we learned how some of our young professionals and working moms try to achieve their work-life balance. Yet our struggle for sanity is not just relative to where we stand in our personal life, but where we are on our professional journey as well. In our final Work-Life Balance feature, we’re talking to some of our career-driven event professionals as well as those who have recently transitioned to assume greater responsibilities. How exactly does one maintain that work-life balance when you’re moving to a new city after accepting a promotion? Let’s find out. First, let’s take a quick moment to meet this month’s panelists:
Robyn GilbertHello! Florida (South)Senior Account Executive
Robyn is a native of Palm Beach, Florida and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. She joined Hello!’s South Florida team in December 2009. She loves her job because she enjoys “watching what I’ve worked on from start to finish transform into a successful program.” Robyn embraces Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Her hobbies include yoga, and traveling, and her dream is to fly over France in a hot air balloon someday.
Aaron TharpHello! TexasExecutive Producer/Department Director
Aaron joined Hello! in 2013 with nearly 10 years of event management and hotel creative sales experience, working in both the Orlando and Washington, D.C. markets. His career is marked by top-notch programs produced in a fast-paced and demanding atmosphere. Aaron is known for his dynamic and innovative approach while pairing textile and sensory impacts with entertainment experiences. In his free time, Aaron loves to go explore, try new restaurants, and meet new people, making friends every step of the way.
Janice DowlingHello! TexasGeneral Manager
As a destination management professional with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Janice has developed skills in special event program development, execution, and design. As a Hello! Florida Account Executive, Janice achieved top honors within Hello! before being promoted to the office’s Director of Creative Services in 2010. After eight years of leading a team of award-winning event designers Janice moved to Dallas in Fall 2018 to assume the role of General Manager for Hello! Texas. Away from work she enjoys reading, watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and dancing.
Kaitie ShoupHello! California (Southern)Product Development Manager
Kaitie was born and raised in Southern California, later moving to Las Vegas to attend the University of Nevada before joining Hello! Las Vegas in May 2016. She was ready to take the next step in her career, so in October 2018, Kaitie was promoted to Product Development Manager for our Hello! California (Southern) office in San Diego. Packing up her family and moving back to California has been a wonderful experience; she’s learning to manage multiple destinations and is closer to her family! In her free time Kaitie loves spending quality time with her sons, traveling, going on long runs, and visiting the beach every chance she gets.
To Our Featured Event Professionals...
How Do You Manage to Focus on Your Career While Still Maintaining a Sense of Self and Having a Personal Life?
Aaron: I try to keep them separate as best as I can. A personal goal of mine this year is to be more in the moment, both professionally and personally. If I'm working, I'm 100% focused on the needs of the business, and when I'm off the clock, I do my best to leave work at the door and be with my friends. This doesn't always happen, but in my head, I'm killing it!
Robyn: I'm a big believer in "Work Hard, Play Hard." I love to plan little "rewards" right at the end of particularly hectic stretches of time or right after a big presentation so I have something relaxing to look forward to.
Do You Ever Feel Like You Have to Choose One or the Other? Career OR Personal Life?
Robyn: This is something I'm constantly working on. With a little bit of pre-planning and setting expectations ahead of time, I'm better able to manage the two. In our busiest times of the year, it's definitely more of a struggle to keep the balance…I do find myself sacrificing some personal engagements in order to support my teammates and fulfill promises to my clients. I hate letting people down!
Aaron: There are times, but that's life, right? There's always going to be a week that requires more attention than the other.
What Part of Trying to Maintain Your Work-Life Balance Causes You the Most Stress?
Robyn: I think it's more the internal stress I put on myself to try and do it all. I definitely suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so I end up with a packed work and personal schedule. I have a lot of days where I run from a site visit to a pre-con and then try to also squeeze in time with relatives when they're visiting from out of town or attend a friend's baby shower.
Aaron: Honestly, trying to fit it all in and making the time.
How Do You Carve out Your "Me Time?"
Aaron: It's all about balance and finding what works for you. I'm an early riser, so I tend to get to work earlier than I have to…especially if I know I'm in for a hectic day. This allows me to leave at a reasonable hour and have my evenings. I typically plan my weeks out as best as I can, knowing if I have client meetings especially, and scheduling my dates and friends around that. But, of course, it all has to be flexible since that schedule is always changing.
