After a successful summer event on building confidence in the workplace, Yardi RISE returned with a fireside chat on the topic of work-life balance and how to achieve it. Finding the delicate balance between work and personal life can seem like a Herculean task. Especially as 70% of women feel their employers are not providing enough support for them to balance work and family. And 54% of working mothers see that work-life balance as a significant challenge.
Guest speakers Natasha Guerra, CEO of Runway East and Stephanie R. Barbabosa, head of BTR (Build to Rent) international operations at Lendlease, share their valuable insights/tips on how to navigate this challenge.
Wearing Many Hats
Guerra’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the ever-increasing complexity of managing a business. As her team at Runway East grew from three members to a thriving 55, she realised that contrary to expectation, the responsibilities only multiplied. You must “start wearing more and more hats than you ever thought possible” while looking after a baby which “is all time-consuming”. This insight offers a valuable lesson for entrepreneurs. You need to embrace this reality as it prepares you for the diverse challenges that come with growth. It’s a mindset shift that allows for a more proactive approach to business development.
“I think with every challenge comes opportunity. It’s an opportunity to do things more efficiently and be more efficient in the time that you do have available for work.”Natasha Guerra, CEO of Runway East
Barbabosa echoes this sentiment, emphasising the need to be adaptable. Her role as head of BTR international operations at Lendlease demands constant evolution and expansion of skill sets. Barbabosa states that she “could get a call in the middle of the night regarding an issue at one of our buildings” so being “available all the time” is her job. This adaptability is a crucial trait for any professional navigating dynamic industries. It underscores the importance of a continuous learning mindset, reminding us that stagnation is not an option in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.
“I quite enjoy saying yes to things, and my parents taught me some really valuable lessons about keep moving, keep changing, keep growing or you’re stagnant and you’re dead.”Stephanie R. Barbabosa, Head of BTR International Operations
But having all these hats to wear and saying “yes” to things that come your way, can be overwhelming. As stated by Guerra, “a study outlined that 50% of women in leadership positions felt burnt out”. Navigating these shifts in the workplace can pose quite a challenge, particularly when they begin to impact your personal life. Here’s what Guerra and Barbabosa had to suggest when trying to achieve a better work-life balance:
Guerra’s disciplined approach to time management is a powerful tool in ensuring a balanced life. By meticulously “blocking out her whole calendar” and being “very religious with her time” she ensures that every aspect of her life – from work to personal commitments – receives the attention it deserves. Guerra highlights and suggests that this level of organisational discipline can be empowering as it “allowed her to achieve her goals” without having to sacrifice her well-being and relationships. It’s a reminder that effective time management is not restrictive but liberating.
Barbabosa further emphasises the significance of setting boundaries. She shares “It’s really about organising and planning and diarising your self-care. So, if you don’t care about it and get it booked, no one else will”. This practice safeguards personal time and fosters a healthier work environment. It communicates to colleagues and team members that you value your time and well-being, preventing them from “piling more and more stuff on you”. Implementing boundaries is an act of self-respect and sets the stage for a culture of respect within the workplace.
Embrace Failure & Let Go
Guerra’s ability to navigate failure and compartmentalise challenges is a testament to her resilience. She emphasises the importance of being comfortable with things going awry and having the ability to step back and strategise. Guerra notes that “burnout often happens when everything blends and starts to feel unmanageable”. She stresses that for most women “being able to let failure happen” can be a hard thing to achieve, it “sounds easier than it is” but it can feel liberating. This attitude towards failure is a crucial trait for any entrepreneur. And highlights that setbacks are not a reflection of one’s capabilities, but rather an opportunity for growth.
Barbabosa echoes this sentiment by emphasising the importance of being present in the moment. To “slow down, relax and smell the roses” instead of being busy “going, going and going”. She recognises that life’s journey will encompass moments of stress and relaxation, “it is work-life rhythm rather than work-life balance”. Life is full of “stressed, unstressed, short and long musical syllables… that’s how work will be”. So, she encourages women to accept this ebb and flow. This perspective shift allows for a more graceful approach to the inevitable ups and downs within one’s career. It’s a reminder that success is not a linear path but a dynamic journey.
Keep Your Mind & Door Open
Guerra advocates for an open-door policy, emphasising the significance of actively seeking and acting on feedback. This practice creates an environment of trust and transparency, which is essential for fostering growth and building a healthy workplace environment/culture. She quotes that the best remedy to make sure people aren’t “feeling stressed or burnt out” is to have an “open door policy, taking on feedback and listening to your team”. She notes all of this “leads us to understand if you have a company-wide problem where everyone feels stressed or just this person who feels this way”. By conducting anonymous surveys, engagement sessions and regular check-ins, team leaders can identify and address challenges proactively. This commitment to open communication is instrumental in building strong, supportive teams.
Barbabosa further highlights the value of open communication by sharing her experience with “some of the strong female mentors” she has had during her career. She showcases how these connections provide invaluable guidance, they allow you to share your “stories in a kind of non-judgemental way”, which can be great for your mental health. Thus, emphasising how seeking out trusted advisors and peers can be a transformative asset in the path to success and well-being.
Don’t be Afraid of Growth & Change
Guerra and Barbabosa collectively emphasise the importance of continual self-assessment and growth. They encourage women to be open to change, to seek new opportunities and to evolve with the dynamic landscape of their industries, without sacrificing their self-care. This proactive approach to personal development is a powerful tool for any professional striving to sustain success and a healthy “work-life balance” in today’s competitive business world. It’s a reminder that complacency is the enemy of progress. That true growth requires a willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone, to be okay with not knowing the answers and to let failure happen – after all, as stated by Barbabosa, “we’re human beings, not human doing”.
About Yardi RISE
Yardi RISE was created in 2022. It’s an internal event for women at Yardi to network, inspire and empower each other. For more information, visit Introducing Yardi RISE or use the hashtag, #RiseWithYardi on socials.