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Finding Work-Life Harmony: Insights from a Panel Discussion

Photo of 4 panelists and two co-directors
M&T Bank Center for Women & Business

No matter what you call it…

- Work-life balance?

- Work-life blend?

- Life-Work fit?

- Career-life success?

It is clear the dynamics between employers and employee are shifting.

The Panel kicked-off by Tamilla Triantoro and hosted by Tuvana Rua, co-directors of the M&T Bank Center for Women & Business, focused on the essential topic of work-life balance. Founder Candace Freedenberg was joined by Paul Sullivan, Yvonne Alston, and Ruth Ettenberg Freeman, who shared their personal journeys and strategies for managing work, life, and other responsibilities. The panelists all share professional work that seeks different pathways and programmatic solutions to further guide and elevate this discussion.

The young students attending and representing our future workforce, might still be uncertain about what role they’ll have or where they’ll work upon graduation, but the panel opened their eyes to another layer to weigh in their job search rubric: Culture.

The discussion at Quinnipiac University covered the impact 3 main themes have on your work-life success:

🌟Knowing your own value

🌟Prioritizing health and relationships

🌟Setting and communicating boundaries

The community of pending graduates heard practical advice and asked questions on dealing with life's shifting priorities.

The word "shift" implies something in motion, in the process of changing. Whether that be the change in one's career and caregiving priorities, but also there is a shift in the workplace today.

“We can all agree women and men equally get degreed and are degreed professionals,” said Freedenberg. “Equally men and women have career aspirations and dual careers, but the workplace has not shifted and caught up with that society. Before the pandemic, women opted out of their careers and chose caregiving. Not because women are not ambitious but because parenting is an unpaid full-time job.”

It is "in motion", toward adapting to today's dual career couples, increasing caregiving responsibilities as well as the nature of the knowledge economy in the digital age. Workplace norms and management of them are not there yet, but especially following the pandemic, motion is underway.

The discussion closed with advice Tuvana received from her grandmother when she was starting her career. Her grandmother gave her a better framework to think about that work-life equation – one that many of our UNTAPPED POTENTIAL community faced when choosing, or having it chosen for them…the path without paid work.

Tuvana Rua, PhD. shared that instead of thinking of all the balls you’re juggling in life and work as equal, some should be thought of as glass balls and others as rubber balls. 

The glass balls can’t be put back together if they drop. The rubber ones will bounce back up to you – or dribble harmlessly into the corner. 

Glass balls are family, relationships, and friends. And, often it is a crisis in the health of a family member one is caring for where that glass seems like it is about to shatter if one does not fully care for it. These glass balls are the most important things in your life. If you drop and break them, you can’t repair them – or if you do they’re not going to be the same. 

Finding Your Personal Work-life Success

Remember, there's no single solution for achieving work-life harmony.  The key is to identify strategies that work for you. The insights from the panel, provide a strong foundation for navigating this journey.

Here's to conquering the work-life dance, one step (or bounce!) at a time!

P.S.  Let me know in the comments what other work-life struggles you're facing.  We can figure this out together!

Check out the article here.

Access the video replay via our SLACK channel.


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