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

Hi Michelle, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I used to think of balance as something that was fixed, like a puzzle. Once you get all the pieces in, you just have to maintain it. As my responsibilities grew and so did my family, I realized that way of viewing balance wasn’t going to work. It is not a fixed thing, but something that is shifting and moving all the time. Envision or even try balancing a baseball bat in the palm of your hand. It will shift from one side to another, so if you want to keep it from falling, you need to be flexible and aware. For me, there are times and season of each year that are worse than others. For instance, our budget season is always from April – June, but so is baseball for my son. I have come to realize, no matter how hard I want to or think I can do it all, I simply can’t. I have learned to have honest conversations. Honest conversation with my loved ones as well as work. People will understand and value the authenticity. The other problem with balance is, if you tend to see it leaning too far for too long, it will fall. You must be aware of when something is no longer a “season” but a part of life. That is when you must take a good look at your schedule and life and make the hard decisions. I think it is easy to fall into this when you don’t take regular times (once a year), to evaluate how things are going in your life.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Leadership West develops, empowers and enhances exceptional leaders to advance commerce and quality of life in our communities. When you connect with Leadership West, you connect with distinguished, diverse, decision-makers in the community who make important things happen.

Since its inception in 1993, Leadership West, a 501(c)3, has provided broad-based community education and access to key decision-makers to leaders in virtually every aspect of the region. Our alumni are actively and effectively impacting the future of the West Valley. We are mayors and council members; school board members and educators; real estate developers; medical providers; small business owners and representatives of corporate giants; grassroots activists; media executives; non-profit directors; municipal employees; artists and architects and more. Every aspect of the region is represented.

By providing both an education and a relationship-building opportunity, Leadership West brings the “best and the brightest” together to solve community problems. We encourage you to take full advantage of getting to know the alumni and taking advantage of all the opportunities Leadership West offers, this year and forevermore.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this one! There are so many places we would eat. We would start off with the local places here in Buckeye. We would begin our tour at Cafe 25:35 for an incredible breakfast with a wonderful hometown feel. From there we would head out to a hike at Skyline Regional Park and take in the beautiful views of the valley. During the week would take several coffee breaks at places like Ebb & Flow, Abbie Cakes, and Enroute Coffee. We would definitely have to make the drive to the Grand Canyon to watch a sunset and sunrise; both very different experiences. From there we would spend the day in Flagstaff and head into Sedona or Page. After that, we would visit the Verde Valley and kayak the verde river and spend some time in their downtown area, known for some incredible wine and dinning. I would finish off the week by taking my friend to the downtown area to grab food at one of our fabulous eateries like Otro Cafe and finish our time supporting either the Diamondbacks or the Suns.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Leadership West! They have been an incredible part of my leadership journey. The people I have met, challenged, and encouraged me along the way.

Website: https://leadershipwest.org

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/267643/admin/

Twitter: Leadership West, AZ @LWAlum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeadershipWest

Image Credits
Lizmoon Photography and my own personal photos

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