Q & A with the Trillium Chapter Award Winners

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Gilles Latour

Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Education Association

What do you incorporate into your lifestyle and work style that helps you to achieve a work-life balance?

The arts have a very strong impact in my life and have been pivotal in my work-life balance. The visual arts, fine craft, dance, music, film and theatre help to transfer creative and emotional feelings into my work.

What suggestions do you have for people who may be struggling to achieve a work-life balance and find themselves burning the candle at both ends?

Take the time to step back from your work and look internally at what makes you happy and find a way to carve some time into your day-to-day activities to do what you are most excited about – even if it’s for a few minutes a day or a few hours a week.

In your experience as an association executive, how do the rewards of your job, for example contributing to the benefit of your community, help to balance out some of the long work hours that are involved with being in leadership? 

With the experience from the work we do as association executives we can make a difference in our community of not-for-profits as volunteers on Boards and committees. Sharing best practices and knowledge with peers and colleagues supports and guides the organizations we value and builds confidence and credibility, reinforcing our self-esteem in order to give back tenfold.

Mira Todorovic

Convention Sales Coordinator, Tourism Hamilton

What do you incorporate into your lifestyle and work style that helps you to achieve a work-life balance?

Prioritize my workload frequently; I build downtime into my schedule; Organize my errands, ie. Weekend to do list – mapped out; Exercise three times per week at the gym; Spend time with family and friends; Practice mindfulness for relaxation – awareness of the present moment, with acceptance and an
open heart.

What suggestions do you have for people who may be struggling to achieve a work-life balance and find themselves burning the candle at both ends?

Delegate; Simplify your processes; Exercise – I find it energizes me; Protect your private time; Pick a hobby; Control your time online.

In your experience as a supplier to the association market, how do the rewards of your job, for example contributing to the benefit of your community, help to balance out some of the long work hours that are involved with being in leadership?

My passion and desire is to help people and make a difference. In order to achieve this, I volunteer for organizations that match my values, beliefs and attitudes and this helps to balance out the long work hours. My job allows me to volunteer; this gives me a sense of achievement and the opportunity to give back, which is my reward and balance.

Jacintha Ward

Manager, Executive Office, Supply Chain Management Association

What do you incorporate into your lifestyle and work style that helps you to achieve a work-life balance?

I incorporate regular exercise into my schedule and find that really helps me as it gives me more energy, reduces my stress levels and helps to boost my immune system so that I stay healthy.

What suggestions do you have for people who may be struggling to achieve a work-life balance and find themselves burning the candle at both ends?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help at work or at home. Sometimes we are reluctant to ask for help as we feel it’s a sign that we are not coping. I think that it is a sign of strength that you recognize that you need help to get the job done and are not afraid to ask for assistance.

In your experience as an association executive, how do the rewards of your job, for example contributing to the benefit of your community, help to balance out some of the long work hours that are involved with being in leadership?

Contributing to the success of my association, its volunteers and staff is a great reward for me and makes all the hard work and extra hours worthwhile.

Dinaz Garda, CAE

Manager, Executive Office Operations, Ontario Real Estate Association

What do you incorporate into your lifestyle and work style that helps you to achieve a work-life balance?

Daily exercise and eating a healthy breakfast/lunch. Ensure that when I leave work, I try not to cart much (any) of it home with me, though that can be difficult at times. Regularly take vacation time and “get away from it all.”

What suggestions do you have for people who may be struggling to achieve a work-life balance and find themselves burning the candle at both ends?

Try to organize your priorities at work and home. Prioritize and make a list of the most important items and work your way down that list. At the end of the day, bring forward the incomplete tasks for follow-up the next day, weigh and evaluate, till this structure and form becomes a way of life. As we well know, life does go on, the world won’t come to an end and that’s the reality of it, in both life and at work.

In your experience as an association executive, how do the rewards of your job, for example contributing to the benefit of your community, help to balance out some of the long work hours that are involved with being in leadership?

I made a conscious decision when I first started volunteering that I will set aside at least an hour (if necessary, a little more) every day for service to my community. I also decided to set aside two hours on the weekends (especially early in the mornings – quiet time when a great deal can be accomplished) on my volunteer leadership involvement. The commitment, as in everything else in life, has to be there, if you want to be successful in making a good, solid contribution to your community. This commitment of time and involvement, in itself results in amazing rewards knowing that you were able to make a difference, and it helps to nurture one’s mind, body and spirit.