Women are now leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. What needs to be done to alleviate this?

This pandemic has had an undue burden on working women. We’re at the brink of setting gender equity back a generation. That is truly unconscionable. We must as a society and from a corporate perspective address both childcare and elder care issues so that women don’t need to cut back their work hours to help manage their children or elderly parents.

Who was your mentor and what are you now doing to send the elevator back down?

I am a true believer in mentorship and that the concept goes in both directions. I have had some wonderful mentors in my life — most notably my mother. I also spend time mentoring people both within Real Chemistry and outside the organization. I feel it’s critical to be providing guidance to others in the industry.  

 What is your golden rule at work?

One of my favorite golden rules is “Don’t overthink things.” Being lighter in our approach and not taking everything so seriously allows for flexibility and fluidity. It allows us to revel in the “gray” versus being rigid in the black and white. 

How have you coped with the unique challenges of the past 12 months?

Despite the many dark clouds we’ve faced during the pandemic, there have been some silver linings that I’ve discovered. For one, without having to travel constantly, or packing or going through security, I feel that I have been more present both at work and in my personal life. Less time being “busy,” more time being in the moment. I’ve also been forced to reorder priorities. As someone who has traveled to over 50 countries, I never thought I’d be zooming back and forth from Chicago to Michigan every weekend to escape city life and visit my new country cottage by the lake. But that’s our new reality in a nutshell!

What are the first things you plan to do when the pandemic ends?

International travel! I love the Midwest but I’m itching to see parts of the world I haven’t seen yet — Chile, Argentina, China, Egypt …I’m ready to use my passport again and sate my wanderlust.