The Q&A—On Striking a Healthy Work-Life Balance
With Liberty Mutual’s Amy O’Neill
“Looking back, I would want a mentor to tell me that there is no magic formula to the work-life balance. The key is to find a healthy balance that enables you to be your best at work and at home, which will allow you to experience a fulfilling career.”
Q: What was your dream job as a kid and why?
I wanted to be a teacher. Growing up with nine siblings, I remember playing “school” with my younger brothers and creating tests and homework assignments; I loved the idea of running my own classroom (or bossing my brothers around!)
Q: Today, you have an enormous job—being someone who is responsible for driving strategy and the execution of health and welfare benefits and well-being programs for nearly 50,000 people. What is one of the most valuable and perhaps surprising lessons in leadership that has enabled you to do what you do?
Listening and empathy goes a long way. We serve a diverse base of employee needs and interests and although we cannot please everyone all the time, it is important to take a step back and listen to various perspectives, which ultimately helps shape our strategy and makes us better.
Q: Trying to strike a healthy work-life balance is a big, ongoing challenge for many women. What are some of the strategies that you have found most helpful?
Self-care and taking time for yourself is critically important when managing personal obligations and a full-time career. Even a daily walk during the lunch-hour can help refresh your mind and body. I have used our own well-being programs to help manage stress, including meQuilibrium, an app that assesses your sources of stress and offers tools to help you strengthen your resiliency.
Q: What inspires you most about some of the ways in which women are taking better care of their health and well-being today?
I am inspired when I see women embracing flexible work arrangements, taking full advantage of maternity leave, and writing blogs about everyday challenges of being a working parent or taking care of elderly parents. I am inspired when women are open and willing to support each other in offering advice to improve overall well-being.
Q: If you were just starting out, what would you want a mentor to tell you about how to succeed as a woman in the workplace?
Looking back, I would want a mentor to tell me that there is no magic formula to the work-life balance. The key is to find a healthy balance that enables you to be your best at work and at home, which will allow you to experience a fulfilling career. And, most importantly, if you’re able to follow your passion, you’ll likely find the rest will fall into place.
Amy O’Neill is VP & Director of Health and Well-Being Strategy for Liberty Mutual Insurance