Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize when everything feels important on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.
As the saying goes, examples are set at the top. For C-level executives at major companies, setting an example that advocates a healthy, balanced approach to work for employees — while still driving performance and tackling high-level priorities — can feel like a tall order.
Luckily for Marcy Klevorn, a top exec at Ford Motor Company, her company of 36 years, she recognizes that there’s no such thing as one standardized path to success. And at Ford, she has the freedom to craft what a high-value day looks like for her, both personally and professionally.
From prioritizing time spent connecting with her husband and phone calls with her mother to making connections with Ford employees the world over, putting people first is a tenet Klevorn is able to live daily, even while driving a high business impact. Recently, she shared with Fairygodboss how she chooses to start and end a typical, productive work day, and everything that happens in between.
Who: Marcy Klevorn
What: Executive Vice President & President of Mobility, Ford Motor Company
Where: Greater Detroit Area
My alarm goes off and I sneak out of bed to let my husband, also a Ford employee, get a few more z’s.
As I sip my coffee, I flip through my emails. I like making this the first activity of my morning. I can start my day knowing I’m caught up on what is happening. Also, being part of a global enterprise means people on the other side of the world might be waiting for me to weigh in on something before they can move ahead. It’s important to me that my response time helps keep our operational speed high. Our team is moving fast and I am committed to not being the thing that slows them down.
Next, it’s off to the treadmill. Even if I can only do 10 minutes, I make sure I get the blood pumping. I used to do my morning run only if I had time to complete three miles, about 30 minutes. Too many mornings, I found myself skipping because I couldn’t spare the time. So now, I am committed to running every morning even if I only have time to log one mile.
After a quick shower and my morning prep, I assemble my breakfast – always a protein shake with fresh fruit, spinach, almond milk, and protein powder. I like to make enough to pour a second glass and take it into my husband, who is usually up and moving by this time of the morning. It’s my way of ensuring we connect before we run off to our busy jobs.
It’s off to the office. I listen to the news on the way – particularly Automotive Insights – to stay up to date.
The meetings have begun. Operating an entirely new business inside a company that is 115 years old means that I spend a good portion of my day explaining what we are doing In Ford Mobility and why (I usually also share how the other party can help). Part of a successful transformation is ensuring that everyone on the team can see where we’re going and witness progress being made. This may mean a lot of meetings, but alignment across the company is critical.
Today, my next hour will be prep time for an upcoming Ford Smart Mobility, LLC board meeting. Setting aside specific time on my calendar to do such things as prepare for big meetings and catch up on important reading is a great way to keep those “me” activities from always falling to the end of the day when my brain is tired and other life demands need attention. The upcoming board meeting is important. FSM is one of two LLCs operating under Ford Mobility. Through these businesses, we are transforming the way people and goods will move around our cities in the future. We have some important decisions to discuss with the Board that will help us accelerate our work and I plan to be ready. In preparing for important discussions, empathy is important, so I use some of this time to think about each stakeholder’s perspective.
After more meetings, it’s time for lunch. I don’t always get time to focus on my lunch, but I make it a point to ensure I am feeding my body well, even if it means doing it while I am also discussing the future business of self-driving vehicles. Lunch is always a salad with some sort of protein and berries, usually eaten while catching up on email or taking a call.
Time for a meeting with the CEO of a major technology company and one of our key partners. I find these conversations incredibly valuable. Not only can we progress important work together, but connecting with leaders outside of Ford and outside of the automotive industry is a great way to stay on top of trends, spot opportunities and get feedback that I can’t get from people who are on the same team and seeing things from the same viewpoint. Also, in the world of mobility, partnerships are important; the challenges will be solved by an ecosystem.
“Something To Talk About” – that’s what we call the live webcast stand-ups that we do regularly for the Ford Mobility team. Every two weeks, the mobility leadership team and I take questions from our team members around the world for 45 minutes, share information and recognize key accomplishments. It’s a great way to stay connected, hear what the team is thinking about and provide updates on the business.
After a few more meetings aimed to move our businesses along – fast decision-making is key – and a power session to clear through the inbox, it’s time to leave the office for home. Once a week, I often use this commute time to call my mom (thanks to SYNC® hands-free connectivity). Staying connected to loved ones – my mom, my son and daughter-in-law, dear friends – is nourishment for my spirit. Just as we can’t let a busy schedule get in the way of ensuring we are feeding our bodies properly, we have to be equally attentive to feeding our own spirits.
Speaking of staying connected, when I get home, it’s time for dinner with my husband – one of my favorite times of the day. We lead busy lives, but we try really hard to have some time together each night.
One final check of email, a few minutes of chopping fruit for tomorrow’s breakfast, and then it’s time to turn out the lights and get some rest at about 10:30 p.m. That’s the goal anyway. Tomorrow is going to be another big day.
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