THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 129: Loredana Pfannenbecker, 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. 129: Loredana Pfannenbecker, 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: 43
Where I live:
 Woodbridge, CT
Job: Tax Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers
Kids: Two daughters, ages 8 and 12

HeadshotHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
When my first daughter was born I adjusted my schedule to only work 40 hours and work one day from home. (We had overtime requirements and I took a small cut in pay in order to only be responsible for 40 hours per week.) I also have a longer commute (1.5 hours each way), and being able to work from home was a huge benefit.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think “having it all” is individual and means something different for each person. In my case, what is important to me is balancing family life and work aspirations. I do believe that I have both—and although it is sometimes exhausting, it is attainable and what works for me.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Boundaries—I seem to always “be on” for work/clients. I have a hard time disconnecting in the evenings and weekends and have been put in my place by my 8-year-old on several occasions. Part of my issue is that my personal email/phone is the same as my work email/phone so I am constantly checking messages.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
When trying to balance family and work responsibilities, I was finding that I was not focusing on “me.”  I have made a concerted effort recently to start working out with a trainer a few times a week.

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 have started to physically block out time on my calendar if I need to leave early or need to finish something. This allows me to get things done or manage my schedule better. If I leave my calendar fully open, it fills up quickly.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From your mother?
 “Take it gently. Take it one moment at a time.”
From your spouse/partner? “We are a team. We are in this together.”
From your kids? “Mom, put down your phone!” (eeks…)

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?
Cooking, reading, music.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
How hard juggling everything would actually become. It is one thing to manage just my schedule, but when you have a family and have to figure out multiple people’s schedules it can be challenging and overwhelming.  The older my children become, the more challenging it becomes.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
How to not take so much on my shoulders or personally. I hope I have finally learned to disconnect better and live in the moment.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
MORNINGS!

Whose job do you wish you had?
Carol Taubl’s. She is the director of a choir that my girls and I belong to. She is an amazing piano player, and she is so inspirational for so many. She can sit at the piano and just play. She brings such happiness to so many people’s lives through music. It is fun and peaceful all in one!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
A politician’s!

Favorite book?
Lately, feel good/easy reads are high on my list. I need something to unwind and not add to the stress: books by Debbie MacomberSusan Mallery, and Kristin Hannah (not so light).

What are you reading right now?
The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall. (REALLY!)

Biggest vices…
Activity? 
Facebook.
Food?
 Cheese.
Website? 
Facebook.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
6…I am a sleeper and even that is not enough for me.

What do you read every morning?
Emails are the first thing I check. If am commuting on the train, I do emails, Facebook, and theSkimm. Unless I have a book…then I do emails and book.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am finally getting comfortable with change!
I wish I: enjoyed working out.
My kids: are my everything.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
 “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”

About Loredana:
Loredana is a Director in the Metro New York State and Local Tax (“SALT”) practice and serves as the Metro New York Leader of the National Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (“AUP”) practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”).  She has 15 years of experience serving clients for unclaimed property issues in various industries. Loredana received a Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York at Albany and a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law.

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

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