Lt. Governer of Massachusetts Kerry Healy was the guest speaker at the Womens Executive Forum breakfast I attended this morning. The program was sponsored by the Ad Club and held at the Four Seasons (in the Governor's Room, no less!).
It was a great start to the day; the sunny banquet room, continental breakfast and relatively small group of local women executives in attendance provided an intimate setting for Healy's discussion on balancing and attaining personal and professional goals...subjects about which she can speak at length.
Healy grew up in Daytona Beach, FL, during the 60's and 70's, which at times was a somewhat lawless environment due to the crowds of people (five hundred thousand) that would descend on the community of thirty thousand each spring break. The mayhem that often ensued left an impression on her, sparking her first interest in law enforcement and drug controls.
She attended less-than-stellar public schools (where Physics class was taught by a Physical Therapist from the athletic department because no one else was qualified and he at least had the "Phys" in his title), but was raised by a school teacher mother who instilled a passion for education. At 15, Healy's father suffered a debilitating heart attack which forced her to work 3 jobs in an effort to help pay the family's expenses.
Her combination of hard work, self study, and dogged determination was rewarded when she gained acceptance at Harvard University as an undergrad, and later Trinity College in Ireland (thanks to a Rotary Club scholarship). In Ireland she studied human rights, and how a society that had been incessantly under seige by terrorism could survive and protect its citizens' civil liberties (little did she know how relevant this would become 20 years later).
She met her husband in Ireland, a fellow Harvard grad also on a Rotary Club scholarship, and when talk turned to her family she revealed how she maintains that elusive work-life balance: by leveraging her extended family. Her mother-in-law lives in the house next door and has been gracious enough to help raise Healy's two children. Her own mother lives in a neighboring town.
I enjoyed hearing Healy speak; she was very eloquent and engaging, and clearly comfortable with the decisions she's made and her position in life. She's proof that there's truth in the old adage she shared early on in her talk: If you want to get something accomplished, give it to a busy woman.