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Successful women give their tips for balancing a family and a career

With the growth in employers offering flexible working patterns, part-time opportunities, plus greater support, it’s possible to balance the needs of a family with your career and learning ambitions.

We were inspired by the examples of these five successful women who have spoken about their experiences of climbing the career ladder whilst balancing the responsibilities of family life.

Here’s the advice they had to share.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook; 10th Most Powerful Woman in the World (Forbes), 2 children

“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work…. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself—honest about my strengths and weaknesses—and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time,” Sandberg said of the blurring of her professional and family life.

Jessica Herrin, Founder of Stella & Dot, a company that has helped create 34,000 small businesses for women, 2 children

“I have set clear boundaries around family and work, and I get home for dinner with my kids. Most important, I am present when I am home with my kids. It’s the quality of time, not just the quantity that matters. Stop feeling guilty about not saying yes to everything and stop trying to be perfect. I say no to any school-related volunteer activities that do not directly involve being in the same room and interacting with my kids.”

Michelle Pergament Visser, Founder and CEO of Ayablu Incorporated, an independent licensor of Burt’s Bees Baby, 2 children

“I’m not a believer in balancing – rather, blending my personal and my professional life,” she says. “I am immensely proud of both and like to share one with the other.” Visser says of the family-friendly work environment she’s created.

Naomi Whittel, Founder of Reserveage Organics and QVC Personality, 2 children

“Don’t be afraid to mix it up. I feel we need to reject the idea that these areas must be separate but equal. With today’s technological advances, I can go from a video conference call to a school recital and then jump on a plane by mid-morning. Finding the right way to intermingle your life and being okay with that is the key,” she says.

Liz Wiseman, Oracle Advisor, Executive, Author, 4 children

“I started to realize I’m leading at work, and I’m leading at home, and the skill set is no different. Making sure you plan ahead and have strict schedules helps you keep things under control at the office and at home.

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