The concept of balancing time at work with time spent pursuing personal activities is a delicate juggling act that has been placed under a more intense and focused spotlight recently, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no one-size-ﬁts-all solution, but the insights from our panel on work-life balance provide an interesting perspective on an issue that affects everyone in the workplace.
Shared insights from the event:
Kalika Yap, Chief Executive Officer, Citrus Studios, Citrus Studios: COVID, although devastating to our economy, has provided unexpected opportunities for women entrepreneurs, which I will forever be grateful for. First and foremost, I was able to get off the hamster wheel. I felt societal pressure to be present at every entrepreneur learning, social, or networking event and now, I don’t feel that pressure. I now have breathing room, a chance to reflect on what’s most important and valuable to me.
Kiyoun Kim. Executive Vice President, Regional Manager for California, IDB Bank: Most of us were even more productive when we had to work from home, but after a while, what seemed to be a benefit to working from home became harder for many to sustain and be happy. As a leader of our organization, I’ve learned that there is no replacement for face-to-face interaction and the collaboration that comes from this, both with colleagues and clients. At the same time, one of the benefits of being able to work from home was that we were able to spend more time with our families and make it to events that we might not have always been able to attend. As a result, our organization has now moved to a hybrid work model, which has been well received by employees and has been working very well for our organization.
Crystal Muilenburg, Chief Marketing Officer, Evolus: The idea of having true balance, for me, is impossible. I think I find when there’s tension between my home and my work life is actually when I perform the best, so I’m always trying to think about where does the tension exist and how I can use that to my benefit. I’m very big on being present at the times where it’s needed most, whether that’s at work or at home and just giving it the right priority. For me, I’m always looking for what are the big activities, the big events or big initiatives at work where I can make the most impact, and the same goes for home. If I can prioritize those bigger items, then I feel like I’m a winner. That’s my approach to creating some balance in my life.
Kirsten Fraunces, Executive Vice President and Head of Capital Markets, Wedbush Securities: Ironically, I’m not setting out to achieve “balance” – that’s not my frame of reference. I think the key is realizing you are CEO of your own life and that it’s your job to set priorities across all areas of your life: work, career, personal and family. I would say, a major difference at home though, is that the priorities change more. One day, driving your kids is an activity that just needs to get done and can be outsourced. Another day, though, it might be the very highest priority, because it’s a chance to spend time together.
Kim: I realized that managing your time and being intentional in how you spend your time was critical in being able to maintain balance, and even sanity, when your life becomes busier. One thing I think many women neglect the most is to make time for yourself. Many of us have been raised to take care of others first, but fail to take care of ourselves, and when we don’t spend time for self-care, it starts to impact our mental health and can lead to burnout. It’s really important that no matter how busy you are, you do work into your schedule something that you enjoy and that can rejuvenate you. For me, this has been exercise and more recently running. Whenever I start my day with a run or by working out, I feel so much better, and it helps to expand my capacity in many ways – to be better able to accomplish what I need to each day.
Yap: My tip for women entrepreneurs? Digitally transform your business today. Hybrid work is here to stay. Embrace it. The businesses that will continue to thrive and flourish are the ones that are able to keep up with the accelerated pace of doing business online. Learn, evolve, change.
Muilenburg: When I first started in the workforce, there was no balance. It was just me trying to achieve, so I put out 100 percent. I always wanted to be the first person in the office. I was okay with opening the front door, having my coffee, getting work done. There was no balance, I was putting in the time I felt I needed to get to where I wanted to go. I think over time, both having children as well as taking responsibility for teams, you just can’t do that. That’s a bad precedent to send to others – number one, you just can’t put as much on your plate. The main point is be there when it matters. That’s come up as a theme both at work as well as in my life.
