Dianne Devitt on Balancing Caregiving and Career

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Dianne Devitt

The second installation of SITE’s 20 Minutes Of Women IN Leadership podcast, created in partnership with Prevue, features Producer, Author, Speaker and Educator Dianne Devitt.

In the latest installation of SITE’s 20 Minutes Of Women IN Leadership, Moderator Barbara Scofidio, editor of Prevue and curator of the Prevue Summit Series, is joined by Producer, Author, Speaker and NYU Professor Dianne Devitt for a conversation about a topic that impacts many women in leadership—the role as caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one while maintaining all the aspects and routines of a normal life.

For those of you in Dianne’s shoes who have found themselves as caregivers for aging parents—and even for those of you who have not—this poignant conversation is worth the 20-minute listen.

Here are a few highlights:

The journey can be a long one

“My journey began back in 1995 when my Dad passed and my Mom had a heart attack on the same day. As she grew older, I felt the desire to be with her. I lived an hour and a half away, and just about every weekend I would go see down to see her. But it was just these past couple of years when Mom was now 88 or 89 that it became obvious she was not going to get better. I also had a man in my life, Mike, who lived in Chicago, and as much as Mike was very important to me, there was never a choice in my mind of what my priority would be. So two years ago, I moved in with her. That was the June before COVID, and of course once COVID descended upon us, I was very grateful that I was there.”

Take time and do what’s right for you

“Nobody can tell you what’s right. No one is going to judge you if you take 6 months off to care for an aging parent. I made me a priority—to take care of me, do my yoga, schedule my walks, eat right, sleep enough. Because I knew if I didn’t take care of me, I couldn’t take care of my Mother. And that was the bottom line.”

Have a support system

“Our generation was brought up to not let personal affairs interfere with business. A friend of mine once said, ‘Dianne, be careful not to use the Mother card all the time.’ The reality is that she was right, you can’t. There were situations where something would happen and I needed to be on a Zoom for a virtual event in an hour. Times like that, it takes a village. Always have an emergency contact, somebody who can come in on demand. I had three neighbors who could come help at a moment’s notice.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.