Upstate women weigh in on balancing career, family - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate women weigh in on balancing career, family

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Committee members and an honoree at the Women Making History awards dinner. (Mar. 29, 2013/FOX Carolina) Committee members and an honoree at the Women Making History awards dinner. (Mar. 29, 2013/FOX Carolina)

Can women have it all - a family and a successful career?

It's a question that's been put in the spotlight by former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan, who recently said she regrets letting her Wall Street career keep her from having a family and personal life.

Several successful business women recognized at the Women Making History awards dinner shared their perspective on the issue Tuesday night, when the TD Convention Center was filled with women who are working mothers and wives. 

"My personal approach was to integrate my children into my career experience and allow myself to be a role model, which is a part of parenting," said Ava Smith.

Smith is a mother of three with three businesses. She was among the honorees because of her business and community leadership in the Upstate.

Like many women in the room, some said balance and priorities are key.

"You have so many people that have success," said Marcia Williams. "They are making a lot of money, they have a position, but they are not fulfilled because they don't have the people there to support them. They are missing something."

Williams was a track and field head coach at Clemson University, is a mother to five children, a wife and now a business owner. She said without family, she wouldn't have the support she needs for her career.

"People, when they get to the end of their life, you don't have anybody saying 'I should have worked harder or I should have worked longer hours,'" Williams said. "You have people say, 'I wish I would have taken more time to meet that special person and start a family so I can have someone with me at the end of my life to enjoy this with."

But women also emphasize that deciding to pursue a career over a family, or vice versa, is a decision, not a sacrifice.

"I don't think you should ever regret what you decide to do," said Lisa Uldrick, who is a wife, mother of two and has been a mortgage banker for more than 30 years. "I think when you have a burning passion for something - no matter what your life is like at that moment - I think you should just go for it."

Whether it's to have a family, a career or both, women say they are positioned to do it all with a little something called balance.

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