The “Act” of Balancing Everything

December 8, 2023

The Four Corners Professional Women’s Summit has experienced significant growth over the past four years. The event encourages women from the Four Corners area and beyond to network, connect with professionals, and celebrate the community of Farmington. The recent summit, themed "Balancing 'Act'," focused on the challenges of maintaining balance in life. Speakers included Mary Bono, a former congresswoman, and Jennifer McCoy, an Air Force veteran and businesswoman, who shared insights on life's balancing act. The summit coincided with the Business-to-Business Expo, showcasing Four Corners businesses and providing networking opportunities. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Three Rivers Brewery and Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College

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For the past four years, the Four Corners Professional Women's Summit has seen exponential growth since its inaugural year. Encouraging women from around the Four Corners area and beyond to network, meet other professionals like themselves and celebrate the community of Farmington. You're watching "The Local News Network" brought to you by Three Rivers Brewing and the Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College. I'm Gillian Arwine.

Every year we do this summit and really it's just been the last three years that this has seen such huge growth. We learn something every year about how to run it, how to keep it on schedule, how to make sure our speakers are all sort of aligned, different interpretation of the theme. And we never want a speaker to say, "Well, we want you to say this," but just that we make sure we're staying on track with, you know, how the day runs. So we're learning every year ourselves, our committee. When I say that we, I mean our planning committee.

This year's theme "Balancing Act" is part of an evolution of sorts With the past few years' themes. 2021's theme, "Overcoming Adversity" reflected on the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year's theme, "Reinventing Yourself" reflected on how so many individuals saw their lives take a different course after the events of the past few years.

And this year we just know that everybody is juggling so many different things. And maybe it was for me 'cause I feel like I'm constantly trying to balance so many things and we figured most people are doing that. And it's not just women. We, I want to make sure people know that we know that men, a lot of are balancing a lot of things too. We just thought that it was a really good theme. And also the word act kind of in parentheses because it is really an act. I mean, we all put forward this space of, "Well I've got it all together. Yeah, I can do it all. You know, I can raise the kids and go to work and manage the money and volunteer and then be there for my parents and be there, you know, all these things." But really it can tend to stress us out a lot. And when we don't feel like we're handling it all, we start to sort of feel guilty and sort of like, "What's wrong with me? Everybody else is doing all this. Why can't I do all this too?" And it's because we all, it is really an act.

The speakers for this year's summit covered the different ways life is a balancing act. Mary Bono, former congresswoman for the state of California kicked off the summit talking about how life being out of balance is more the status quo than not. Jennifer McCoy, an Air Force veteran and businesswoman gave tips for keeping a scheduled and organized approach to life and how to deal with the unexpected curve balls.

And then Cecilia Tso, who was one of our presenters on balance and the Navajo Native American word for balance, which is hózhó, which I'm not saying right. But anyway, cultural balance. That was really good. And then our final speaker of the day was Sarah Elkins out of Montana and she did a presentation on how we share our stories.

In addition to the speakers and panel discussions, the Farmington Chamber of Commerce awarded Barbara Tedrow, who is the owner of Gold Star Academy, a preschool and daycare center, businesswoman of the year. This year was nonprofit professional of the year awarded to Eleana Butler from Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico.

I do think women have a very particular niche and a lot of particular challenges that they are facing. And it hasn't been that many years really, that women were in the workforce full-time like we are now. And not only are we, I mean, what has it been really since the fifties and sixties that women went into the workforce at sort of the rate we see now, but now there's a whole other level of pieces. Facebook, a Zoom. Now we can work not just eight hours a day, but 24 hours a day. I think this type of an opportunity where you can come together and learn and hear, and be inspired by other people's stories, again, just sort of affirms for you. "Yeah, hey, I'm doing okay." You know, all the women at this table, all the women in this room are facing the same things. And so just that affirmation that we can learn from each other. We're all doing okay.

This year the summit coincided with the Business to Business Expo showcasing Four Corners businesses and offering additional networking opportunities for summit attendees. And the expo was also open to the public. Next year's summit planning is already underway, so mark your calendars for the first week in November. Find out more information about this and other stories at FarmingtonLocal.News. Thank you for watching this edition of "The Local News Network." I'm Gillian Arwine.


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