Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle joined four other professional women on Tuesday in Heth Hall for The Work/Life Balance Panel with student leaders on the challenges of balancing career, family and self.
The discussion featured the president; Beth Dalton '92; Kathy Jordan, M.S.'82; Emily Hite '06; Casey Henshaw M.S. '03; and moderator Jenessa Steele, assistant professor of psychology, in a wide-ranging, and sometimes poignant, talk about success and sacrifice. The panelists offered advice, shared stories and reflected with the more than 30 students and faculty member on their varied careers in education, law enforcement, business and social services and as devoted family women. According to Sociology Department Chair Jeanne Mekolichick-Jakoubek, the event was part of the university's ongoing effort to better prepare RU students for the next step in their lives.
"As one who is set to go out into the workforce soon, the chance to hear from such a diverse group of women that I can make it was a great learning experience," said Misty Daniel, a senior majoring in sociology and religious studies. "They are working to balance their lives and achieve their goals and I have big goals too."
Career development and planning was one of many topics covered and Kyle reflected on a transformational moment for her – entering law school. "That was when life really changed for me," she said. "The students that I met there were the most aggressive, focused people I had ever been around and they really challenged me."
The need and value of role models or mentors was another topic of discussion and Beth Dalton, a managing broker of the Blacksburg office of Long and Foster Real Estate, said, "I had several people who helped me along the way and one of the most valuable pieces of advice one shared with me was that I don’t have to be perfect as long as I do my best."
Changes occurring in the workplace could benefit the women who are now launching their careers said Kyle. "There are more and more women ahead of you who are pursuing the careers you are. So you will find the female mentors who can help you advance and find the healthy balance," she said.
Jordan, lead consultant of Success Associates and a career transition specialist, called work/life balance "elusive" and "individual," but encouraged the students to persevere by focusing on one aspect as they work through the inevitable struggles. Hite, a corporal in the Radford City Police Department, summed up her battle to balance it all by saying, "You take what life throws at you, get through it, and when you get it done, that is balance."
Hite enjoyed the opportunity to share her experiences as a professional and stepmother. "It is inspiring to talk to the next generation and I hope what I offer can help them be successful," she said.