Last night, in the company of HD magazine’s editor-in-chief and managing editor, I attended the HD magazine sponsored IIDA NY Hospitality Forum event, Can We Have it All? How Successful Leaders in Hospitality Balance Work and Family. The panel was hosted and moderated by Architectural Systems president Nancy Jackson, and took place in their Manhattan showroom, a cozy foil to the biting chill outside. The turnout was great despite the weather, which I think says a lot about our industry’s interest in this topic. In a competitive, fast-moving work environment—in one of the most competitive, fast-moving cities in the world—it’s more topical than ever to discuss how we manage both our work and our personal lives, achieving a balance that leaves us content, fulfilled, and dare I say, happy.
The panelists, each of whom had children, highly successful careers in hospitality design, and strong opinions: Francesca Bucci of BG Studio; Heather Maloney of King and Grove; Sara Duffy of Stonehill & Taylor Architects, and husband and wife duo Bruno Viterbo of Las Vegas Sands and Jennifer Mehditash of Mehditash Design LLC offered up their personal stories, go-to stress relievers, organizational plans, and even regrets in a warm and funny conversation that had many in the audience simultaneously laughing, clapping, and shaking their heads knowingly. As a childless woman with my own atypical (see: long distance) family unit, I was fascinated to hear how children changed (and didn’t change) their lives, and how they make time for the things that are important in life, whether those things are vacations, ballet recitals, or business meetings in Asia.
What I appreciated the most, though, was the discussion of what balance, success, and happiness really means to you. So often, we judge our lives by what we think are conventional measures of success: how much money we make, how glamourous our jobs are, how many classes are kids are enrolled in; it should be up to us to determine what success means in our lives—although this is a trickier concept than you’d think. Finally, there’s often a fine line between constantly striving to improve yourself and never being happy with where you are; ambitious people (upon whose backs our industry thrives) often have a hard time discerning the difference. But there is a difference, and somewhere between those two points is where we can find excitement, happiness, growth, and fulfillment.