The Balance Project
Susie Schnall is the woman behind the Balance Project. Balance is one of my fave topics so I was happy to be interviewed for this. I am in very good company of interviewees. Being number 55 was an honor. Loved the questions too. Here is my interview below.
No. 55: Joanne Wilson, Investor and Blogger
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I have had several careers. I was in the retail/wholesale business at the beginning of my career and left that after our daughters were 3 and 1. I spent a few years home before figuring out the next step of my career. I ended up being involved in a company that was reporting on the start of the Internet age. It was the mid-90s. That link to the tech community is where I stayed, although shifting into an investor and blogger about ten years ago.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
What does having “it all” really mean? Life is long. Each segment of your life, even from the time you are in college, starts you on a path where the dots all connect. You learn from one experience that you bring to the next experience. And if you are lucky you have a family and make some really good friends along the way.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Thinking about “balance” is something I have grappled with my entire career. It takes thought to have a career, taking time for yourself and raising a family at the same time. You have to work at it.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
As my children have grown up and begun to build their own lives it becomes easier as I no longer have that daily responsibility. It isn’t so much about balance but the amount of time to do everything I want to do.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance from your mother?
“Do what works for you. If you are happy, your kids will be happy.” It was life changing.
If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
I’d spend it reading, going to a museum, seeing a movie, doing something educational around the arts.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That nothing is standard. You can create your own path.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I am entrepreneurial. I can’t imagine having to report to someone. It has never suited me well, and I realized that early on.
I am a voracious reader. There are a few faves over the years such as: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt,Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer to name a few.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished three books: I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and Diane von Furstenberg’s autobiography The Woman I Wanted to Be. All good.
Biggest food vice? All food is a vice. I was raised to enjoy good food. Going out to the latest restaurant and cooking good meals is part of my daily life. Figuring out how to keep my eyes smaller than my stomach is the challenge.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
I sleep a good 8 hours a night. Sleep is important.
What do you read every morning?
I read The New York Times front to back every morning before doing the crossword puzzle.
My kids: are my greatest joy. Watching them grow into young adults, building their own friendships, seeing their never-ending curiosity for life and knowledge is beyond words.
Anything else you’d like to add?
One of the things I am most proud of is my endless support for not only entrepreneurs but for women entrepreneurs. I have not only supported women through investing in their visions (70% of my portfolio companies are started by women) but have co-founded with Nancy Hechinger the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival celebrating women entrepreneurs