Robyn: Monthly massages are my way of zoning out and relaxing/recharging. I also like to ride my bike to the beach for a good mental break!
What Keeps You Motivated?
Robyn: My teammates! My office calls ourselves "framily"—the support we give each other to achieve our clients' goals keeps me motivated. I'm lucky enough to work with some of my best friends! Also, my boyfriend is incredibly support of my career. Even though it's hard for someone who is not in our crazy industry to fully understand what we do, if you don't have a great support system away from work, it's very hard to flourish!
Aaron: That sense of reward…it reminds me that all those long hours are truly worth it. "Work Hard, Play Harder," right?
For Our Recently Promoted Teammates…
What Was the Driving Force Behind Wanting to Take on This New Role?
Janice: I've had the opportunity to hold many positions successfully during my time at Hello!, and those experiences now allow me to lead a team with a deep understanding of the needs and expectations for each role. I felt ready for these new responsibilities and confident that I could succeed!
Kaitie: I was ready to advance in the company and my career. Product Development Manager was a role I was passionate about pursuing, and when the opportunity presented itself, I was excited to dive in.
Did You Find It Daunting to Move to a New Place?
Kaitie: The physical part of moving with two small children, yes! But the thought of moving to San Diego (one of my favorite cities) was not daunting at all, and we're now much closer to my parents and my twin sister's family. So it was a win-win for all!
Janice: It was as terrifying as it was exciting. I've always enjoyed new experiences and always knew in the back of my mind that I needed to work outside of Orlando, where I essentially grew up. However, since this move impacted my entire family, there were a lot of unknowns that added an element of fear!
How Did You Balance Your Current Workload with Preparing for Your Promotion?
Janice: There was no balance really, but the timing worked in my favor. We made the decision right after an especially busy time, so operationally, things were more manageable. As soon as I made the decision, I started documenting my day-to-day activities to review them with my successor. At the same time, I started getting copied on communications for Hello! Texas to start getting familiar with their world. The fact that it was a gradual transition helped as well. There's definitely been a learning curve in navigating a new city, but Hello!'s processes, workflows, and core values are familiar territory!
Kaitie: I must admit that it was a bit overwhelming at first. I began to slowly transition my work for Hello! Las Vegas and dove right into learning and working on information for the Hello! California (Southern) office.
What's Been Your Biggest Struggle in Making the Change?
Kaitie: I would say going from an office that covered one destination to an office that serves multiple ones. And in California, those destinations are massive!
Janice: Finding the right place to live. They say everything is bigger in Texas for a reason! The city and its surrounding areas are very spread out, which translates to hundreds of neighborhoods. I purchased a home in December 2018 and so far, so good!
How Do You Maintain Your Work-Life Balance Now That You're in Your New Role and a New Location?
Janice: There is no true balance; you do what you need to do in order to satisfy both your work and family requirements. I look at each day individually and work my schedule based on what's happening. Sometimes that means I have to work late, but other days it means I need to leave early to make that soccer game.
Kaitie: I make sure to unplug from time to time. When I come home at night I make sure I don't look at my computer or emails until my kids are asleep. I also try to become more familiar with the area each and every weekend, if possible. I'll take my kids to a new part of the city or try a new restaurant. It gives us quality time together and I'm slowly becoming an expert in the city we live in.
What Challenges Have You Encountered in Integrating Your Promotion with Being a Mom as Well?
Kaitie: As a mom of two sweet little boys (16 months and 4.5 years)…and maybe others can attest to this, too…we are everything to everyone and as a Product Development Manager, I feel the same way. So taking some time for myself is my biggest challenge I would say.
Janice: Since I'm the General Manager for all of Texas, that means I have to travel to Austin to support that team as well. I miss the kiddos terribly, but I make sure to keep in touch and share what I'm up to with them while I'm out of town. They both have phones so I text them pictures and my observations along the way!
Thanks for joining us as we shared some real-life insight into how our teammates navigate the struggle for work-life balance. We’re here to make things easier for our clients, which translates to less time stressing about details and more time getting back to the things (and people) you love.
Contact us to learn how we can make a great deal of effort seem effortless for you.