What “Having It All” Means to Me
By Alisa Moody
“Having it All” means a fulfilling career and family life. For me, achieving this work life balance meant accepting that the scales would often be tipped significantly to one side or the other. I feel I have it all. I just haven’t always had it all at the same time. There was a time I worked over 70 hours per week, absorbing everything I could and relishing the increase in my abilities. And there has been a time when I stayed at home with 3 children under 4 years old (the hardest job anyone will have and never regret). I loved both these times.
First let me say, I am luckier than most. I have worked for the same firm since I graduated from Carolina in 1991, and BRC has had leadership that actively mentored and advocated for women the entire time I have worked here. I started as a staff accountant and spent my 20s focusing on my career. These efforts paid off, and I became an audit partner in 2001. I was happy with the scales tipped to the career side, but life continually changes. As I reached mid-30s, the pull toward having a family grew stronger, and at 37 my first daughter was born. Sixteen months later, my second daughter was born, and my work life balance scale was threatening to break.
But like I said, I am lucky. I had a supportive husband, and we were at a stage in life where we were financially able to make whatever choice felt right for us. We discussed our options, and, ultimately, I decided I wanted to stay at home with the girls full time. The decision weighed heavily on me, and when I informed the other partners at the firm of my decision I could not hold back the tears. But even though this period of time focusing on family was amazing and difficult, I knew even then I would never regret it.
As soon as the girls started school, I jumped at the opportunity to return to BRC as a seasonal part time tax preparer. This flexible work arrangement allowed me to stay connected to the firm I loved but also allowed me to be there for the kids when they got home from school. Two and a half years ago, I accepted a full-time position with the firm as its Chief Operating Officer, and 9 months ago as the firm’s first Chief Executive Officer. I love that I can be an example to everyone that making choices regarding your own personal work life balance does not have to permanently halt your career goals. You can have it all; it just takes the right environment that provides flexible opportunities, an understanding of what is important to you, knowledge that it won’t always be a perfect balance, and being surrounded by supportive friends and family.
Attempting to achieve perfect balance will drive you crazy. There are days it works and days it doesn’t. Focusing on my freedom to make choices throughout life has kept me sane.
I hope sharing my story brings up more questions than answers, and thereby prompts discussion and mentoring from which all of us can benefit.
Alisa Moody Chief Executive Officer, CPA
Alisa began working at Bernard Robinson & Company, L.L.P. in 1991. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the firm but has previously served as an audit and accounting partner. As CEO her leadership role includes ultimate responsibility for the firms operations and management decisions and implementation of the firm’s strategic plan. […]