Reboot Podcast Episode #80 – Navigating Children and Career – with Melissa Pasquale

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 80 // March 22, 2018


Melissa Pasquale

Melissa Pasquale

Chief Operating Officer at Engrain

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Episode Description

In a modern working world which often venerates the ‘grind,’ – long hours and dogged work-ethic – as the dominating the model for focused career development, where does that leave room for building families and raising children? In today’s episode, Jerry is joined by Melissa Pasquale, mother of three and Chief Operating Officer at Engrain. Together, Melissa and Jerry consider the navigational challenges of being a parent while maintaining a career.

Throughout their conversation, Jerry calls on Melissa to consider the fallacy in yearning for the perfect work-life balance; asking us all to consider that our longing to achieve harmony between work and life inevitably imparts feelings of guilt at our inability to do it all (the notion of, “I’m not really working unless I’m panting.”). When we recognize that we can’t absolve the guilt we feel in that nebulous place of balance between work and life, we can pause to consider the deeper question of, “How we are complicit in the need to be ‘good’ enough – at work, as parents, and in life?”

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Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“Can I effectively do both of these things, very important things, running a company as well as raising a family?” – Melissa Pasquale

“I am one of those people that, when somebody tells me I can’t do something, I want to prove them wrong.” – Melissa Pasquale

“This phenomena, you can’t be a mother and have a career can feel as if it’s only a present day phenomena. But it’s in fact in something that has been troubling our culture for decades.” – Jerry Colonna

“I have to go to work, and I have to provide for them, and I have to be strong, and I have to show them what it’s like to be a strong woman in the business world.” – Melissa Pasquale

“What I have found is that even when you get the plates spinning right, you can still feel guilty.” – Jerry Colonna

“The guilt is actually, I suspect, sourced not so much in the activity. But in our relationship to our expectations of what we’re supposed to be.” – Jerry Colonna

“It’s easy to get caught up in the mistakes of your past and the choices that you made.” – Jerry Colonna

“The gift that is more precious than even our physical presence [as parents] is the gift of language.” – Jerry Colonna

“When I inevitably disappoint and hurt, they can say, trusting that I will not run away, trusting that I will not collapse, trusting that I will not attack or defend, but I will be able to say to them, that they can say to me, “I hurt. You hurt me.” – Jerry Colonna

“As a parent to know that your children feeling hurt and pain is something that they have to learn. And you’re teaching it to them, and helping them learn how to deal with it, when you just want to take it away and never let them feel that because it’s too hard.” – Melissa Pasquale

“When the inevitable shows up, which is that you are not going to be there for every heartache of their life. You just simply will not be there for every moment of that. The question is what have you equipped them to do?” – Jerry Colonna

“The way this cycle gets broken is when the parent can internalize the sense of being good enough, so that the child then says, “I don’t have to worry that I’m not loved enough.” – Jerry Colonna

“One of the challenges for all of us is to really understand the perspective from the other’s point-of-view.” – Jerry Colonna

“I think the question that we’re all grappling with is: can we create humane work environments, such that people can you feel supported in the inevitable stresses of balancing?” – Jerry Colonna

“We’re not really beating against the current, which is a kind of work ethos of “I’m not really working unless I’m panting.” – Jerry Colonna

“My worthiness as a human being is not a reflection of the actions I take. My worthiness as a human being stems from my humanity.” – Jerry Colonna