Confession: I have an errand boy.
One of my passions is mentoring young, motivated women. They are normally in their 20’s and have an abundance of charisma and ambition. Without fail, the first question they always ask me is “How do you run a company and have a family? How do you do it all?” With a 2 and a 3 year old at home (and don’t forget that lab retriever) I consider myself a bit of an expert on this.
1) Marry a great man. There is no question that I could not be doing what I’m doing without my husband Geoff who has always been my biggest supporter in more ways than I can count. When the CEO position was offered to me I was newly pregnant, so new that my business partners did not know! Geoff chose to leave his job and career path so that we could move to Victoria to pursue mine. We made the decision that he would work part time so that between us, one would always be around for the children. But Geoff does so much more than that. He does all the grocery shopping, the cooking and is the self proclaimed “errand boy”. And I am one lucky woman.
2) Work when it works for you. I always thought that the CEO should be the first one at the office and the last one to leave, and yet I find myself doing exactly the opposite. I get in about 9 after having spent a great morning with the kids. I’m always the first to leave at about 4.40pm getting me home by 5 to enjoy a couple hours with my family before their 7pm bedtime. But after the dishes are done and the house tidied, it’s back to work. I make sure I choose fun stuff to do because let’s face it, the energy levels are a bit low at this time of day. So I’m slouched on the couch with books and trade magazines, a cup of tea in one hand, a highlighter in the other and my husband beside me. It’s actually a nice way to finish the day.
3) Surround yourself with people who are better than you are. My team at our head office here in Victoria is phenomenal. They are experts who don’t need management but rather resources and quick decisions. There is a high level of trust on my part probably because we are a team that has been working together a very long time. Most of us (a whopping 80%) have worked in this small office for over a decade together. The newest recruit here has been a part of the team for 5 years now. I don’t know what I would do without them. They are completely and utterly irreplaceable.
So to all you young men and women out there, there is a way to have it all. But every person is different and every business is unique. The bottom line is to find the solution that works for you. There is always a reason to wait to have kids or to delay an important decision, as change can be intimidating. But I believe – and I have seen – that facing challenges makes us rise to them, whether they are business or personal. And there is nothing like a strong team, both on the home front and in the office.