Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

This episode is all about keeping your work and life in balance. Our guests Stephen and Bernadette Carroll share their tips with us! 

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Cvent CONNECT is going virtual

The transition from working in the office to working from home with all your family members happened so quickly in our lives. As we continue working from home some of us still find it difficult to maintain that much required work-life balance. We know it is hard to stay focused when we have all been home longer than we would like.

In this episode we are joined by Stephen Carroll, Senior Director, Partnerships & Corporate Marketing at Cvent and his spouse Bernadette J. Carroll, Founder, and CEO of the Power Up Women’s Conference. They shared their ideas with us for creating a good life balance with your family while working from home during COVID.

Guests

  • Stephen Carroll, Senior Director, Enterprise Marketing, Cvent
  • Bernadette Carroll, Founder and CEO of the Power Up Women’s Conference

Hosts

  • Brooke Gracey, Senior Manager, Demand Generation, Cvent
  • Cody Liskh, Team Lead, Event Quarterback Team, Cvent

 

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Transcript

Cody Liskh

Alright, Stephen and Bernadette, thank you so much for joining the podcast. Can you give us some background on how you came to be the Senior Director of corporate marketing and also the customer engagement marketing for Carfax? 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Yeah. Hey, thanks. Cody. Thanks for having us on. Look, I've been in marketing for the past 15 years I've been working in the travel industry in various different capacities At different companies And now, during my time at Cvent I've had the privilege of working in different capacities. Today I'm the Senior Director in corporate marketing and I lead up our global industry partnerships group, which is Founded to find, win, win relationships with different industry organizations. 

Okay, and I am Bernadette, Carol, and I've also been in marketing for over 15 plus years and it's always been on the customer engagement side. And currently, I do work for Carfax I work on the customer engagement team and it's all about retaining our customers, especially within these times, you know it's coming up with different programs and how to keep our customers engaged in using our products. 

Brooke Gracey

That's awesome. I love the enthusiasm for Carfax and, you know, I've had the pleasure of working with Stephen for many years now, but it's really nice to meet his better half so it's really great to

I was assuming she's the better half Stephen 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

I wish I could just Lead with her All the time. 

Brooke Gracey

I love and you know I know you guys; you have a family and you know it's been a kind of a crazy couple of months. Right. It was like almost like one day, everything changed, and I have to imagine you're kind of doing some retrospective looking back at those days that kind of that initial shock. How did you guys adapt to that? Like, what does it look like in your household? 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

You know, it was crazy. Like, literally one day we were sneaking in our kid's birthday party at a jumping castle. Then the next day, nothing. And then right after that our kids are at home with us and they've been at home with us for the past six weeks. So yeah, it was a pretty knife edge cut over in terms of adjusting to the new environment. 

And for me, it was really fun. So as Stephen said, you know, Zach had a birthday party just that we can before we were on stay at home. Right. And after that were kept going and they were at home. So, my older daughter, she's pretty much She could take care of herself, so she kept her schedule. She got up every morning and the schools were great. They kept her teacher kept sending her daily work. And for my son Zachary I probably shouldn't say that, but he's nine, and he slept for the first two weeks I caught up when he sleeps. Yeah.

Yeah, fully rebelled. He's like, I don't have to go to school. There's no schedule. And so, literally. He just went off he went off the rails and just did his own thing in terms of when he went to bed, and when he woke up and so You know having to kind of deal with that, especially when you're

You know juggling the demands of work, right. So, you guys know what happened with work literally everyone is working from home. And so, you have to really, we had to really focus in on How do we keep up with the changes that work. How do we stay communicative and how do we make sure we take care of that first And then when you come back and swing back to the family, it is, it was very difficult. Very difficult.

Yeah, and you know, I'm a part of few moms groups and I noticed moms immediately be bonded and we came up with online programs for kids to watch and you know to keep their minds going. But I think the real important part of this is You have to know your kid. And just because all the moms are giving your kids all these you know great programs, doesn't mean my kid would adapt. So, I pretty much I really enjoyed for Stephen who may have been difficult, but for me, I really enjoyed being at home give them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, we kind of bonded as a family.

But from a work School perspective, as I said, Kaylee, she's you know she's the A-type personality so she kept going, but with Zach, We gave him that time Knowing that he's his own person to realize what's going on and we're all in it together like everyone was saying, We're all in this together. 

