THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 127: Jennifer Rispoli Hildebrand, Tax Director

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. 127: Jennifer Rispoli Hildebrand, Tax Director


*This interview is part of a series on women in tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers in conjunction with a presentation I am giving to their Metro Women in Tax group on December 15, 2015.

 

Age: 37
Where I live:
 Staten Island, NY
Job: Tax Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers
Kids: 2 daughters, Juliana, 4, and Kaitlyn, 9

jenjpgHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Yes, after having my first child I went back to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 3 days a week. As I became acclimated to being a new parent I added on one day from home, thereby working 4 days a week. After adjusting to life and a career with 2 children and having both children in school, I added a second day of working from home to my schedule. I am now back to a full-time schedule however spending most days working from home. This is still considered a flexible work arrangement at PwC.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Yes, I think it’s realistic if you come to terms that it it will take you a bit longer to have “it all” when balancing a career and being a mother who is present in your children’s lives almost all of the time. I am where I’d like to be in my career; however, it took me longer than my peers. And I am class mom to my daughter’s Pre-K class and present for all school activities. I have an amazing husband. In my view and my life—that’s having it all.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
“Fun time” at home with my children and ” date nights” with my husband. I enjoy my family when we are out and doing our daily routines. However when I’m home I work often. So between home chores and daily routines, plus ensuring I am as dedicated to my work as someone who is physically in an office, I don’t carve out a lot of fun time sitting on the floor and playing with my kids. The days and nights fly by us, and we rarely enjoy date nights as well.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Working from home more during work hours than during after hours. When I work from home I tend to turn my computer on at 7am and not shut it down until 10pm—making myself a slave to checking my emails and keeping on top of everything the moment it happens. While I think my project management skills are strong because of this, I am trying to not be glued to emails and my computer for longer than I would in the office. I am trying harder to “shut down” earlier at night when there aren’t any pressing client demands or deadlines.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I am very reliant on my calendar. I put everything on it, even if it’s a personal chore. Then I try my hardest to stick to the times in the calendar and begin deleting activities as I complete them. This is my one place that I can see everything I need to do—whether it be picking up a class snack for my daughter or a client conference call. I am also extremely diligent about my emails. I try to keep on top of them daily to ensure I don’t miss anything and I don’t leave people waiting for responses. I file emails in appropriate folders after they are read.  If something needs my attention but not immediately I leave it unread and file it in the client folder it belongs.  At least once a day I visit each client folder to ensure all emails have been addressed.  

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From your mother? “Do your best, but remember you can’t do everything and that’s fine.”
From your spouse/partner? “I’m here for whatever you need.” And “I’ve got it covered.”
From your kids? “Mommy—you have to just sit and cuddle with us.”

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?
Getting my nails done. Finding an hour to myself is hard, and I can’t get my nails done without my 2 little girls wanting to come with me.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
“Waiting to do something until you can be sure of doing it exactly right means waiting forever.” Thinking back, when I was 20 I thought I had no time to do things when in reality it’s now that I have no time!

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
I hope to know how well I can handle change.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cleaning.

Whose job do you wish you had?
Public relations for celebrities.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
A dentist’s.

Favorite book?
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.

What are you reading right now?
Unfortunately nothing at the moment—haven’t had time to pick out my next book!

Biggest vices…
Activity? Shopping.
Food?
 French fries.
Website? 
Amazon—free shipping and you can buy anything!

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8.

What do you read every morning?
My emails and then the latest news updates on abc.com.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: worry about the “what if’s” in life too often.
I wish I: had more patience in life—I get too worked up, and due to everyday stresses I lose my patience with my children more quickly than I should.
My kids: are my world.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” —Audrey Hepburn. And “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

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093About Jennifer:
JS_BusinessCard_Front_FINAL
Jennifer is a tax director for PricewaterhouseCoopers working in the New York office on Madison Avenue. She works in the industry services group, doing federal and state tax compliance on large, multinational corporations.  She has been with PwC for 15 years and worked in the same group since she started her career there. Jennifer is an enrolled agent with the IRS and graduated St. John’s University with her bachelors and masters in accounting. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY and now lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, children, and very friendly golden retriever.

Find out more about Jennifer:
Facebook: Jennifer Rispoli Hildebrand
Twitter: @ohx81
Instagram: jrispoli010197
Pinterest: jrispoli010197

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

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