Welcome to an engaging and inspiring interview with our guest, a true force of nature – a marathon mom and devoted grandmother who seamlessly balances her corporate career with an unwavering commitment to philanthropy. In this conversation, we have the pleasure of delving into the extraordinary life of this remarkable woman, who epitomizes the essence of determination, compassion, and giving back. Prepare to be inspired as she shares her unique journey, recounting how she conquers marathons and triumphs in her corporate endeavors while finding time to make a meaningful impact through her philanthropic pursuits. From the thrill of crossing the finish line to the joy of making a difference in the lives of others, our guest embodies the true spirit of resilience and selflessness. Join us as we uncover the captivating story of a marathon mom and grandmother, whose unwavering dedication and zest for life serve as a testament to the transformative power of balancing personal passions with corporate success and philanthropy.
L. Renee’: As a successful corporate woman, marathon runner, and someone who actively engages in charity work, how do you manage to maintain a fulfilling personal life outside of these commitments?
Michelle: “First, I have accepted that achieving a perfect work/life balance is an elusive goal. I’ve come to realize that my calendar essentially represents my life, as it is packed with various commitments and responsibilities. Nonetheless, I make a conscious effort to manage my time effectively. For instance, I carve out specific blocks for tasks like marathon training and socializing with friends. It might mean waking up at 4:00 am to fit in a workout, enabling me to enjoy a carefree evening for a girls’ night out. It’s a constant juggling act that requires give and take, but I do my best to find harmony between my professional and personal pursuits.”
L. Renee’: Being a corporate leader and an accomplished marathon runner, what are some lessons you have learned from your experiences that you apply to your role as a mother/grandmother/friend?
Michelle: “One of the biggest lessons life has taught me is the importance of patience. You see, life isn’t just a quick sprint, but more like a marathon that requires endurance and sticking it out for the long run. It’s all about understanding that the journey itself is just as significant as reaching the final destination.
In a world where we’re often bombarded with messages of instant gratification and overnight success, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and forget to enjoy the process. But when we learn to slow down and appreciate each step along the way, we discover the real beauty and growth that come from it.
Being patient doesn’t mean we settle or become complacent; it’s about finding a balance between our ambitions and being content with where we are at each moment. It’s about realizing that success isn’t just about the end result, but also about the resilience, determination, and persistence we show throughout the journey.
Embracing patience allows us to find joy in even the smallest victories, learn valuable lessons from setbacks and challenges, and appreciate the progress we make along the way. It’s about finding fulfillment in the process and celebrating the personal growth we experience along the road.
So, as I continue on this wild adventure called life, I remind myself to take it easy, enjoy the ride, and remember that the finish line isn’t everything. It’s about embracing the ups and downs, savoring the present moment, and cherishing the relationships and experiences that make the journey worthwhile. After all, it’s in these moments of patience that we truly find the meaning and happiness we’re searching for.”
L. Renee’: Aside from your professional achievements and running marathons, what are some of the things that bring you joy and fulfillment in your personal life?
Michelle: “The greatest joy in my life comes from my cherished family and friends. Their presence brings me immense happiness and fulfillment. Additionally, I have a deep passion for travel, whether it’s exploring new destinations with my loved ones or embarking on exciting adventures with friends. The prospect of travel always fills me with anticipation and excitement, allowing me to create lasting memories and experience the wonders of the world.”
L. Renee’: How do you involve your family and loved ones in your marathon training or charity work? Is there a sense of shared purpose and support that helps strengthen your relationships?
Michelle: “As I dedicated my time to volunteering at the food pantry, I often had the joy of bringing along my grandson or one of my nieces to join in the experience. It was important to me that they develop a compassionate spirit and a deep understanding of the blessings they have in life. By involving them in acts of service, I hoped to instill within them a heart of compassion and gratitude. Together, we embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others, reminding ourselves of the importance of empathy and the power of giving back.”
L. Renee’: As a woman with multifaceted roles, how do you carve out time for yourself and engage in activities purely for enjoyment? What are some of your favorite hobbies or leisure activities?
