Women who aspire to have it all can achieve those goals if they define the things they want, an Albion College trustee told students in Vicki Baker's Women in Business & Leadership class.
Diane Carr, '81, balanced the responsibilities of being a wife and a mother of two sons while working her way to becoming a partner in the East Lansing law firm of Brookover, Carr & Schaberg before retiring in 2011.
"In general, a woman can have it all, but she has to figure out what having it all means to her," Carr said. "There are tradeoffs."
Carr noted that women having children in their 20s and early 30s while continuing to pursue a career are positioned to be competitive with their male peers for top-level positions as they become older. Career advancement is more difficult, she said, for women who take time off from paid employment to stay at home with their children and then return to the workforce. She added that women may need to make the decision with their partner about whose professional career will be the priority.
The delicate balance of work and family also makes it difficult for women to find opportunities for mentoring and networking.
"The only mentors I had were men, and I didn't want to go to networking functions after work because I wanted to see my boys," Carr said, adding that the key is to find activities that allow for networking without sacrificing family time.