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A League of ‘Extraordinary Women’

When working women – from CEOs to secretaries – meet to network, balancing “work v. life” issues is one topic that is sure to break the ice.

Carol Evans, CEO and president of Working Mother Media, invites every woman in the daily struggle to consider herself an “extraordinary woman.” That was Evans’ pitch today at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce’s “Extraordinary Women’s Exchange” luncheon, at the new Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa at Short Pump.

Evans gave a special “shout out” to McGuireWoods, one of only 50 law firms in the U.S. to be selected last year as a “Best Firm for Women.” The Richmond-based firm joined Working Mother magazine’s honor roll of family-friendly local firms, such as the Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Capital One and the VCU Health System.

“Richmond is doing really, really well,” she said. “You should be very proud.”

Evans fielded questions from the audience, including a lawyer’s question about finding “me” time as a single mother of young children, practicing law during the day and teaching at night. Evans’ most persistent advice was don’t be afraid to ask for help, anywhere you can get it.

And don’t be afraid to ask for anything that is on offer at the workplace.

“Read the employee handbook,” and be ready to engage in “straight talk” at the workplace about what you need, she said.

Given, finding balance in life is neither gender-specific nor confined to those in the paid labor force.

Anyone who feels pulled in different directions has to recognize that success at the balancing act ”is fleeting,” Evans said.

Think of it like a circus elephant stepping up on a huge ball, she said. “First it’s one foot, then another, then all four.” It’s a brief moment, but with practice it can happen again and again.

For the next event for “Extraordinary Women,” check the GRCC web site.

By Deborah Elkins

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