I have a debt of gratitude to Julie Ann’s home base of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Before joining Coca-Cola, I worked for ING in Atlanta, which acquired ReliaStar, an insurance company based in Minneapolis. While I traveled pretty frequently before, ING really upped the travel requirement at the same time the family started to grow. It became part of the inspiration for the “Sometimes I Work in…” series I wrote.
Julie Ann is a Certified Meeting Planner, which requires extensive and extended travel. She also works from her home, which, as you’ll read in her responses, creates something of a “feast or famine” situation. By that I mean that when she’s not traveling, she’s at home which affords the benefit of “extra” time with her kids who are ages 4 and 6. But when she on the road, the trips are long.
How many nights a month are you away from the kids?
I think that I average about 10 nights a month over the course of the year.
What is the one special routine you have to keep you connected with the kids while you're traveling?
My daughter like me to take my picture bracelet (a six photo charm bracelet) that makes her feel good. Due to most of my trips being to places that are 12 hours off form my home time zone my kids have an email account and my husband and nanny will type what they say and we email. This also allows me to email them from my blackberry while I am in a meeting or with a client and it seems like I am taking care of work. Describe your feelings about being a business traveling parent?
As long as it is not having a negative impact on my kids I enjoy the travel that I do for my job. It can make me more present while I am here. Since I have a home office as does my husband I have figured out that they see me more even with my travel than if I didn’t travel and went to an office everyday. We also have a nanny so they have three adults around every day so we I am gone they still have two great care givers.
What will your kids remember about their childhood with you as a business traveling parent?
Interesting question – I hope that they will remember learning about other place in the world from where mommy traveled to and that they think that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Just prior to finalizing this post, Julie Ann added that writting good, old fashioned post cards was something she tried to do. That struck me as interesting because it was the second or third time in the last week that somebody mentioned post cards as being a genuine and heartfelt method of communicating. It seems Julie Ann would agree.
Thanks to Julie Ann for sharing her experiences as a business traveling parent.
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