This guest post comes from Cristina Canavesi, an Optics graduate student and one of the founding members of the Women in Engineering (WiE) group at the University of Rochester. WiE holds monthly brown bag lunches on topics like balancing career responsibilities and family, following a career path, and research.
On November 29th, the Women’s Forum of Kodak Employees (WFKE) organized a panel discussion and networking event at Eastman Business Park. WFKE has held several events for women in the past, but this was to my knowledge the first one open to the general public. I was made aware of this opportunity through a friend who works at RIT, and I couldn’t pass the chance to hear what prominent women leaders from Rochester and New York had to share.
Having attended a few women panel discussions at professional conferences and having organized one myself at the University, I wasn’t surprised to hear the panelists touch many of the familiar topics: work/life balance (is there one?); prioritizing; good and bad career advice; how the role of women has changed in the past decades. But then one of the panelists, Susan Roberts (Corporate Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Bausch + Lomb) passed on a piece of advice she’d gotten from another woman a few years back, and it resonated with me. I find myself complaining a lot about the stuff I have to do, stuff that I would gladly have someone else do at my place, but I have to take care of it myself. We all have that kind of stuff in our lives: house chores, doctor’s visits, service engagements… But instead of complaining that I have to do this and that, I should think of all the people in my life – and we all know several – that don’t get to do these things, because of illness and cancer. There are so many things that I get to do that they cannot, and would very much like to. It’s a small change in perspective, but I find it really helps to keep priorities straight.
Once again, it was proven to me that attending this type of event is always worthwhile, and I went home with a very relevant message.