President Laura Trombley on Finding the Balance in Forbes.com

[Reprinted from Forbes.com.]

Finding The Balance: Laura Trombley
Hannah Clark 03.19.07, 3:00 PM ET

Laura Trombley, 46, became president of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., in 2002. Since then, the endowment has almost doubled and applications have risen 50%. Trombley is currently completing her third scholarly book on Mark Twain. She is married with an 11-year-old son.

I had never experienced exhaustion before I became president. In my first year, there were times I would be so tired I could hardly move. Being president is a 24-7 job, and there’s such a draw on your energy that you have to really be mindful that you’re not running a sprint, you’re running a marathon. And being a mother is as all-consuming as being a college president. I help my son with his homework every night when I'm home. I have one child, he'll have one childhood, and that's very important to me.

In the last two years, I have learned that there are certain things I need to do in order to conserve energy. Most of my meetings are 20 minutes long. Then I have between five and 10 minutes to do everything I need to follow-up--write a response, send an e-mail, make a call. I lay out my clothes on Sunday, because I don’t have time to mess around in the mornings during the week.

A lot of people in charge try to take the lead on too many things. I try to utilize my vice president and cabinet, and encourage them to take the lead on interesting projects. Recently I was asked to be a keynote speaker at a conference. The person who asked was very clever and said, “It’s just 10 minutes.” I offered my dean of the faculty instead.