And it's just making sure that he could adapt and so after the two weeks. I said, Okay, enough is enough. You need to get back to your schedule and he has done some amazing projects. And so the other thing I'd like to say is knowing your kid right is one And two, this is the time to help develop those interests that they have that probably wouldn't get as developed in class because classes structured and it should be. But Zach is an amazing scientist each day after his two weeks sleeping, He's just he went on YouTube and found some nice science projects and he's just been building. I'm like, whatever you do Just don't tear the house down. 

Brooke Gracey

I'm more of a Zach I took about a two-week hibernation Period. Before I figured it out. Now, Cody is more of the Arts and Crafts. You can see like he has all of these different pots along with his window.

Says he's Making pots and like creating plants and stuff so I get that, but like what you're saying Bernadette, it's like almost like these, these passions and interests start coming to the surface when you're like, I have to figure out how to entertain myself. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Look, I mean, you know, it wasn't as difficult to rid of that. But I think the issue is really like, you know, the big change was like there's no break like normally you drive to work that drive you can clear ahead get into your day. You know, you check in with the family during lunch Then on the way home, you get to clear your head and then switch from work to family. Once this happens is one continuous stream. And so, I kind of equated to how do you handle the flow.

You know, I tried everything. Like I'd go get my car drive around the block come back to start my day, you know, trying to figure out that can help. I tried to make sure like toward the end of the day, I went outside walk back in so I can go like, okay, now I'm with family. But it doesn't work because your kids see home and they're like, that's mom and dad and I know you're on zoom with 42 people, but hey, I have this question. About my car is something our kids use for school or I'm stuck on this math problem Can you help me. And, you know, you just have to go with it and just realize that look

If you're driven like us Like, like, like, like we are works important you put your all into it. You work hard, but you got to realize that You're just in a different environment and you're gonna have to live for those interruptions and then I kind of like those interruptions  

Brooke Gracey

Did the math problems or palpitation when you said that because I was like If anybody asked me for like even like middle school math problem. I'm sure I could pick like how you guys adapt to that.

Like, I don't even know what that is. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

So look the kids know because we have different personalities who to go to for what so I'm a very type-A I think we're all kind of type-A, but I'm coming, old school, like, Hey, you got to get this down You got to get them down now. No, no, no, playing around. So, when it comes to math Very interesting. I grew up in a different era, not going to see what era That is. our kids and now in the Common Core And they teach it in a very different way that just boggles my mind. But look, they're getting the right answer. So, I'm like, I don't know what you did with that fancy division, but you got the right answer. I remember having a knockdown drag-out fight with our daughter Kaylee about how to do long division. I'm like, there's no way you could get the answer that way. What does that do not even math and then I told her, do you have to do it this way. She went to school She came back to this is the way I crow us. Okay, great This, are you going to do it. So, we've kind of come to an agreement that I'm just there to advise and getting give Counsel of that. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Yeah. So, but, but for things like reading my wife is awesome at doing that with the kids. 

So, what I normally do, you know, just like Stephen. The good thing is Stevens office is in the basement and then my offices upstairs with the sunny windows 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Between meetings. So now, Zach does have a real get up time which is 9 am. And my meetings are kind of between early morning and late afternoon. So, whenever I'm not having a meeting, I look at my daily schedule. And I schedule him to sit next to me while I'm working and he's reading to me. And so, if he stumbles over a word, I'm right there to say okay spell the word, and this is how You'll sound it out. So I cover the reading and cover the writing and with the writing, I pretty much just pull out an old magazine or pull out one of our business books and I'll say hey Zack I want you to write this paragraph And after you write the paragraph I want you to read it to me and tell me what it means. So, in my mind, I'm thinking, you know, I'm giving you real-life experiences guy like this is college book here. 

