THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 120: Julie Fasone Holder, Management Advisor

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 120: Julie Fasone Holder, Management Advisor

Age: 62
Where I live:
 Petoskey, Michigan
Job: Independent Board Member, Entrepreneur, and Management Advisor
Kids:
 Two daughters (ages 22 and 25)

JFHHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
I almost did mid-career until a wonderful leader intervened and told me I could do the new line role and still be a great worker, wife, and mother. He wanted me to try it and was willing to give me the chance. He definitely changed the trajectory of my career, and I am eternally grateful. I found that I could do each new role as I moved up and often had more control over my schedule the higher I rose.

Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I moved up from entry-level to the C suite of a Fortune 50 through my 34-year career. I had 13 roles in 34 years. I also had an incredibly supportive husband which was critical to my success.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think you can achieve your career dreams and your personal dreams—but perhaps not all at the same time. Life’s demands require trade-offs. Women sometimes get into a belief that life is black and white—and all or nothing—rather, it is shades of grey, and the trade off I make today is simply that—the decision I made today. We sometimes think that it will “always be this way” which can take us on a downward spiral.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
There are more opportunities than time. I’ve gotten a lot better at saying no over the years.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Setting priorities and being able to live with the guilt. You’re always guilty. When I’m at work, I want to be home. When I’m home spending time with my family, I know there are work demands waiting for me. I’m getting better at saying no if I’m not passionate about a project. Listening to my gut.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance? 
From a mentor/co-worker? 
“The guys travel because they want to— not because they need to. You can be incredibly efficient and not spend 70% of your time on the road.”
From your mother? “You’re smart and capable. You can do whatever you put your mind to.”
From your spouse/partner? 
“Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go back into battle. You can do it! They will notice.”
From your kids? “Put your priorities first! We love you.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Reading or exercising, hopefully outside.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That gender differences are real and that the way I approached my job/roles was different because I’m wired differently. It would have caused me less frustration when I felt like a fish out of water or encountered roadblocks. I have found gender research very empowering and now use the research from Catalyst and others to help women understand what the workplace rewards and how they can play.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
I am sixty! I have a portfolio career now, and I love it! I can do what I’m passionate about and say no if I’m not interested. I am a public company board member and started my own management advising firm, JFH Insights. I now coach women and companies on how to build and execute in an inclusive culture. I love being able to give back and help women learn from my mistakes and my success.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
We outsource a lot. As soon as I could afford it, I outsourced house cleaning so I could enjoy my weekends with my family.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I’ve always wanted to be a news broadcaster and interview interesting people.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
ANY political role.

Favorite books?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson, Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, How Remarkable Women Lead by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, and Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani.

What are you reading right now?
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.

Biggest vices…
Food? 
Chocolate!
Website? 
I love reading about gender research, and I enjoy staying current with friends on Facebook.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7.

What do you read every morning?
The Broadsheet, CNBC daily news, and Seeking Alpha.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am blessed and am so thankful that I can lead a life with so much meaning and fun.
I wish I: lived closer to my girls!
My kids: 
are beautiful inside and out and are accomplished young women who I am so proud of!

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“A leader is a dealer in hope.”

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logo-retina1About Julie:
JS_BusinessCard_Front_FINAL
Julie Fasone Holder retired as Senior Vice President of a Fortune 50 company. She is currently leveraging 30+ years of business success as an independent board member, entrepreneur, and founder of JFH Insights, a management advising company. She consults with corporations and organizations on diversity and inclusion strategies and coaches executive women. She has developed and delivers executive education programs for the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Management. She is passionate about helping women succeed and in helping companies learn how to better develop and use the talent their women provide.

Find out more about Julie:
www.jfhinsights.com
Linked In: jfasoneholder

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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