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—and maybe a little obsessed—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, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
- The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
- Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
- Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.
No. 71: Emily Greenspan, Art Consultant
Where I live: Los Angeles
Job: Owner of TAG ARTS ART ADVISORY
Kids: A daughter, Phoebe, 11, and a son, Nolan, 14
Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Of course, without consciously realizing it though at first. I think we all make moves in our lives that ultimately help us to achieve balance…depending on our personal lives! My first job as an assistant editor at Elle Decor Magazine, when I was single, was amazing, fast paced and long hours, where I really learned how to get things done and get them done on a deadline. Then I got married and moved to London for two years because my husband was transferred for work. I was lucky to land a job with Polo Ralph Lauren in the buying department. I loved that job because it was very numbers oriented yet I was still dabbling in the design/fashion world. When we moved back to the States, I worked for my father at Newel Art Galleries, rounding out my background in the arts. I was selling decorative art and antiques, working with interior designers and architects to furnish residential and commercial projects. Then I had kids and took a break from working full-time to be a mother. This was wonderful but as soon as the kids were in school all day, I got bored. I wanted to be an adult again. That’s when I turned my hobby/passion of art collecting into a career. I had been buying contemporary art through the years, building a personal collection with my husband until one day it hit me—I could do art buying as a career and advise other people. Over the years, so many people had already asked me to help them navigate the art world, scout for them, negotiate for them, etc. that I knew I could turn it into a business. It was and is the perfect balance of my strengths and interests.
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
After I had children I tried to find a job that would be flexible enough so that I could balance family and career. After working in the constantly hectic business of magazines, what’s nice about my current job is that I work for myself so I can set my own hours and be available for my family if I need to be. I am able to set aside time for my clients whenever necessary, although sometimes my business correspondence happens after hours once the house is asleep. It’s much easier to send work emails at 11 p.m. than at 4 p.m. at the height of carpool!
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
It depends on how you define “having it all.” At first I thought “having it all” meant miraculously juggling work, kids, husband, friends, family, and “me” time with seamless ease. It took me a while to realize that truly “having it all” means happiness in my life no matter what I am doing or how much I have or don’t have on my plate… inner peace and true gratitude for my gifts of health, happiness, career, and family. We don’t have to be over-scheduled and successful at juggling all of that in order to feel as if we “have it all.”
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Sometimes it’s hard to accept that the balance in my life isn’t going to be the same everyday. There might be a curve ball that throws me off balance so I have to be ready for that, like something in my schedule might change unexpectedly so then everything else changes in my day—the domino effect.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I am trying to get better at letting things go and being more flexible (see the answer about being off balance!). I am also getting better at pausing… which really helps me maintain composure in many situations, both at home and with work. I realize that my first reaction is usually emotional so it helps to take a step back, maybe pause for 24 hours before coming to a conclusion about something. I can then move forward with a decision so my reactions are less emotional and reactive and instead more thoughtful and considered.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “Take life one day at a time.”
From your mother? “Ignore all the comments that may hurt your feelings and don’t retaliate—you will always come up smelling like a rose.”
From your spouse? “Unclench your fists.”
From your kids? All the advice I always give to them.
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?
There are so many things I would want to do, like take a hike up in the canyons where the views over LA are breathtaking, get my hair done (haha), watch bad TV without feeling guilty, but I think I would really want to go through my “Bucket List” and do adventurous things I don’t ever have time for like sky diving, surfing, wake boarding—all the crazy activities that I may never get to do or know how to do.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That I was going to marry my prom date.
What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
That I am finally older and wiser!
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Bill paying and FILING! I am the queen of organized piles…
Whose job do you wish you had?
Oprah Winfrey (talk show host and philanthropist), Anna Wintour (Vogue editor and fashion icon), Paula Cooper (influential art dealer and gallery owner), and Buddha—all rolled into one.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
The President of the United States.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, because when my son was in 4th grade he suggested I read it since he loved it so much!
What are you reading right now?
Whatever my book club is reading: this month it’s Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’m also reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton and Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I also skim Los Angeles Magazine, The LA Times, ArtNet News, Juxtapoz Magazine, and The Hollywood Reporter.
Activity? Watching Shark Tank.
Food? Graeter’s ice cream.
Website? The Soul Cycle website Mondays at noon.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
A daily inspirational quote and my emails.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can.
I wish I: was taller!
