I just returned from the national Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) conference in Phoenix. I, along with four other dedicated work-life experts, received the AWLP’s first Work-Life Rising Star awards. To say that I am honored and humbled doesn’t begin to describe what receiving this award means. Here are the reasons:
AWLP and the work of its members gives me hope, and I wish everyone knew about it.
When I read that “More work/life balance tops the global New Year wish list,” (ACNielsen, 2006), or that for the first time in 2006 both male and female MBA students ranked work-life balance as their top career objective (Universum, 2006), I wish more people knew about AWLP and the work-life experts who are its members. If they did, would it give them more hope? Would it give them a better understanding of how they can begin to find the work-life answers they are searching for? I believe it would.
What if people knew about the innovative work-life strategies top companies are developing and implementing across the globe? What if they knew about the international academic research on the best and most effective interventions to address the challenge of combining work and life today? What if they knew that in addition to the countless leaders working inside companies:
Donna Klein from Corporate Voices for Working Families is developing a legislative scorecard that will rank individual government representatives on their record of supporting (or not supporting) work-life related legislation.
David Lok of The Clarion Institute in Singapore is searching for new ways to bridge the cultural biases that limit the country’s ability to utilize older workers even though there is an emerging labor shortage.
Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes and the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College is studying what aging means in terms of the workplace and careers.
Nora Spinks of WorkLifeHarmony in Canada, is leading a multi-national project looking at men and work-life issues, especially flexibility, as a way to attract younger men into industries such as mining and forestry.
Brad Harrington of The Boston College Center for Work&Family, and Shelley M. MacDermid from The Center for Families at Purdue University, coordinated an international group of 41 reviewers from 9 countries to review 2500 published academic articles in 74 work-life journals to receive the 2006 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research at this year’s conference. There were 20 top articles identified, from which 5 finalists were chosen and one winner (see below).
And these are only a few examples. So the next time someone says, “Companies need to do more,” “Leaders need to see this as an issue,” or “We need to give people more support,” you can say, “They are!” And, you can find the evidence at AWLP.
I share the Work-Life Rising Star Award with four other enthusiastic, smart, committed work-life professionals.
Even though today’s 24/7, high-tech, global work reality is forcing organizations and individuals to rethink traditional models of the workplace and careers, being in the work-life field can sometimes feel like being the lone voice in the wilderness,. That’s why it’s so gratifying to meet others who see what you see, believe what you believe, and are working toward the same objectives but from unique areas of specialization. My fellow winners are Barbara Ashby, Teresa Hopke, John-Anthony Meza, and Jennifer Swanberg.
It gives me the opportunity to thank the work-life experts who have supported and taught me for over a decade and nominated me for the award.
When I found out about the award my first thought was, “Now I’ll have an opportunity to say thank you to the pioneers who created the work-life field, and supported me all along the way.” This includes Ellen Galinsky, President of Families and Work Institute who nominated me for the award, and Dana Friedman and Arlene Johnson, two of the best work-life strategy consultants and researchers out there, who taught me much of what I know.
Back in the early 90’s, when I was still a banker with little more than an unnatural obsession with the subject of work and life, my biggest dream was to hear either Dana Friedman or Ellen Galinsky who were then the Co-President’s of Families and Work Institute give a speech. Last week, I found myself sitting next to Ellen Galinsky as I received my Work-Life award. It truly was a full-circle moment.
Next week: Stay tuned because next week I’m going to share highlights from some of the award-winning research presented at the AWLP conference. It’s rigorous, peer-reviewed research that directly challenges some of our stereotypical work-life beliefs, and yet you will probably never hear about in the media.