Interview with Cindy Pierce

Cindy Pierce

Cindy and her husband Bruce Lingelbach run Pierce’s Inn in Etna, New Hampshire, where they do most of the housekeeping, maintenance, and cooking. Their children are 9, 11, and 13. Cindy also speaks on college campuses about healthy attitudes toward sex, and does one-woman shows in New England about parenting, sex, and keeping it all balanced. She is the co-author of Finding the Doorbell: Sexual Satisfaction for the Long Haul.

Cindy Pierce, speaks about accepting messiness, parental guilt, the value of family meetings, and the joys of being a “righteous imperfectionist”

Q:  You’re juggling a lot.

A:  I go from making beds to skiing with kids to jumping on a plane or scrubbing pots and cooking to reading with kids to stepping on stage. It can be tough when I can see a pot boiling over a few yards behind one of my kid’s crying and needing to process an emotional moment. Or I can feel the dirty toilets calling us when we are out throwing the football. It can get sloppy, but we are able to let a lot go to survive.

Q:  What do you let go of?

A:  One thing we loosened up on was our own housecleaning. As innkeepers who clean toilets, we weren’t too interested in scrubbing our own after doing ten at the Inn. So the kids have taken on that chore. Other overwhelmed guilty moms used to admire how I juggled it all so gracefully:  “How do you do it? You own an inn, you are a mom of three, you speak, you wrote a book and you keep it all together.”  Hah! I used to give a tour of our less than tidy family bathroom, our cluttered office/mudroom, and our bedroom (living out of laundry baskets). The Martha Stewart wanna-be’s would almost weep with gratitude. I could have charged Continue reading

Interview with Len Schlesinger

Len Schlesinger

Len Schlesinger is the President of Babson College. Prior to that, he was Vice Chairman and COO of Limited Brands, and Executive Vice President and COO at Au Bon Pain. He was also a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School for 20 years. He is the author or co-author of ten business books.

Len Schlesinger on the greatest misconception about entrepreneurship; what entrepreneurs often don’t take into account; the one rule he and his wife have; the notion of “acceptable loss”, and why work-life balance is not realistically achievable. 

Q:  Why do you think that the effects of an entrepreneurial business on families is not a topic addressed in business schools?

AIt’s a topic that gets discussed in panels and forums, at meals and coffee breaks, and at   EO and YPO meetings–but it never comes up inside the classroom.  From an academic standpoint, there’s been no systematic data collection related to this topic, so faculty don’t have much to offer about it. By putting this topic out there in your articles and your book, you are legitimizing more public conversation around it.

Q:  What do you think is the greatest misconception about entrepreneurship and families?

A:  What is most naïve about our discussions of entrepreneurship is that it is defined as a solo activity.  In reality, it isn’t.  There are key relationships–partners, family, and friends.  The notion that it is just Continue reading

Interview with Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Eileen Fisher, a line of relaxed but elegant women’s clothing and accessories. Eileen founded her company in 1984. She has 900 employees, with 54 stores in 18 states. She has two college-aged children.

Eileen Fisher on keeping priorities straight; on finding balance with her work; on what “quality time” really means; on the distinction between passion and addiction, and why business is like love.

Q:  Why do you think there’s not more discussion about the intersection of work and family?

A: Entrepreneurs aren’t asked these questions.  There’s this driven-ness, this hyper-focus.  If you’d asked me these kinds of questions 15 years ago they would have overwhelmed me. I was so in the thick of it.

Q:  You didn’t have time to stop and consider how the business was affecting your family?

A:  For me the business was such a passion, such an obsession.  There was so much good in it.  It drove me, it was exciting, fun, happening, like a wild horse pulling me. I couldn’t get off. Continue reading

Check out my new website!

I’ll be featuring weekly-ish interviews with entrepreneurs, about the ways in which their work and family lives intersect–and often collide. My first posting is a fascinating exchange with clothing designer Eileen Fisher.  Enjoy!