My kids: are the love of my life. I am so proud of them. I never thought I would or could feel so deeply for another human the way I feel everything along with them.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
I just read a great quote recently that I really like. I tend to write favorite quotes on sticky notes and put them up in my kids’ rooms so we can all share in the wisdom. It said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
Emily Greenspan is the owner of TAG ARTS ART ADVISORY, an art consulting firm providing knowledge, experience and comprehensive advice on the acquisition of contemporary artwork and the development of art collections to first-time buyers and established collectors. Her services include complete art management and guidance for private collectors, corporations, hotels, restaurants and other commercial spaces. She has been collecting contemporary art by emerging artists for over 20 years. Emily’s philosophy is to find artists early in their career and continue to buy them as they develop into the mid-career stage. She initially started her firm while living in New York but, having moved to the West Coast in 2011, she has now based her company in Los Angeles. Emily has been around the arts her whole life. Her father owned Newel Art Galleries, a prestigious antiques gallery in New York, where she worked for several years. Before that, she was an editor at Elle Decor.
Emily currently serves on several acquisition committees at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been involved with planning the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s annual INCOGNITO event. She has also been an active supporter of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT and has appeared numerous times on NBC’s Open House “Tips of the Trade” to share her art-world expertise. She also serves on the board of a non-proft organization called, CoachArt, which provides free lessons in the arts and athletics to children with chronic illnesses.
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 2: Veronica Beard, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 4: Lyss Stern, Mom-trepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 5: Lauren Slayton, Nutritionist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 6: Elizabeth Moyer, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 7: Annabel Monaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 8: Holly Gordon, Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 9: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 10: Jennifer Levinson, Jen’s List
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 12: Angela Santomero, Kids’ Media Creator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 13: Carola Donato, Yogi
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 14: Tiffany Washington, Pastry Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 15: Emily Giffin, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 16: Alana Sanko, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 17: Cara Lemieux, Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 18: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Authors
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 19: Nikki Mark, Author & Foundation Director
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 23: Stephanie Hirsch, Artist
My Times of India Interview on Work-Life Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 24: Whitney Dineen, Author/Baker
AmEx’s Sobbott on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 25: J0-Laine Duke-Collins, Dessert Stylist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 26: Whitney English, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 27: Jennifer Gooch Hummer, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 29: Nigel Marsh, Author and Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 30: DayNa Decker, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 31: Amy Selling, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 32: Heather Sonnenberg, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 33: Allison Winn Scotch, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 34: Bibi Kasrai, Entrepreneur and Chef
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 35: Karen Sutton MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 37: Pam Yudko, Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT| No. 38: Nancy Huang, Nonprofit Outreach Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 39: Mary Laura Philpott, Writer, Editor and Illustrator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 40: Towanda Long, Marketing Communications Specialist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 41: Kristyn Kusek Lewis, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 42: Tracy Pollan, Actor and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 43: Christianne Phillips, Fitness Consultant and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 44: Susannah Lewis, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 45: Kimi Culp, Producer, Author and Creative Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 46: Traci Bild, Entrepreneur
The Balance Project Interview Series Turns 1!
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 47: Laura Vanderkam, Journalist and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 48: Amy Tara Koch, Style Expert and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 49: Cozy Friedman, Kids’ Hair Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 50: Bobbii Hach-Jacobs, Music Promoter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 51: Niketa Jhaveri, Game Creator and Web Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 52: Sheri Silver, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 53: Lori Pollan, Cookbook Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 54: Chatón Turner, Attorney and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 55: Joanne Wilson, Investor and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 56: Nicola Kraus, Author and Creative Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 57: Shiri Sarfati, Marketing Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 58: Audrey McClelland, Entrepreneur and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 59: Jessica Lahey, Writer and Teacher
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 60: Lindsay Bressler, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 61: Marie Claire Lim Moore, Banker, Author and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 62: Stacey Ballis, Novelist and Cookbook Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 63: Amy Hochhauser: Co-Founder, JoyRide Cycling Studio
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 64: Molly Sims, Actress, Author and Humanitarian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 65: Colleen Oakley, Writer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 66: Nichole Montoya, CEO of Cheddar Up
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 67: Eileen Palma, Author and Instructor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 68: Adina Grigore, Founder of S.W. Basics
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 69: Dana Pollan, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 70: Melissa Hawks, Owner, The Well Appointed House