Michelle: “At times when my body and mind reach a point of exhaustion, and I feel unable to give my utmost effort, I prioritize taking time off. Although I deeply love my job, I recognize the importance of self-care and rejuvenation. Whether it’s planning a staycation or indulging in a beach vacation, I relish the opportunity to unwind. With a good book in hand and a glass of wine nearby, I allow myself to simply relax and recharge. Alongside spending quality time with my cherished grandson, my other hobbies include traveling, immersing myself in captivating books, and indulging in a bit of shopping. These activities bring me immense joy, allowing me to find balance and fulfillment in life.”
L. Renee’: In your journey as a corporate woman and marathon runner, who are some of the key mentors or role models that have inspired you? How have they influenced your personal growth and success?
Michelle: “After giving it much thought, I’ve come to realize what a true blessing it is to have had many mentors in my life. But if there’s one person I’d like to spotlight, it’s definitely my mom, Anita. She was a single mom raising six of us, working overnight shifts at the hospital. And you know what? Even after those long, exhausting nights, she’d come home and make sure we were up and ready for school every single day. No complaints, no hesitation. She just did what needed to be done to make sure we had everything we needed.
Her strength and dedication amaze me. It’s like she had an endless supply of love and energy to give. She showed us the true meaning of resilience and sacrifice. Growing up, I saw firsthand what it meant to never give up, no matter how tough things got. My mom taught me the importance of putting family first and doing whatever it takes to support and care for the people you love.
Looking back, I’m forever grateful for the lessons my mom imparted to me. She’s not just my mother, but also my hero and role model. Her unwavering presence and unwavering love continue to shape who I am today. I carry her spirit with me in everything I do, striving to embody the same strength, determination, and selflessness that she displayed. My mom’s impact on my life is immeasurable, and I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my guiding light.”
L. Renee’: Maintaining strong friendships is important for overall well-being. How do you nurture and sustain your friendships amidst your busy schedule? Do you have any special rituals or traditions?
Michelle: “Maintaining friendships is important to me, and I prioritize being there for my friends whenever they need me. While I value my job, I also recognize the significance of nurturing meaningful connections. Sometimes, instead of simply sending a text, I make the effort to pick up the phone and give them a call. Other times, a quick check-in text serves as a way to gauge whether a phone call is necessary. Regardless, my intention is always to let them know that I am present and available whenever they may require support or a listening ear.
Throwing a big birthday bash to bring us all together is most likely my favorite ritual or thing to do with my friends. Whether the party is here in Ohio, Vegas, or Mexico it’s always a great vibe and with many memorable moments.”
L. Renee’: Family plays a significant role in many aspects of life. How has your family’s support and understanding impacted your achievements and helped you overcome challenges along the way?
Michelle: “My family has continuously served as my biggest cheerleaders, whether it’s through thoughtful text messages, uplifting phone calls, creating handmade signs, or waking up at the crack of dawn to join me in cheering for my races. Their unwavering support and motivation never waver, even during the most trying times. Their constant encouragement serves as a driving force that propels me forward, helping me find the strength to overcome obstacles and reach new heights. Their presence in my journey is an invaluable source of inspiration and fortitude, reminding me that I am never alone in pursuing my goals.”
L. Renee’: As a grandmother/mother/friend, how do you instill the values of resilience, dedication, and compassion in the younger generation? Are there specific experiences or stories you share to inspire them?
Michelle: “Instilling values in the younger generation is something I prioritize, and I believe it’s essential to lead by example. I strive to demonstrate grace and gratitude in my actions, recognizing that actions speak louder than words. This is particularly crucial with the current generation, as they closely observe and emulate the behaviors they witness. It’s not enough to merely talk about our values; we must actively live them out in our daily lives. By consistently embodying grace and gratitude, I hope to inspire the younger generation to do the same and make a positive impact in their own lives and the world around them.”
L. Renee’: Amidst your professional and athletic pursuits, how do you unwind and recharge? Can you share some of your favorite ways to relax and have fun outside of your busy schedule?
Michelle: “To unwind and find relaxation, two things never fail to bring me joy: a soothing massage and diving into a good book. These are my top choices when I need a break from the everyday hustle. While a spontaneous beach getaway may not always be feasible, indulging in a massage or immersing myself in a captivating book are my go-to remedies. However, one of the greatest joys in life is spending quality time with my grandson. Those moments filled with laughter and adventure bring a sense of fulfillment and create cherished memories that I hold dear.”