Last year, I had and incredibly exciting opportunity to meet fashion icon Cynthia Rowley and talk to her about one of my favorite topics, work life balance.
I attended the William Blair Annual Woman’s Leadership Luncheon where Cynthia and designer Mario Pinto were on a panel to discuss how they found their success as designers and business women. It was packed full of business women, journalists and budding designers all trying to get a glimpse into world of fashion and pick up a few business tips along the way.
Cynthia emphasized the need to constantly be re-inventing, reimagining, rethinking and evolving to grow. This was not only with her brand, but with her business and how she operates as a leader. Constantly challenging the status quo and thinking of new ways to work is not an easy task, but necessary to stay at the top.
While there were so many great points made about managing a business and how she expanded her brand, I was most intrigued by my one on one conversation with her after the session ended.
I waited patiently for a few moments to talk direct with Cynthia about another challenge I knew she faced, how she juggles it all with her family and business. It was without hesitation that she responded that she was surprised nobody asked about this in the Q&A, but it was a challenge for sure. She approached her work life balance like she approached her business, with progressive thinking to create an environment where both her business and family could thrive. In New York, she set up her offices close to her home so that she and her husband could manage the logistics of her demanding schedule. Beyond designing clothes and products, she works hard at designing her schedule to be there for the important things for her family, while meeting the business expectations as well. She was insightful, kind and genuine in her support to other women to inspire them to create their own success.
This conversation stuck with me as I faced my own challenges and decisions in how I design my balance and career decisions. This year, I faced a job change and I took her advice. I set up my new offices for my consulting business close to home and created a small workspace for my kids to come after school to do their homework on days that they don’t have activities. I changed how I flex my schedule so that I can finally enroll in that exercise class that I’ve been thinking about for years, but never thought I could fit in. I ditched the traditional office look and made the space inspiring and beautiful so that I looked forward to going to work and think creatively about my work. Most importantly, I realized that it’s easy to stay in the box of the traditional way of working, but when we open our mind to new ideas in how we can create our own success, the sky is the limit of what we can accomplish.
Check out Cynthia’s beautiful new line of dresses and accessories at www.CynthiaRowley.com.