THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 143: Kate Leroux, Geographic Information Systems Analyst

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. 143: Kate Leroux, Geographic Information Systems Analyst

Age: 41
Where I live:
 Seattle, WA
Job: GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Analyst
Kids: One daughter, age 10

kate-SPU-font-mapHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Since 2009 I’ve negotiated a 30-hour work week (with my current and previous employers). A shorter workday makes me more focused and productive, and those extra 10 hours a week make an enormous difference in my quality of life. I would also not work in a position that didn’t offer at least the occasional flexibility to attend school events or take my child to appointments.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think you can have SOME of everything, but you need to accept that you can’t have ALL of everything. In my life, I have a shorter workday than most and less time with my daughter than most (because of shared custody).

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I still struggle to find enough time for that personal to-do list which I’m only barely on top of. I’d like to be able to find a regular time to do things like answer emails, organize pictures and videos, and so on.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m pretty good at getting the most out of each area of my life when it’s happening. For example, when I have my daughter, I try to focus on her and the quality of our time. When I’m at work, I minimize distractions and downtime so I’m as productive as possible.

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 use Trello to organize my life and collaborate with my husband. I have boards for work to-dos, personal to-dos, family to-dos, holiday gift planning, trip planning, and reference. We even used it to plan our wedding!

I’d also like to recommend the household system my husband and I created. For six weeks one of us is in charge of keeping track of all the little things (bills, scheduling, chores, to-dos) and making sure it all gets remembered and done. Then we switch. We call the person on duty the President, so it sounds like something cool (the name actually makes a difference). This system means that we’re both familiar with everything that goes into running our lives, and half the time I can actually stop doing that endless mental stream of remembering/reminding/keeping track.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From your spouse? No matter how busy you are, there’s always time for a hug and a kiss.
From your daughter? My daughter has really taken to heart what her school has taught her about emotional understanding and control, as well as what we teach at home about empathy. Some of her best advice has been her perfectly timed delivery of these guidelines back to me when I’m struggling with my own emotions.

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?
I have that hour! It’s my 30-minute bus ride, and I use it to read (because the bus is too crowded to work on a computer). Since I started this commute, I’ve been loving the chance to read so many books.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
How to not take things personally at work.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
How to develop a healthy and loving adult relationship with my daughter—from 10, where she is now, through adolescence and into adulthood.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
It would be nice to have a permanent secretary to be in charge of the “President” tasks (see above: bills, scheduling, chores, to-dos).

Whose job do you wish you had?
I’m happy where I am. I recently changed career direction to focus on GIS (geographic information systems). I’d like to be a full-time cartographer, which is what I’m working toward now.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I’m especially grateful to restaurant servers, who are constantly on their feet, have to deal with all kinds of behavior, and usually work nights. I’m glad that’s not my job, and always try to be polite to them and tip well.

What are you reading right now?
I’m working my way through the 2015 Tournament of Books list, though I’m taking a detour to read a Philip K. Dick novel (Ubik) recommended by a friend.

Biggest vices…
Activity?
 I find it hard to get much done later in the evening so I often watch TV or play a video game with my husband.
Food? Wine.
Website? I try to stay away from it, but if I venture to Quora, I fall into a rabbit hole that can last an hour or more.

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

What do you read every morning?
The Seattle Times. Yes, an actual newspaper made of dead trees. The large format is easy to digest quickly, and I support their investigative journalism.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am at the best point in my life so far. I know myself and how to navigate the world, I have love in my life, respect from others, and a satisfying professional life.
I wish I: didn’t have to watch my food intake so carefully.
My daughter: is the best. I’m so glad I get to be her mother.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Getting enough exercise is very important to me. My preferred way is to play sports (like soccer), because my team is counting on me to be there.

Kate's story is featured in the new documentary by Vlada Knowlton: HAVING IT ALL (available on Amazon)

Kate’s story is featured in the new documentary by Vlada Knowlton: HAVING IT ALL (available on Amazon)

About Kate:
Kate Leroux has worked in the IT/software industry for almost 20 years, and her hair has been green for 13 years. She’s stepped out of the workforce three times in her career so far: once to travel, once to stay home with her toddler, and once to attend school for a career change. Throughout her career, she’s relied on and invested in the power of networking and personal connections. Outside of work, Kate enjoys weekly pub trivia, playing soccer, board games, flying trapeze, and running her own email server and website.

