Ask the NAEM Board: If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

Minda Sarmiento

Balancing home, family and job is not an equilateral triangle. I think the expectation when you’re starting your career is to work really hard and I devoted a lot of time to my job. I remember one time when I was sitting at the dining room table reviewing some reports and my five-year-old daughter was sitting there coloring.  I asked, “What are you doing?” And she said, “Well, I’m working hard, too.”

Being a working mom, I sacrificed a lot for my kids. I was always there for the important stuff: concerts, spelling bees, but I wasn’t the homeroom mom. Fortunately my kids were okay with that. It’s hard to balance it work, life and family. It may not always perfect, but hopefully you have a spouse who is supportive and shares the responsibilities, which I did, and I think that that made it a lot easier. As challenging as it was, though, I couldn’t really see myself staying at home.

I think it’s important for women to find other women who have gone through this to seek their advice. I think telecommuting provides the opportunity for better balance, now, and it seems like more employers are receptive to that idea. It’s important to remember, however, that if you’re out of sight, you might be out of mind.


About NAEM Staff

The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM), is a non-profit professional association that empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability. As the largest network for environmental, health and safety (EHS), and sustainability decision-makers, we provide peer-led educational conferences and an active network for sharing solutions to today’s corporate EHS and sustainability management challenges. Visit NAEM online at

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