Sat, March 02, 2024

Pick your priorities rather than trying to balance everything, panelists advise women leaders

It’s impossible for female business leaders to balance the many hats they wear as professionals, wives, and mothers, just to name a few. That was the opinion offered by Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson, founder and facilitator of EduCare Training and Consulting, LLC at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s March Women in Business program.

“You’ll never have a balance,” said Jackson, affectionately known as Dr. PBJ. “Give yourself permission to be in the priority of the moment.”

She was one of three panelists along with Kim Evans, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta, and Collette D’Antignac, Associate Vice President and retail banking manager for Security Federal Bank. The panel discussed a variety of topics, such as work-life balance, receiving constructive criticism, leadership styles, and leaving a legacy for future female business leaders.

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Jackson said she plays many roles, including wife, mother, and consultant, but she put those other roles aside to speak to the program’s attendees. D’Antignac agreed and said prioritization is essential.

“Be intentional and decide what’s most important,” she said. “There’s a season for everything, and saying no is OK.”

Collette D’Antignac, Kim Evans, and Patrice Jackson offered advice to women business leaders at the Women in Business program.

Evans has a unique way of maintaining a work-life balance. She has many unused vacation days, but she said she only takes about a week off each year and usually ends up working that week.

“I have a very busy schedule, so I try to tag fun stuff onto my business trips,” she said.

Evans often invites family and friends to join her on these trips to various states, including California and New York.

The panelists also discussed leadership styles. D’Antignac uses the situational leadership model, a flexible approach that varies based on each unique business situation and employee need. She believes in coaching her employees frequently and recalled how sensitive she used to be when others offered her constructive criticism.

“Consider feedback as a gift, and use it as ammunition to get better,” D’Antignac said.

Jackson provided an example of situational leadership from her time as dean of students at Georgia Southern University. In 2015, five GSU nursing students were killed in a car accident. Augusta University President Dr. Brooks Keel was the university’s president at the time.

“He led by asking, ‘Patrice, have you eaten today?’” she said. “He wanted to support us rather than stepping on stage as president.”

D’Antignac believes in adjusting her leadership style to each employee’s unique needs, while Evans said she takes the same approach with all her employees.

“I treat them the way they want to be treated,” she said.

For Evans, how she treats herself is equally important.

“I have no negative self-talk at all, so for any of you women who do that, stop it,” she said. “I never felt like I didn’t belong in a space.”

Jackson and Evans both discussed the importance of creating a path for the next generation of businesswomen. Jackson said if a woman is in a leadership role, it’s because she deserves to be there, but Evans offered a different perspective.

“Show up, open the door and get out of the way,” she said.

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