Yeah look and another phenomenon, just like in the meetings and events world where people were trying to virtual more and there's a lot of more technology involved. From an education perspective, there's so much more technology like literally, I remember when my kid needed to log on this, The first week that the nation was going virtual all they say all those apps crashed and people couldn't get on and having To go through the myriad of technologies, whether it's Esau different technologies that the kids are using to get their classes boom cards google classroom. Like, literally, we have to become Distance Learning technologists to help our kid’s way through that it's actually was quite interesting to see our kids on their own, a virtual meeting with their classrooms. Now they love to come into our office when we're on our meetings too, kind of, you know, Zoom Bomb us like Oh no it does not work the other way around. Yeah, we can't go into their rooms at all. They will shut the computer downturn it off, they have with their classmates and teachers’ senior parents’ people over their shoulders. 

Brooke Gracey

I love that go like you know it's fair game. Right, like maybe up here headed and make a cool 

Cody Liskh

You said the zoom bomb you from time to time. I mean, have there been any issues on any of your work calls where they just jump in and say something crazy or anything like that. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

No, but you know what, it's funny because I think people are a lot more accepting that kids are going to come in. But one thing that they have taken to is that they will place things behind me. That I don't know about. And so, I'm having a very serious conversation. And there was a big yellow smiley face.

Oh my gosh, what they quit doing that. And so, they just put random things In the frame behind me during the meeting. So, you know, it's pretty interesting. 

Yeah, and had Carfax They are pretty much open and it's an engaging environment, culture, so where my offices out there's enough space for Zach & Kaylee to kind of hang out, but not be seen and Need some water and I say hey Kaylee, Zack I cannot turn off my camera Give me some water and they'll wait till I turn the camera back on and walk in the cameras like. Here's your water mom. 

Brooke Gracey

Well, I know the other thing too is and Cody and I were talking about this last night is It is summer LIKE IT IS BEAUTIFUL WEATHER AND Portland right now. So now it's like a whole different dynamic. Right. How is that going to work? I mean, school is going to be out at some point you're still going to have work. And there's a good chance Everybody still going to be stuck in the house, like what 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

What are you gonna like what god that is gonna be an issue? So one of the things that we tried to do to get ahead of it is we have our kids and other types of activities that will continue on to the summer, like our child's in Toastmasters I spent a lot of time with my son Getting his knowledge around 3D printing and he started his own 3D printing business that can 3D where he's printing 3D at options. And so, getting him projects to do But there's nothing like going outside and playing and we live in an environment where there is a forest nearby So there are creeks and streams. And so that's a bit lower. And one of the things that I need to get better about is just making time during the day to say, Look, I know you're only nine or 10 And you are cooped up and you need to get outside and then walking outside with them to help him stretch his legs or throw the ball with my daughter and then get back at it from a work perspective.  

And from my perspective so Carfax is great. We have Fridays off. And so, what I started doing early on. You know, for me, it helps. I get that full day outside of Saturday and Sunday with the kids. And so, what I normally do. I started doing on early was on Fridays after they're done with their online class I would take Zach out and we would play ball just throw the ball back and forth and we live in a cul de sac So it helps or we would just play basketball without the actual basketball hoop. And then I would let him ride his bike back and forth. But as we go into the summertime. A couple of things we talked about was getting a trampoline. 

Cody Liskh

Yeah, oh boy. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

That would be very helpful because they've been asking and I keep looking at the price that's like, oh, maybe somebody could donate one to us kids graduating. I don't know. 

So, look, I'm going to speak up for Dad’s across America. Right. So, with Corona now and everybody's talking to house, my honey-do list keeps growing because they see Dad, and everybody wants a dad. Can you fix my computer, can you build some shelves Can you put up a trampoline, there’s a lizard in the garden Can you get the lizard?

So now, instead of having to deal with that, like, you know, in the evenings When I come home on the weekend is literally 24 hours nonstop. So, I just wanted to put that out there dad’s across America. Keep your heads up. 

Brooke Gracey

I think there's a clear divide between trampoline no trampoline. 

Cody Liskh

I don't know. I gotta tell you guys, I grew up with the trampoline and some of my best memories are out there with my brother, so I'm hoping you guys are learning more. Thank you.

I'm glad I got you, I got you. Yeah. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Sure, whoever put that together for you has memories about pulling that thing together and having worked in 

Cody Liskh

Definitely was not me. But that's something new that you guys are considering. I mean, have any of your other interests change in the family over the last couple of months, anything unexpected. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Well, no, look, I think some things have been drawn out of the out more like my son has a very Designer streak in him. He's very creative. There are so many models being built and constructed around our house today with a tubes water bottle.

