Welcome to our monthly series with Platform Scottsdale, a nonprofit organization that creates a forum for like-minded women to meet, mentor and build networking relationships with one another. This month’s fun feature is by founder and COO Pearl Woodring.
Warning: The following article will inspire you to make a difference in your community and your life!
When managing family and career becomes overwhelming and both are vying for your time, how do you carve out time from your busy schedule to volunteer? The real challenge is, how do you balance it all?
Nicole Goodwin would know first hand about juggling family, work and squeezing in time to volunteer for a worthy cause. She joined the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), right after her now-10-year-old was diagnosed with severe autism. Instead of the diagnosis discouraging her or slowing her down, it inspired Nicole to become a community activist paving the way for kids and adults with autism to live a successful life.
Who is Nicole Goodwin? Nicole, is a shareholder in the commercial litigation department at Greenberg Traurig, a wife, a mom of two beautiful boys ages 6 and 10, Co-Chair of SARRC’s 16th Annual Community Breakfast, Commissioner of the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues. She gracefully answers our Q&A on balancing it all. She admits that overall, a good support system can make all the difference when navigating family, career and volunteerism. More so, Nicole still finds the time for a mid-week hydropeptide facial and the essential fire engine red manicure!
Q. Time management— how do you balance children, work, and volunteering?
A. I can only do what I do with the support of my husband who has never held me back from anything, or made me feel guilty about being at the office or in the community. Beyond that, being as fully present as I can be, wherever I am, and not being afraid to kill two birds with the same stone – for me that means being friends with the people I work with, volunteering with friends, and sometimes bringing a kid to work.
Q. How do you find the time to volunteer? Where?
A. For me I don’t try to find time – I use a calendar and block it off, and I do my best to not flake or cancel once I’ve made a commitment. Sometimes I have no choice, for example in the event of an emergency for a client or a sick child, but otherwise if I plan on it, then I do it.
Q. Which three adjectives best describe you?
A. Logical, empathetic and open.
Q. What advice would you give your younger self?
A. Live in a big city longer – in my case, NYC. In my 20’s I was always thinking about the next step – getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc. instead of truly living in the moment I was in.
Q. What advice would you give a mom juggling children and re-entering the work force?
A. Find your support – whether it’s family, friends, paid support if necessary, and don’t be afraid to use it. And pay it forward (or back) by being a support to others.
Q. What advice would you give women with limited time seeking volunteer opportunities?
A. Don’t over commit – link up with an organization that allows you to do “one-off” kinds of things, whether a volunteer on a given day, a walk, or something else that is not an ongoing commitment. Then, as you can plan on doing more of these, once a month for example, you can build on your participation and make a greater commitment. But in all cases only do what you are passionate about – otherwise the volunteering will be a chore.
Q. What woman inspires you and why?
A. My aunt – I lost her a few years ago to cancer, and at the time she died she had three school aged boys. She inspires me to live without regret, and not just tell my kids I love them each day, but show them.
Q. What’s your favorite quote?
A. I am one of those people who can get halfway through an episode of Law and Order before I remember I’ve seen it before. I’m like that with quotes – I like them when I read them, absorb them, then promptly forget them.
Q. What do you like about being a Platform Scottsdale member?
A. Meeting women I wouldn’t otherwise meet – most days I get in my zone and spend a lot of time with other lawyers. Not that there’s anything wrong with lawyers . . . but I enjoy meeting women from a variety of backgrounds, whether in the work force or not, especially women in creative fields who are pursuing their dreams.
Q. Do you pamper yourself? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?
A. I am not shy about pampering – I calendar Spa Week twice a year, for example, and plan on it. When friends come in from out of town I use that opportunity to splurge and go to a spa or stay-cate. But my biggest pampering is sleep – if I don’t have enough I can’t get done what I need to get done.
Q. What’s your favorite pastime?
A. Being with my boys, even if it’s just in the backyard or at the park. Trying to slow down time before they grow up and are no longer my babies.
Q. Are there any upcoming events you would like to share with us?
A. Yes! This year I am co-chairing the 16th Annual Community Breakfast for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) – it’s Thursday, April 17 at the Biltmore at 7:30 a.m. It’s a powerful, inspiring event that’s not to be missed. If you would like to know more about the SARRC breakfast at the Biltmore, contact Nicole at—firstname.lastname@example.org