What One Boeing Executive Says She Does to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Gena Lovett shares tips on how she juggles work and family

(Image: Boeing)
(Image: Boeing)

During Shonda Rhimes 2014 commencement speech at Dartmouth University, the television producer and writer got honest about her thoughts on work–life balance.

“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life,” she said.

[Related: Simple Rules for Avoiding Havoc at Home for ‘Breadwinning’ Women]

Rhimes, who is a single mother of three, admitted that when she’s writing a script for Scandal she is likely missing out on story time at home and when she’s somewhere accepting a prestigious award she is probably missing her daughter’s first swim lesson. Her references to balancing motherhood and work may have been premature knowledge for much of the college audience at graduation, but it was knowledge that many of them will remember as they try to balance future families and careers of their own.

In an interview with BlackEnterprise.com, Gena Lovett, who serves as vice president of operations for Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security, dished advice on how she finds balance as a mother, wife, and executive in corporate America.

1. Choose quality over quantity: “I have friends who I love dearly and I don’t spend a ton of time with them, but the key is surrounding yourself with people who, if you see them six months or a year from now, you are able to pick up where you left off. With my husband and with my son we have understood over the years that it’s all about the quality time that we spend with each other.”

2. Get rid of the unrealistic expectations: “I have learned to forgive myself. I had a talk with God probably when my child was about three or four months old. I was on night shift as a young supervisor and I was leaving him in the afternoon and returning home at about 3 a.m. The understanding was that I was not going to place these unrealistic pressures on myself. I wanted a job in manufacturing. I thought I could have a career in it and I was going to give it my best. My child was going to always know I loved him. My husband was going to always know I loved him and I was going to release myself from that.”

3. Find out what works for you: “My son was an excellent baseball player and I learned to be OK with not attending every game, and the important thing is he was OK because he had his dad there. But the most important games, like the championship games, those games I was at. So it’s finding what works and understanding that [your] life is not like everyone else’s.”