My daughter is like we said earlier, type-A super organized. She's rearranged her room three different times.

And she can move quite a heavy furniture, to our surprise, we were surprised and to take that organizational knack to other areas of the house. And I'm like, Okay That ends at my office. You need to come in here to help me Organize, but I think what we've seen is that some of the really good qualities of them are coming out now. Right.  

So I have Kaylee in charge of our inventory So basically since I have to go grocery shopping and I sat with her and made a list of everything from all the groceries that are in the house And have her put it on a spreadsheet by week she should go through an update. And then she tells me what I need to purchase. And so, the second part of that is before COVID 19 happened she was in charge of our spending Our budget for groceries, just kind of teaching her money. 

So now it's a little bit different. I don't take her out, actually. She goes, but she stays in the car.

So I'm trying to figure out how I could get her up to speed on learning the cost of life, so This is what we pay for the mortgage, you know, here's how much is going to groceries and having her see it and actually feeling so just pulling out their different strengths And like Stephen said Zach is a great designer I am shocked and I will tell you if we were if we had left Kaylee & Zach home and came home and saw the furniture changed out of thought someone came in the house and move the furniture yeah  

Brooke Gracey

I Love That. that is like a life skill, first of all, that you're teaching her like So impressed. But I totally get that Kaylee moving around the furniture. I used to do that when I was a teenager. And actually, in COVID, I made a huge move from one side of my bed to the other. It was A big DAY WHEN I WAS LIKE, Happening. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

That said something. I don't want to gloss over it. You said inventory And I want people to know it's not like a little cupboard when COVID came before club it. I'm not gonna say we could audition for doomsday peppers or anything like that. But my wife is this supreme prep, or we have enough supplies the last sale like 2022. 

That’ exaggeration, but I do buy in bulk, because mom is doing the grocery shopping. So how can I buy enough for three months? So, I don't have to keep going out that's All it. 

Brooke Gracey

I love it. It's Great. It's a hefty job to keep track of That 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Yeah, I am not saying anything's wrong with it. I just don't want to gloss over that just don't want to give the wrong impression, like we got food, Water. 

Cody Liskh

I wish my parents would have put me in charge of inventory growing up. Those are some of the things that the life skills that you really need. You don't even know that you need until you're an

Adult I love you guys are doing that and I love your energy. You guys have such good energy right now. I want to know, how are you guys staying sane right now. I mean, I can only imagine it's, there's a lot of moving parts happening, how are you guys maintaining your sanity. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Okay, so I could start well one, you know, the first thing I think because of our offices, we're lucky to have an extra room. So, Steve is in the basement. I'm upstairs. And he stays very busy at work during the days and I don't really see him until maybe six o'clock He'll come up. So, in my mind, if I see him running through the house, like, hey, come back to your office.

But technically, I don't see him on an average day until about six he'll come upstairs. So, I'm thinking he's still at work. So that keeps us apart. I'm working with the kids. Our kids are well mannered so that helps. But as far as Stephen and I concerned You know we just go with the flow. He's an easy guy, and I'm very easy to Think. 

Yeah, but look, I'm in terms of like staying sane. Yeah, definitely. Right. The separation and being able to kind of create some normalcy there. Yeah, you know, one of the things my wife does is she gardens. Yes. And like literally with chronic she has a little bit extra time. So that means there are a lot more plants lots more plants and lots more plants and I think on my side, you know, I'm not gonna lie like corona There was something called the corona insomnia. Right. So, when you first start working your hours don't work. And literally, I was staying up till all hours of the night. I tried my best not to send emails to my teams at like two o'clock in the morning.

Now what I tried to do is look I hit the meetings hard. I take a break. I have weeks do jumping jacks. I do anything to kind of get that energy to keep that intensity up because it is hard like literally Not working in an office environment, especially if you were a gregarious person like me. I love that face to face talking interaction. I'm more of a face to face communicator and, you know, the zoom is great, and I do that, but I do miss that interaction. 

And so, what I try to do is Just micro activities to keep myself focused and energized. Right, so, um, yeah.  

So, Stephen was saying. For me, it's gardening. Right. So normally, I do a nice garden and that just gives me Energy, it takes me away. It's almost liked that old commercial Calvin, Calvin. Take me away. Well, my garden, I could just be garden and you're talking to me and I don't even hear you.

