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Fortune 500 CEO: ‘Work-life balance is a lie’


“Work-life balance is a lie,” stated TIAA president and CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett at Fortune’s Most Highly effective Ladies’s Summit on Tuesday.

When she tried attaining a extra balanced life-style, Duckett stated, “It by no means reconciled. … That ‘S’ on the chest wasn’t for ‘Superwoman.’ It was for ‘Spent.’

So as a substitute, Duckett, who oversees greater than $1 trillion of property below administration at TIAA, tried to stay her life extra like a well-diversified portfolio.


Here is what she meant: Take account of all of the roles you play that matter most (e.g., worker, partner, guardian, sister, daughter, good friend, and so forth.) after which divvy up your time throughout every, she recommended.

She reminded her fellow high-powered colleagues in attendance that nobody has greater than 100% of themselves to offer, so allocations will differ in accordance with want at totally different occasions in your life.

“Similar to the inventory market, it can have its volatility. So that you give your self permission to recalibrate.As a mother, my kids do not get 100%, they get possibly 30%,” Duckett stated. However, she added, when her youngsters want it, that proportion goes up.

And as with a diversified portfolio, do not count on to outperform in each one in every of your investments daily. The purpose is to “outperform this factor known as life” over time, she stated.


“In any given minute, I will not be the very best mother. However over time, I am a actually good mom. On any given day, I could not really feel like I’m working at my finest as a CEO. However over time, I believe I am a fairly good chief.”

Duckett took the helm at TIAA this previous spring. At the moment, she is simply one in every of two Black girls operating a Fortune 500 firm and the fourth ever to take action. She additionally is ranked tenth on Fortune’s 2021 Most Highly effective Ladies checklist.

Throughout her session at Tuesday’s summit, she careworn that she and others with influential platforms must maintain urgent for higher illustration of girls and minorities each on boards and within the C-suite.

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