Boardroom Boundaries And The Women Who Break Them
It’s a week like any other. On Thursday morning, she’s heading up a team meeting to finalize the social media plan for one of the many iconic brands she represents (one you’ve probably heard of and liked on Facebook). She spends the rest of the day making critical decisions for her clients and the teams that report to her.
As the Director of Social Communications for the world’s largest PR firm, Jackie Danicki rarely has a moment to herself during the work week. Each meeting adds priorities to her never-ending to-do list. But she loves it. During the few minutes she snags for lunch on Friday, she whips out her smartphone and scans casually through flight options. After a few minutes of that, she hurries off for the one o’clock in which she’ll be making the pitch for a prospective client.
And just as many stressed, successful and weekend-hungry female executives at the end of the day on Friday, Danicki takes off.
Only she’s not taking off in the direction of home to spend time with the kids or relax on the couch with a good book. By some time on Saturday, this female executive wakes up in Cairo. Or Israel. Or Africa. It is a week like any other, after all.
Danicki is part of a growing subset of accomplished executive women who have discovered that the boardroom is simply not enough. While most women who earn their spot at the table enjoy a good challenge at the office (that’s usually one of the requirements to get there in the first place), this particular group of women also have adrenaline, curiosity and ambition pumping through their blood all the time. All the time as in Monday…all the way through Sunday.
Take for instance, Raquel Castillo, Media Director of Growthink, Inc, a business planning firm and investment bank. Castillo learned early in her career that she needed an intense hobby not just for the benefits of fitness but also as a stress reliever. When she lived in New York City, she was a professional Latin dancer (if you don’t think this is extreme, try out her heels some time!). After moving away from the city, she had to find something new. That’s when she discovered rowing.
What started as a curiosity has blossomed into a lifestyle. When Castillo leaves her team at the office, she jumps on board with her rowing team and competes regularly with them. In fact, they won the regatta they competed in just last summer. And just like so many other women who need more challenge than the boardroom can provide – Castillo says, “It feels great being a winner at work during the week and then a rowing champ on the weekends!”
Statistics show that the average runner of the marathon is an affluent, college-educated woman who logs more than 1,300 miles a year in training. I took this statistic and dug a little deeper into the life of that woman and learned that marathons are just the tip of the iceberg. Because women today are different. As we all know, many are taking longer to get married and have children in order to push their careers farther. These same women are also taking on more challenging activities to push themselves farther.
According to fellow Forbes Contributor, J. Maureen Henderson, the millennial woman today is also very different, with 94% believing they can achieve a balance in their personal and professional lives. And where are they getting this notion? Well, many got it from their norm-pushing moms. But even more are getting it from the women who came before them and are now part of the executive boards at the companies in which they work.
Some aren’t (or don’t want to be) as spontaneous as Danicki or as physically intense as Castillo. But they’re just as extreme. Like Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health, Nancy Steele. By day, Steele is responsible for the Los Angeles regions’ trusted hub for essential watershed research and analysis. She manages a team of 17 and a budget of $3 million with the ultimate goal of making Los Angeles a sustainable region. Challenge enough, right?
By night, however, Steele becomes a beekeeper. No, that’s not a typo. She’s a beekeeper. When Steele leaves her Executive Director hat at the office, she dons a protective one so she can manage 200 bees and 60 beehives alongside her husband in one of the most bee-friendly areas in the U.S. – Los Angeles. On weekends, you can find this successful woman at a co-op or farmer’s market selling her minimally-processed (and what sounds to be absolutely delicious) honey. Whereas some of the women in this story need an adrenaline-heavy past time, Steele prefers to remain connected to the earth and grounded to the land around her. It’s true that beekeeping is hard work and involves odd working hours. And when you couple that with the role she has at the Council, it’s all the more tedious – but Steele would never trade it.