Name: Kelly Sullivan
Job Title: Vice President, General Counsel
City: Jupiter, Florida
Number of Children/Other Dependents: 3
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated? Why?
Defining what “Having it all” means is personal; and, it will change over time. So, yes, so long as the definition is realistic, it is possible. It also matters what choices you make to support that definition. Identifying priorities and making choices that support them is key. Even then, life itself is unpredictable and it is important to remember that you can control only a small portion of things that will impact your life.
What does having “it all” mean to you?
Raising children who have the skills to be independent. Leading a life that does not compromise my integrity.
What is the best advice you have ever received on balancing your personal and professional lives?
Still waiting on some really profound advice. It has been a self-discovery activity.
If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend it?
Meditating, which takes many forms.
Looking back at when you started in the profession, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
Blaze your own trail.
Do you deal with guilt in trying to balance your personal and professional lives?
Guilt never helped anybody. If you feel guilty, you are listening to others more than you are listening to yourself.
What single change do you believe would have the biggest impact on work life balance or quality of life?
More equality. It is absolutely true that expectations are higher for women.
What part of “balance” do you struggle with?
Letting go of the goal of perfection. Excellence is good enough. Give an issue your focused attention, do your best, and move on to tackle the next challenge.
What part of “balance” are you improving at?
Allowing flexibility in my schedule to get things done during “business hours” that are personal. We all have personal lives and it is the most important thing. You cannot give your attention to other issues if you have pressing personal matters to take care of.
As a working parent, how do you balance your career and your role as a parent?
Remember that you are a role model for your children. They are watching. Be confident in your decisions. Be willing to make a change if something isn’t working out.
How important is civic and/or professional involvement to you and why?
Very important. See response to Question 15. Women often do not get the support at home they need to participate. Give your children more responsibility!
What’s the advice you would give a young lawyer seeking to strike a “balance” between family, self, and the practice of law or achieve better quality of life?
If you have children, child care arrangements are the most pressing concern. Make it a budget priority so that you don’t spend the day worried about them. Do not do anything for your child that they can do for themselves. While it may be quicker for you to “just do it,” you are robbing them of learning important skills and making more work for yourself!
Any other parting words of advice?
Remember – there are no mistakes, just lessons. Learn from them!