And so now that it's done. I sometimes sneak out on my patio and just sit for about 5-10 minutes and just enjoy the flowers. They are absolutely gorgeous. There's so gorgeous that we have little frogs. We have snails and we have garden snakes just living in my little tiny habitat. 

Brooke Gracey

For me and Bernadette sounds like you should be best friends with Cody, it's me. I know. 

Cody Liskh

Exactly what I've been doing to my weird obsession with plants like I can't get over it right now. And I think it's this time of year too. I mean, we're in June, it's like everything is in bloom. The sky is blue. I love this time of year. No matter what's happening. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

I love your pots to that is really nice. I'm Looking at them now very nice.  

Cody Liskh

Yeah, I've had this obsession recently where I pour concrete into molds and make my own pots.

And I paint them at night and then I put succulents in them. It's very Portland. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Oh, yeah. That is Awesome. Nice. 

Cody Liskh

It's something I do to pass the time. And that, that's one thing that I've done during you know coven is that I hadn't had much time really to do that on my own. But now that I have all this time to spend by myself. I'm finding all these new hobbies that I'm really starting to enjoy. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Yeah, I think they were in us, we just didn't have a chance to pull them. 

Cody Liskh

Yeah. You guys, I have loved having you guys on the podcast. This has been such a fun conversation. My favorite question though is if you had to leave our listeners with just, you know, one piece of advice, our listeners that are maybe working at home with their families, what would that be 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Look, um, I think one of the things you have to do is just to realize that even though we are apart. We're still human.

And you still have opportunities to connect. One of the things I really love about my wife is that in her spare time. She's the CEO and founder of the power of the women's conference. And that's something that she's been working on for the past several years to bring women together to inspire them to be their best selves and just being able to continue to do things like that, um, gives you a sense of humanity.

One of the things that we just did over the past few days created like a GoFundMe opportunity to help some of the families that are in our school That are in need of help right now and just finding ways to continue to give back to others and to help others, even though we're apart. 

Yeah. So, thank you, Stephen, for mentioning that. That's another thing that I now do more in my spare time. I have been hosting the powerup conference for seven years. It's a place of inspiration women from across the country will come right here to Leesburg where we celebrate and uplift each other. The other thing that I do 11 years and going, is that I'm a blogger and pretty much I take my life experiences and share that with everyone. And if you get something from it. Great. If something you could share with someone else.

During the COVID season I started a series on hope And faith right because sometimes when times get rough or when you're in a dark space, regardless if you had challenges or not, you know, we always fall back on our faith and having hope. Those are two things that keep us going. So, I did a series on my blog for that. 

And then I was on my PTA meeting And I heard about 34 families that are in need and the principal was actually shouldering that burden. So, with my powerup conference network I would just reach down and say, hey, this is something I've chosen to do If you have any if you'd like to donate Please do. And so, I'm excited that within a day, we were able to get $500. My goal is 1000. And if you think about its 34 families. And if that split $25 per family, at least they could, you know, buy something 

Brooke Gracey

Yeah, I heard a rumor that you guys have your own podcast. Is That True? 

Cody Liskh

Oh really. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

So, throughout the different things that we do like we're on different boards different we serve in different ministry roles at church. So, we have done a podcast before. And one of the things that we're doing now is we're going to be leading the family Ministry at church. And so one of the things we're going to do to help promote that and market that is to talk about families and how do people come together to enrich each other's lives is to make sure that you know families are there to care in to support the community and each other. 

Brooke Gracey

You guys are so awesome. Your relationship goals. Right, Cody? 

Cody Liskh

Exactly. 

Cody Liskh

Brooke, do you think we can put the link to maybe their podcast on our site? 

Brooke Gracey

Yeah, or even if people want to help Donate you know whatever we can do to help get the word out. 

Stephen Carroll & Brenadette Carroll

Oh, thank you. That would be amazing. Yes, yes. just for the donation, Stephen. You can send it. Yeah. Yeah. And if they want to learn more about Brenadette Carroll they could always go to WWW.BrenadetteCarroll.com   

Brooke Gracey

That's awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us today. This was an absolute pleasure like a really great way to end the week