We had the good fortune of connecting with Hillaree Durso and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hillaree, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I use to think there was an equal balance between my personal life and my professional life but recently have discovered my time is never truly split equally. This may be an unpopular opinion but I do not believe that there is such a thing as a 50./50 work-life balance. I believe it’s important to be present and to show up and give 110% in family, in work, and in life in general. When you are with your family, be fully present, when you are working with your team on a project, be fully present. Make time for what’s important to you. I work for a marketing agency that leads its core values with “Family First”. This doesn’t mean just our team being a “work family” it means exactly what it says, family first. It means prioritizing time with your loved ones. Life is not an equal balance, just show up and be present in everything you do.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Originally from Northern California, I moved to Florida when I was 11 years old and ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fl. During my final semester in college, I interned for Shantelle, my boss now. She was a Marketing Director for a Tourism Development Department at the time. She was leaving in the middle of my internship and had plans to start her own agency. After only knowing her for about two months, I walked into her office on her last day and said, “I do not know where you are going or what you are doing but I know I want to work for you”. Two years later I received a phone call from Shantelle that she started her own agency and that she wanted to hire me to be her first employee. I’ve never looked back. The decision I made to pull together the courage to walk into her office was a pivotal moment in my career. I was nervous and fearful of rejection but now I look back and am proud of myself for “going for it”. I tell people all the time, sometimes it just takes a few seconds of courage for something great to happen. Don’t sleep on opportunities.

A few takeaways in my career thus far: Failure is inevitable. Success and winning do not always mean the same thing. A team that trusts each other can do anything.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Simon Sinek – “Life changes for the better when we realize we don’t have to know everything and we don’t have to pretend that we do.”

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Arizona is one of my favorite places to visit. I would tell anyone who is thinking about visiting to GO! Sedona is breathtakingly beautiful and you can’t beat downtown Scottsdale.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to a couple of people. First, my family. Their unwavering support and love have been second to none and I do not know what I’d do without them. Thank you for always encouraging me to “go for it”. The second is to my current boss, mentor, and friend, Shantelle Dedicke. Thank you for giving me an opportunity, for trusting in my abilities, for always having my back, and for being invested in my personal/professional growth.

A few of the many quotes from Shantelle that I keep close to my heart:
“It doesn’t get easier; you just get stronger.”
“Prove yourself to yourself, not others.”
“Life is hard. Give yourself a few minutes to cry it out, and then you’ve got to be gangster and do what you have to do.”

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hillareemichelle/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hillareedurso/

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