It's working for Susan Cohen
“Really young children, babies, really don’t need that much. I went back to work when my kids were really young and I worked from home and it was really fine.”
Susan Cohen wanted to make a change. She’d been working for a start-up company, which had been acquired by Yahoo, and wanted to find a job where she could be creative, use her mind, and still have time to juggle the responsibilities of parenting three kids.
“We had been in the New York area and my husband took a job in Raleigh, NC and I took a year off to figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. “I took a piece of paper and started writing down what was important to me as a working mom. I thought about what the career options would be. Somewhere I still have that piece of paper. The big thing for me was having a job and a career, with respect and prestige where I could make a difference.”
Susan decided to become a professor. She began studying for the GMAT, taking the Princeton Review book on a Caribbean vacation with her. She enrolled in a PhD program at the University of North Carolina.
“I was really fortunate that I was accepted from UNC. There were only two people in my cohort, I literally got one of two spots that I could have taken.”
Her good luck continued. Susan’s husband relocated to Richmond the third year of her program, “I landed at the University of Richmond, which allowed my family to stay together,” she said. Susan currently works as a professor of innovation, entrepreneurship, and corporate strategy at the University of Richmond, and conducts research on entrepreneur participation in accelerator programs.
Susan credits her husband with finding a balance that fits their family. “Husbands can make a real difference,” she said. “My husband and I really co-parent fully. Part of it was the way we approached parenting at the beginning. That after-dinner bottle was a really nice time for him to bond with the kids. It’s really valuable. I still feel the longer term effects of that. If I’m on my way to North Carolina for the day, he’s got the kids and I’m not worried about them.
And she encourages young women not to give up before the going gets tough. “I see so many women who take their foot off the gas before they need to in anticipation of not being able to do it all. Really young children, babies, really don’t need that much. I went back to work when my kids were really young and I worked from home and it was really fine.”
“Women can’t do it all,” she adds. “They need an active partner in their lives.”