Fraunces: It’s important to understand that achieving “balance” doesn’t mean doing everything. It’s the same reason delegating at work is critical. When you run a big team, you would never try to perform all of the roles yourself. As a leader, your job is to set the strategy, understand the high-value elements that only you can perform versus the work that can be delegated or outsourced. You can’t do it all, and why would you want to? You wouldn’t do all of the jobs at work! A key to balance is to understand your resources, family members, neighbors, schools, apps, technology, etc. – and if you need more, figure out how to mobilize them. It’s not easy but making the investment in planning around your priorities allows you to do more of what is important to you.
Muilenburg: Finding accountability partners who can share the responsibilities with you really helps to maintain some balance. Just being okay with not being able to control every single detail or not being in the know. I’m really big on having awareness of my surroundings and what’s happening in my life on my social calendar and also at work all the details that the team is working on. For me, just trying to get out of the weeds, both at home and at work, that’s another way to maintain balance. The more that you’re in and feel a sense of having to control all the details, it just starts to spiral. That’s something I’ve definitely taken away. What are the things that really matter, where either my support or my contribution really matters. And if it doesn’t matter, then it’s something I’m going to remove myself from so that others can have that flexibility to make decisions.
Kim: Growing up, I was fortunate enough to live with my grandparents and to witness firsthand how a woman could be so dynamic both inside and outside the family. There were definitely sacrifices made both by my grandmother, grandfather and the whole family, but the mutual cooperation, understanding and support that was provided was what allowed my grandmother to pursue her dreams and passions in an era where this was unheard of. She also knew how to love, respect and encourage her family, which I always cherished and admired and use as my barometer to try to achieve work-life balance.
About the participants:
Moderator: Kalika Yap
Chief Executive Officer
Kalika Yap is a serial entrepreneur with a variety of businesses including two digital agencies (Citrus Studios and Orange & Bergamot), a brick-and-mortar beauty company (The Waxing Co.), a cookie company (Conscious Kids Cookies), and a manufacturing and distribution company (Luxe Link).
Executive Vice President, Regional Manager for California
Kiyoun Kim is executive vice president and regional manager for California at IDB Bank®, a New York-based private and commercial bank. As regional manager for California, Kiyoun oversees IDB’s full-service branches in Downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Kiyoun leads Middle Market Business Banking, Commercial Real Estate, and Private Banking for IDB. Kiyoun continues to focus on bringing new, innovative products and customized solutions to the local marketplace. Prior to rejoining IDB in 2014, Kiyoun was managing director at First Republic Bank, where she was responsible for generating new business. She brings more than two decades of commercial banking experience at relationship-focused banks. Kiyoun holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.
Executive Vice President and Head of Capital Markets
Kirsten Fraunces is Executive Vice President and Head of Capital Markets for Wedbush Securities. She isa member of the President’s Executive Committee and is responsible for overseeing the Capital Markets Division, including Equity Research, Equity Sales & Trading, and Institutional Muni Trading. Kirsten joined Wedbush in 2002 as a VP in Equity Sales, and during her 19-year tenure she has played a number of pivotal roles including Head of Equity Sales, Head of Equities, and now Head of Capital Markets. In each of these roles, Kirsten has ensured that investors are provided with information needed to make sound investment decisions and maintain Wedbush Securities’ position as a leader within the Financial Services industry. In 2018 Kirsten founded the Wedbush Organization of Women, to help provide women at the firm the tools they need to succeed and pathways for advancement. In 2020, she helped launch and became Chair of Wedbush’s Colleague, Community, Culture and Change Committee, bringing focus and leadership to the firm’s diversity, inclusion and community outreach initiatives.
Chief Marketing Officer
Crystal oversees Evolus’ U.S. marketing organization and maintains the company’s international infrastructure to support the expansion of Nuceiva™ in all of their licensed territories. She has more than two decades of marketing and communications experience, with more than a decade in aesthetics. In her last role at Allergan, Crystal established and led the International Plastic Surgery & Body Contouring marketing team and successfully integrated and launched new aesthetics products in Europe, Canada and Australia.