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The second night of SJ Magazine’s Women’s Empowerment Series was another tremendous success. An audience of nearly 200 women listened to five successful working moms who shared their personal stories of what it’s like to have a career while raising a family. The evening’s topic was: “Balancing Work and Family – Leaning In Without Falling Over.” Click here for tickets to the remaining panels.

 

 

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Panelists:

Brenda J. Bacon
President/CEO, Brandywine Living

N.J. State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego

Renee Kendzierski, DO
Women’s Imaging Specialist, South Jersey Radiology Associates

Angela Rubino Hines
President, Rubino Service Company

 

On guilt…

When my daughter was in preschool, my husband would pick her up from school. He was a little more flexible with his job. One day she said to me, “Why do all the other moms pick their kids up and you don’t pick me up?” She thought I didn’t like her.
– Renee Kendzierski

 

marianneWhen my son was in third or fourth grade, I was working in the governor’s office, and we were having a meeting with the governor and the heads of the legislature, and it was a pretty contentious meeting. I was going on a class trip with my son that day. I stayed in the meeting about 10 minutes longer than I should have, and when I got to school, they were loading the kids onto the bus. My son was crying like a baby. It broke my heart. I still hardly can talk about it without tearing up. I ran to him immediately, and I said, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” And he said, “Mommy, I thought they were going to leave you.”

One of the things I think about all the time and I try to tell my women executives is that 10 minutes isn’t worth it. You’ll never remember that meeting you missed. It may seem like the all-important meeting of the world, but you need to be where you need to be and where your child expects you to be, if you can.
– Brenda Bacon

 

I had a lot of guilt in the beginning, and it was really hard for me. It lessened over time, and I learned to accept what I needed to do and where I needed to be. I realized that my kid was never going to be 9 again. So I said, “This is what I’m going to do with my life, and this is how I’m going to do it,” and then the guilt stopped. It’s very hard. It’s very, very difficult.
– Angela Hines

 

I never felt guilty, because I knew I was doing what I had to do to provide a life for my daughter.
– Dawn Marie Addiego

 

 

On building a village…

I remember going to school for a holiday party where you decorated gingerbread houses. I didn’t know you were supposed to prepare the house ahead of time. My daughter is looking at me saying, “Why didn’t you build one?” Everybody else had one, but I didn’t know. But then I became friendly with some of the stay-at-home moms, and now they text me to tell me what’s coming up.
– Renee Kendzierski

 

I had to build a village around me to make sure somebody was always there for my daughter. Both my husband’s parents had passed away, and my mother is gone. I said to my dad, “Dad, you’re it. You’re all she has. When it’s grandparents’ day, you can’t work, you have to be there for her.”
– Dawn Marie Addiego

 

The first person in your village their father, who needs to take an active role. I remember times when my husband and I would pass each other on the Ben Franklin Bridge with one kid in one car, one in the other car, and we’d just go, “Oh, there’s Daddy.” But you do what you have to do.
– Brenda Bacon

 

 

On making it work…

I made a conscious decision that I was going to do everything in my power to be at all the major points in my daughter’s life. Once, she had a track meet on the day there was a vote in the Senate. I had somebody drive me up to the field entrance, and I ran out and waved to her as she ran by. Then I ran back to the car and went to the vote. She never knew when I left.
– Dawn Marie Addiego

 

You work it out day by day. My husband and I had very transactional conversations: “He’s got to be at soccer in Bordentown at 6 o’clock. She’s got to be in Philadelphia at 6:30. I’ll go here, you go there.” Goodbye, I’ll see you sometime tonight. My husband called it game-day decisions.
– Brenda Bacon

 

 

dawn-talkOn the role of fathers…

There is this idea of the first parent and the second parent. It’s a traditional way of thinking: Men go to work, and the women are flexible and take care of the babies. I used to say to my husband all the time, “There is no first and second parent, we’re both parents.” That way of thinking is changing a lot today.
– Brenda Bacon

 

I figured out early on that if you listed your cell phone number as school’s emergency contact, the nurse would call you first. I can’t handle all the phone calls at work, so I stopped putting my cell number. I would put his first! When something happened, he would say, “Did they call you?” And I was like, “Oh? No.”
– Renee Kendzierski

 

 

On the corporate environment…

I was in a meeting with our executives about a week ago, and one of my women executives has a son who had a soccer game at the same time. After the meeting she came running back and said, “He scored two goals! They won the game!” And I said, “What are you doing here? You know better.” Her work as an executive in our company is going to be proven many times over, but not in the couple hours she could have been at that soccer game. It shocked me she made that choice. I was pained by that she felt she had to be in that meeting rather than at that game.
– Brenda Bacon

 

When I first began practicing law, my vision was you worked 60, 70 hours a week, and I couldn’t take any phone calls, no personal time. But one rule at that law firm was if somebody’s child called, that call was put through; didn’t matter if you were in the middle of a deposition, you got the call. I would love to see more of that in business, but it seems businesses still revolve around men being at the top and setting the rules.
– Dawn Marie Addiego

 

_dsc7063I had one employee who was late every day – every day. So I brought him in and asked why he was always late and he told me he had to put his son on the bus. I said, “No problem,” and we changed his hours so he started later. That’s the culture we have, and it’s important to me.
– Angela Rubino Hines

 

 

On being on the outside…

When I go to the school to pick up the kids, I am the working mom and most of the moms are not. So I’m always standing by myself. It’s very hard.
– Angela Rubino Hines

 

 

Taking a business call around your kids…

One time I had to call a patient with results, and as soon as you tell my son, “Shh, Mommy has to make a phone call,” you’ll then hear the toy police sirens, ambulance sirens, everything. So I went out onto my porch because I knew he was coming with something, and I closed the door. It’s glass, and I’m on the phone, and he’s trying to open the door and I’m holding the door. I had to call the woman back. But I know he doesn’t understand.
– Renee Kendzierski

 

_dsc6945Everybody who I’ve had in my professional life is used to hearing my kids in the background. It’s part of the noise if you’re on the phone with me. My kids know everybody in my life; they did even when they were little. Sometimes they would meet somebody or they’d ask about someone, and I’d realize they were listening to those conversations or negotiations in the car on the way to ballet.
– Brenda Bacon

 

 

Finding time just for you…

I get up at 4:30 am and workout, because if I wait until later in the day, it’s not going to happen. I know I’ll feel better if I work out, and I’ll notice it if I don’t.
– Angela Rubino Hines

 

When my daughter was little, my girlfriend and I would go stay down Harrah’s for two nights. She wanted one night, but you don’t relax until the second. But even so, I had to force myself to be far enough away that I couldn’t get home easily, or else I wouldn’t get that time.
– Dawn Marie Addiego

 

 

Find time just for you…and your husband

I never feel guilty about going out with him. That’s my husband; I enjoy being with him. It’s important because after the kids are gone, you’re going to be left with him.
– Angela Rubino Hines

 

Our kids were never with sitters, because when you’re gone all day you feel guilty coming home and then going out again. So we kept it to a Saturday night. It was time for the two of us, and we promised we weren’t going to talk about the kids or work for the majority of the evening. But you end up doing that anyway.
– Brenda Bacon

 

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Click here to register for the third Women’s Empowerment panel on Nov. 7 at The Mansion.

Panelists include 6ABC Anchor Rick Williams; Rob Curley, South Jersey President of TD Bank; Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, Senior Executive V.P. at Cooper University Health Care; and Vince Maione, Region President of Atlantic City Electric. The topic is “Women in Business: A Man’s Point of View.”

To see more pictures from the second panel of our Women’s Empowerment Series, click here.

November 2016
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