Several local female businesswomen spoke at the Women at the Top Symposium Tuesday morning, and one of the topics that came up in the panel discussion was the need for a work-life balance.
And after news that a banking intern died after pulling three all-nighters, the topic seemed even more relevant.
It's important to point out that there has been no official cause of death announced, and it may have nothing to do with staying up all night.
Robin Derryberry, Derryberry Public Relations; Shelley Prevost, partner and director of happiness at Lamp Post Group; Sherry Hoppe, former president of Austin Peay State University; Ronna-Renee Jackson, executive director of the Chattanooga Technology Council; and Shannon Rinckey, founder of a mail subscription business; spoke at the panel.
At Tuesday's event, one of the attendees asked the panel if work-life balance is possible.
Hoppe responded first with a short answer: No.
She followed up and said that it had been difficult for her to find an appropriate work-life balance at times but that she learned how to manage the imbalances.
For example, she learned to recognize signs from her husband and notice when he felt like she was neglecting him. If she noticed those signs, she'd stop and take an entire weekend off to be with him, she said.
And she said that in hindsight her work life never suffered for the extra time she took to be with her family.
Prevost said that she has had to learn in recent years to stop apologizing for maintaining a work-life balance.
As a partner at Lamp Post, she used to feel guilty when she left work to go pick up one of her children. She noticed herself sneaking out; and her co-workers, likely jokingly, teased her, calling her a "part-timer."
"I quit apologizing and quit sneaking," she said. "I'm making every effort to bring in more women to balance that work ethic out. That's not sustainable, and we need a new model."
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