Women Meeting Planners Offer Advice on Work-Life Balance

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work-life balance, meetings
We asked meeting planners: If you were to offer women starting out in this industry one piece of advice about work-life balance, what would it be?

In a soon-to-be-released joint survey of 708 women by Prevue Meetings & Incentives and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, we asked respondents how they manage to maintain work-life balance.

Work-life balance is hard to maintain in any industry, but even harder in meetings and hospitality because of the long hours and constant travel. Who better to ask for tips on juggling work and personal life than the 422 meeting planners who answered this question on our survey, which will be released in its entirety on November 15:

Here are 15 of our favorite answers:

” I don’t believe there is work-life balance at this point. If you look at it as work-life integration, you’ll struggle less with trying to separate them, and I think, ultimately, you’ll be happier.”

“There is no reason to feel guilty. I’ve worked my entire daughters’ lives and they are strong, independent women because of it.”

“Your career supports your life, but it is not your life.”

“Know what you’re getting into before you accept the job. There are many different types of meetings and companies. Find the one that fits your lifestyle.”

“It’s easy to try to do it all but you end up not doing one thing at 100%. You just have to figure out what’s beyond your control and let that go.”

“Family is always first, but you must honor the profession with a good work ethic and take ownership of your responsibilities.”

“Take time for yourself and enjoy the travel when you have it. It’s too easy to travel and never see the outside of a hotel.”

“ALWAYS take all of your vacation and comp days if possible. Because this is such a high-stress job, I learned it is needed for mental and physical stability.”

“Balance is not a scale… it is more of a fluid measure that changes over time and circumstance. We all have a finite amount of time; choose to invest your time resources as befits your values and the person you wish to be?”

“Create your own guardrails for balance: when you do/don’t check email, how/if you monitor work while on vacation, etc.”

“Learn to accept that you will not be perfect 100 percent of the time. At times, work or life will be the more important thing. You have to learn to be ok with that.”

“Turn off all notifications, hide your computer/phone/everything from yourself and completely step away. Just because someone else is working at 4 a.m. does not mean you should be, too.”

“If you are looking for work/life balance, I would tell you to find a different career. When I was young, I used to think it was my employer’s fault that I needed to work so many hours until I left for another company and had to work even more hours. That’s when I realized it was my chosen profession, not my employer.”

“It is ok to say ‘no’ sometimes.”

“The only regrets you will have at the end of your life are times not spent with family or friends. Ask yourself one question: Are you where you are supposed to be? If the answer is no, do something about it.”

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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.