Finding Balance: A Lesson from Heidi Roizen

Heidi Roizen

In 1848, the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls. Women outlined how they should be treated equally among men.  165 years later, we’ve come a very long way. Women can vote, own land, and work at any job they like. However, society still perceives men to be somehow inherently better than women. The aforementioned isn’t a mere opinion, it is a fact; women only account for approximately 14% of Fortune 500 executive positions.[1] This means that 86% of executive marketing decisions, company direction, and the overall workplace environment is dictated by men. Many women find it staggering that after years and years of tireless efforts to only gain at the very least equality among men, that men’s opinions are still heard more than women’s.

There are women however, who have faced these facts and weighed the options of becoming successful executives or surgeons versus having a family, or having both.  There are women who, contrary to very popular beliefs, have successful careers and successful families. The balance does not come easily, but many women argue that it is worth the fight. For example, Heidi Roizen is the co-founder and CEO of a successful software company and formerly the Vice President of worldwide developer relations at Apple; just to name a few of her accomplishments.  Roizen is an extremely thoughtful person and makes no decision lightly, but when she does make a decision she commits to it fully.

“First, you have to make a commitment to balance and actively pursue it. You have to recognize that if you want to do a lot of things, nothing gets the attention that it would’ve gotten had you only chosen to focus on doing one thing. So you have to be honest with yourself about the level of commitment that you can make to each of your activities given the set that you choose.”[2]

Many women become overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed, but also to have a family and continue to be successful. Although words are easier said than done, Roizen made an excellent point that we sometimes overlook; find what works for you, find what balance means to you personally and work towards those goals. Essentially, prioritizing what is important to your life. If having a family and being successful in life is important, then look at every angle of how you can achieve that because anything is possible.

Roizen never had to leave behind the success she gained from her job because she applied the knowledge she gained into her everyday life. She evaluated what it meant to be a parent for her and how to balance work and her personal life efficiently and in way that she found rewarding, for the moment that she was in. Although it sounds like her life is a business model, she is realistic in her thought process. “The time will have to come from somewhere, so something in my current model will have to change to accommodate those things.” Roizen didn’t have to make the choice between work or a family, but found that balance is the key to both. There isn’t one set model or school of thought that will work for every woman to figure out what to prioritize because priorities change and people change. Finding balance does not ensure that we’ll be exactly where we want to be in ten years from now, but it makes us appreciate the different facets of life, which can be overlooked when we place too much emphasis on one type of success.

Genoviva Sowemimo-Coker

Boston College

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