Best of Both Worlds podcast: Leadership as a woman in medicine with Dr. Vanessa Carroll

Even as women make up half the workforce, much of the C-suite remains male. There are lots of reasons for this, but for women who do aspire to leadership roles, it can be helpful to hear from pioneers who have built full lives professionally and personally.

In this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds, Sarah interviews Dr. Vanessa Carroll, the CMO of a major children’s hospital. She talks about how she has built her career while raising four children, and how careers don’t have to look absolutely linear. She has tips for others aiming for leadership roles in fields that have historically not been as balanced in terms of gender representation.

In the Q&A we address a common BOBW question: When does it make sense to go part-time? Sometimes it can work. And sometimes it means doing the same amount of work for less pay — generally not the outcome people are going for!

Please give the episode a listen! We’ll be recording a mailbag episode soon, so we welcome questions (post here or email me, laura at lauravanderkam dot com). We have also been thrilled to see approximately 60 new people join the Patreon community over the last two weeks. We’re having a lot of fun in that discussion forum (membership is $9/month). We’d love to see even more folks join us!

6 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Leadership as a woman in medicine with Dr. Vanessa Carroll

  1. I enjoyed today’s episode and interview. Regarding the listener question, if the decision to go part time is made, I would determine whether going back to full time is a future option. Also, before you agree to a 4 day a week work schedule, I would make sure that Friday is the day that you want off from work. It seems to be a default day, but if you have a choice, I have found having a mid-weekday break is better timing for my schedule. Friday traffic is lighter, and the office is quieter, so I feel like I get more done in the office.

    1. @Kathleen – I agree that Friday should not be the automatic day. Especially if you have a long commute, Wednesday might be better as then you only have to do the commute twice in a row. Friday does tend to be a slower day anyway, so working that day allows for a little more flexibility (and a lot of places have work from home on Friday, so then you’ve got only 3 days in the office…)

  2. Kathleen makes a good point. I’ve worked a 28 hour week now for 11 years in a director level role. I’m exceptionally happy with my balance but I am frankly awesome at boundary setting. Thursday is my non-working day and works much better than Friday. I ended up like that as my son did Mon to Wed in daycare and then we had a nanny on a Friday. It’s super easy to find part time support on a Friday as that’s when lots of parents seem to not need the help. Once my son started school we switched her hours to 3-11pm and had date night every Friday. I was able to fully wrap up and plan the following week on a Friday before I left which made for a very relaxing date night and weekend.

    1. @Louise – I agree that you have to be awesome at boundary setting with a part time schedule. A lot of people aren’t!

  3. I finally had a chance to listen to the podcast. This was a great interview. I really appreciated her thoughtful answer when SHU pushed back on someone saying they aren’t ready for a management/leadership role due to their demands at home. Not being ready is sometimes not about what the role requires but instead about how overwhelming life currently feels and not wanting to rock the boat. I was potentially going to take on a team of people in late 2020. It was posed to me towards the end of my pregnancy and then when I returned from mat leave, I would take over this team. I wasn’t actually asked if that was something I WANTED. I didn’t feel like I could say no though… it was posed as ‘everyone thinks you will do great in this role but we will hold off on changing reporting relationships until you get back from leave.” Luckily it never came to fruition because of other reorgs that happened during my leave. But I was so relieved because I had enough going on adjusting to 2 kids. I feel like it was not the right time to take on a big change at work…

    1. @Lisa- I’m sure you would have done great! But yes, sometimes it can feel like one overwhelming thing at a time is enough 🙂

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