NOTE FROM SUSIE: Kate’s story is featured in Vlada Knowlton’s documentary HAVING IT ALL, available on Amazon. According to the filmmaker, the purpose of the film is to “offer a new perspective for thinking about the work/life model that has been created for not only women, but all working parents in our modern culture. Hopefully it will also contribute toward new solutions for dealing with this challenge as individuals, as well as a society. Most of all, we hope this film simply offers a compelling story about three people trying their best to understand themselves and their limits, in a world that has encouraged them to strive toward having it all.”

Find out more about Kate:
www.mynameiskate.com
Twitter: @kateler
Instagram: @kateleroux

 

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

Related Posts
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
T
HE 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
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 71: Emily Greenspan, Art Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 72: Michelle Hodges, Software Executive and See Girl Be Founder
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 73: Kendra Basner Mallen, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 74: Alysa Bajenaru, Dietitian and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 75: Anita Shepherd, Founder of Anita’s Yogurt
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 76: Dana Marlowe, President of IT Consulting Firm
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 77: Jill Royster, Marketing Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 78: Debra Olshan Cooper, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 79: Zainab Zaki, Technology Product Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 80: Marisa de los Santos, Novelist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 81: Kamy Wicoff, Writer and Publisher
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 82: Kristy Woodson Harvey, Writer and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 83: Jane Green, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 84: Meredith Schorr, Author and Paralegal
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 85: Melissa Marks Papock, Founder of Cabana Life
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 86: Cindy Chupack, TV Writer/Producer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 87: Betsy Ames, Founder of Mindful Style
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 88: Erin Baebler, Author, Writer and Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 89: Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin, Founders of theSkimm
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 90: Heather Bauer, Dietitian and Founder of Bestowed
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 91: Jennifer O’Regan, Teacher, Coach, Book Champion
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 92: Debbie Major, CEO of Zylofone and Performer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 93: Dorie Clark, Marketing Strategist, Author, Speaker, Professor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 94: Peggy Davenport, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 95: Terrianne Patnode, Attorney
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 96: Jillian Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 97: Gillian Zoe Segal, Author and Photographer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 98: Pauline Nakios, Apparel Company Owner
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 99: Jessie Rosen, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 100: Reese Witherspoon, Actor/Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 101: Elyssa Friedland, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 102: Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper, Running Coaches
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 103: Jackie Kolek, Communications Executive
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 104: Stacy Sukov Blackman, MBA Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 105: Nancy Easton, Wellness in the Schools Executive Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 106: Lisa Sugar, POPSUGAR Founder and Editor in Chief
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 107: Bobbi Rebell Kaufman, Reuters Anchor and Reporter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 108: Jennifer Berson, PR Executive
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 109: Jo-Ná Williams, Attorney and IP/New Business Advisor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 110: Susan Ascher, Author, Coach and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 111: CC Minton, Author and Health Advocate
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 112: Sara Blakely, Founder of SPANX
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 113: Courtney Nichols Gould, Co-Founder & Co-CEO SmartyPants Vitamins
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 114: Kristy Wallace, COO of Ellevate Network
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 115: Kimra Luna, Personal Branding & Online Business Strategist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 116: Jenna Segal, Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 117: Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, Media Specialist/Career Expert
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 118: Khanh Nguyen, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 119: Sarah Marie Martin, Investment Banker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 120: Julie Fasone Holder, Management Advisor
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 121: Georgene Huang, Founder of Fairygodboss
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 122: Jordana Holovach, Branding Consultant
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 123: Lindsey Mead, Executive Recruiter
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 124: Kelley Spoljaric, Co-Founder and CMO of ComfortCam
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 125: Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 126: Ria Ruthsatz, Film Producer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 127: Jennifer Rispoli Hildebrand, Tax Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 128: Noelle Smith, Tax Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 129: Loredana Pfannenbecker, Tax Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 130: Cherylanne Skolnicki, Life Design Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 131: Melissa Plaskoff, Host of Carpool Talk Show
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 132: Monica Reccoppa, Finance Manager
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 133: Jenna Blum, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 134: Cristina Alger, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 135: Katie Brown: Founder/Owner of Fashion Line KBLA
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 136: Aidan Donnelley Rowley, Novelist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 137: Kimberla Lawson Roby, Author and Speaker
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 138: Karma Brown, Author and Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 139: Maria Adcock, Writer and Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 140: Randi Zuckerberg, Entrepreneur and Radio/TV Host
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 141: Olivia Lane Lovejoy, Wellness Educator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 142: Phoebe Tisdale Andrews, VP Production at FOX

Leave A Comment