Syl Saller secret work weapon? Value your family life

Syl Saller, chief marketing officer, Diageo
Syl Saller, chief marketing officer, Diageo

Syl Saller, chief marketing officer at Diageo, gains vital perspective from her family's groundedness.

I picked up a copy of the Weekend section of The Times on Mother’s Day and read the cover article, entitled "Maternal guilt… Isn’t it time we dropped it?" It cited a study that found women are "paralysed by a double burden of guilt: anxious about neglecting their children and concerned that motherhood makes them worse employees".

Life’s too short to spend time feeling guilty. I realised early on in my career that my family is the secret weapon that gets me through the tough times at work. I come home to dinner most nights and am teased relentlessly about my bad driving, lack of practical knowledge and general "spaciness". I treasure every minute.

Pretty much anything can happen at work, but as long as my family is happy and healthy, I can see my way through it. When times are tough, I need perspective. Roger, Alexa and Jake never fail to ground me in that. They are the rock upon which I stand – (cue Bette Midler and hankies) the wind beneath my wings. Corny, I know, and even scarier that I actually think these things. But seriously, not a day goes by when I’m not grateful for, and deeply rooted in, their love and support.

So… my family is my secret work weapon, and I’ve never felt guilty about it; they make me a better leader, and my job makes me a better mum.

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