Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Social Responsibility
What does Work Life Effectiveness (“WLE”) mean to you?
The absence or presence of control. Last year I created a series of workshops with colleagues to explore how different generations are thinking about work purpose and life balance (pictured above). We dismantled broad and generational perspectives of what ‘right’ is, and what is ‘expected’ from people at different points in their life. We found that by mixing up insights from people of all ages, we could better understand what brings purpose to each of us and how to help each other achieve balance, control, and happiness.
At what point in your career did you realize that work life effectiveness actually improves your performance in the workplace?
When I first took on a global role twenty years ago, my work travel ramped up and I found it very hard to stick to an exercise plan. I gained weight and felt tired and out of sorts until I rediscovered my love of running. As the sun is rising and the energy in a place tends to be calm, I find that running helps me get ready for work because I unconsciously think through things and either solve problems or come up with new ideas, while observing life in different places around the world.
How has your approach to work life effectiveness evolved over the years?
I have been trying to find the magic solution for more than a decade – back in 2006 I wrote a book review for my friend Nadia Cristina (editor of Professional Marketing magazine), called Give me Time, by the Mind Gym.
What's changed over the years is the pull of technology. I think this has made it harder, not easier. So, as another new year rolled around again, I thought about what could be most effective to tackle it once and for all. I decided that I shouldn’t read or send any emails before exercising in the morning, and I should set a good example by not sending emails over the weekend unless it is part of an agreed project timeline with my colleagues. I have pretty much stuck to this plan since the new year, so hopefully, I have finally found my personal solution.
What do you find the most challenging about being effective in both your work and family lives?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who moved their young family from Italy to the US in the 1950s. They couldn’t speak a word of English but they did it because they believed it would mean a better life for their kids. Everything they did was intended for the next generation, for the future. This is the principle I constantly challenge myself to think about when I make decisions about how to spend my time.
If you had to give one piece of advice related to WLE to your younger self, what would it be?
In a nutshell – figure out how to bring the important parts of your life together.
For a period of time, I took my Work/Health Effectiveness running plan to the extreme and started training for marathons. This was not so nice for my husband, Kevin, who is not a runner. Not only was I away for work, I was also out running a lot when I was at home and we had few opportunities to follow his passion for international adventure together.
But last year, we found a way to bring it all together. Kev and I both participated in the Uganda Marathon, which is rooted in a fantastic foundation set up to help a community rebuild itself after years of war and the impact of AIDS. Just over a hundred international volunteers spend a week serving local charities, culminating in a day of racing with 3,000 locals over a 10K, half or full marathon course.
Kev and I could do the volunteering and the 10K together and experience a new country at the same time. We are now connected with the local community on Facebook and continue to support their work to provide for the next generation.
Our Work Life Effectiveness (WLE) interview series features AlixPartners professionals across the world discussing successful strategies for facilitating their own work life effectiveness. Read more of our people's stories below.