Rather than take that extra half hour in the morning, I use FreshDirect to make his lunches. They also have some amazing snacks."
3. Set your priorities one day at a time.
Kathleen Procario, HR & Talent Management for Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, said you can’t do it all, so you need to start to focus on what’s most important today. Most of us wear many titles: sister, brother, husband, wife, friend, parent, employee. "We have to figure out which of those jobs matter right now," shw said.
4. Going "all in" at work is okay, but get your partner on board.
Monique Catoggio runs a business from home. So does her husband who also is an entrepreneur. She wants to give her business a lot of attention, so does her husband. So they take turns with the home stuff to give the other person the ability to focus on work stuff. "We both prioritize making our business profitable so we have learned to find harmony in our home," she said.
To keep that harmony, they speak up when they need something from the other. "When I see resistence, I tell him you're not supporting me in the way I need you to and we have to talk about it," she said. Monique said it can be challenging to find time for those conversations. "Usually when the kids go to bed, that’s our time. Sometimes we have a heart-to-heart over TV shows." The biggest risk is not communicating, she said. "Don’t let it get far down road."
5. Someone needs to deal with the logistics. They matter.
There are bills to pay, appointments to make, home repairs to deal with and supplies that need to be restocked. Someone has to handle the logistics of daily life and running a household. When there are children, the logistics rise exponentially. Those small things can build resentment if one person in a household feels he or she is handling a disproportionate amount. However, if the other person takes on the task, there can be no second guessing, or nit picking. "When you divide and conquer whatever your partner takes on, let them do it their way," Monique said.
6. Don't ask, tell.
Paula said she doesn't ask her husband if it's okay to go to the gym. She tells him when she is going. She doesn't ask her boss when she can take vacation. She tells him to put it on his calendar. Investing in what matters over having it all means asserting yourself to get what matters to you.
7. Take a pause, often.
People get stuck or feel overwhelmed because they don’t find time to understand themselves, Monique said. "We make ourselves busier than we should be."
That's why we need to create more moments of pause...to make time to figure out what matters most.
"It doesn’t have to be two hours. When you give yourself time to create clarity, you can think about what you want your relationship to feel like and if it's not the relationship you want, you can do something about it," she said.
While these business women might not have all the solutions, I think they had some great wisdom to share -- for both the men and women in the room!