Our society has increasingly recognized the significance of a healthy balance between one’s personal life and that of their work life. It seems that this recent trend is emphasized especially with those who have entered the work force in the past two decades, yet within a society based on extremes, it seems there are few individuals who have managed to excel in this area. As someone who has recently made the transition from full-time student to full-time employee, the elusive work/life balance has been a popular topic of conversation among my peers. Seeing friends working schedules that vary week to week as well as friends that consistently work 80 hours a week, it has been refreshing to work with someone who manages to run what is virtually an educational empire while also making her family a priority.
Kim Kleeman, the President and Co-founder of Shakespeare Squared, UpGrade Education, and the soon to launch The Shakespeare Squared Foundation, has proven herself to be one of the most influential people supporting teachers and providing educational information today. Based in Glenview, Illinois, Shakespeare Squared develops K-12 products for education and trade publishers, as well as products for retail and academic markets. In addition to running a company that earned around $2.3 million in revenue in 2006 alone, the working mother of three oversees a 30-person staff while simultaneously creating a family-friendly work environment that adheres to a flexible 40-hour work week. Kim’s own family home is less than 5 minutes away from work, and she even makes it a point to have tea with her parents every morning. This mentality is applied to all of Shakespeare Squared’s office policies and facilities, which include a meditation and stress relief room as well as a designated office with child-care capabilities.
Recently, Kim mentioned several activities she likes to do in her free time to de-stress and unwind from a long work day, including reading self-help books, playing the piano, and having dance parties with her three kids. This made me start to evaluate what I do in my life in order to achieve a happy work/life medium. Everyone spends personal time differently, but I think it is extremely important to have a person in your life that reminds you of the fact that one can successfully achieve a work/life balance. Kim is definitely that person for all the members of her staff as well as for many people in this office. Although I may not be having dance parties everyday after leaving Zapwater, Kim is an excellent reminder that one may be incredibly successful professionally, and lead a happily fulfilled private life as well.