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(left-right) Tara N. Adams, CTFA - Principal, Vice President, Trust Services and Sr. Trust Officer Johnson Family Office Services at Johnson Investment Counsel;{ }Tracey Ireland - Director of Marketing at Rhinegeist Brewery
(left-right) Tara N. Adams, CTFA - Principal, Vice President, Trust Services and Sr. Trust Officer Johnson Family Office Services at Johnson Investment Counsel;{ }Tracey Ireland - Director of Marketing at Rhinegeist Brewery
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Redefining the Art of Being an Executive Mom: Tracey Ireland, Tara N. Adams

Getting Out of Your Own Way: Tracey Ireland - Director of Marketing at Rhinegeist Brewery: Mom to identical twin daughters (16) - Tara N. Adams, CTFA - Principal, Vice President, Trust Services and Sr. Trust Officer Johnson Family Office Services at Johnson Investment Counsel: Mom to two sons (6 and 8)

Welcome to the second edition of our monthly series, “Redefining the Art of Being an Executive Mom.” Every month we will tackle one challenge of being an Executive Mom (EM) through the lens of EMs who are in it. Expect tough questions with unapologetically real answers.

This month’s topic is “Getting Out of Your Own Way.” Because this topic has so many nuances, we feature perspectives of two EM’s from different industries and life stages: Tracey Ireland and Tara Adams. Both admit prioritizing our value and time can be hard... especially amidst the pulls of work and home life. The struggle to master both domains is real. And, it takes a massive amount of vulnerability, grace and fortitude to persevere. What both will attest to is there isn’t one right way to approach the dilemma, but it is always a choice. Albeit, not always an easy one. Which requires us all to own our strengths and stand in our power.

Let’s go deeper:

1. Where do you struggle in prioritizing your own value? How do you address it?

Tracey: Setting boundaries in everything I do as a woman, not just as a mom. I’m GEN X, and grew up in a time where you put your head down, accepted hard situations, got used to being overlooked, handled it and moved on. This mindset gave me grit and strength but also made it hard for me to understand how to set boundaries that honor myself. I now have enough wisdom and confidence to better manage boundaries including vocalizing what I'm willing to compromise on both personally and professionally.

Tara: In order to prioritize my value, I must first acknowledge it, and this is my greatest obstacle. I love pouring into others, deeply connecting with friends and family, and sharing lessons learned through my own struggles with younger female professionals. I have come to realize that this is part of my value, and in order to continue sharing it with others, I have to allow myself to get filled back up. Giving myself permission to disconnect in order to have valuable quiet time (as a natural introvert, self-taught extrovert) is the key for me to be able to carry my greatest value into my personal and professional relationships. When I see the warning signs that I’ve neglected myself, I pray and then look at my calendar to schedule time to take better care of myself, which becomes a non-negotiable.

2. What has been the hardest thing to let go of control of? How have you done it?

Tracey: I lean on my Mom a lot for help. When the girls were 4, she moved to the area to be near us. She is so helpful and has a positive, profound impact on them. It’s hard to let go of being “in charge” of everything. The three of them know everything that is going on with each other and I feel out of the loop and sometimes jealous because I am at work. I remind myself that they are developing a life-changing relationship with their Grandma and to thank my lucky stars that we have her. I could not have the career that I have without her support. At work, decisions impacting my team or the brand are the hardest to let go of. I work in a collaborative environment, which I now love, but it took some time to get comfortable with it. The lesson I learned is that there is more value in collaboration and what it can do for team dynamics than in making the actual decision itself. This has helped me embrace ambiguity and let go!

Tara: I think this is a lifelong area of growth for me. Generally, control is the hardest thing to let go of, but I’ve learned through many struggles that control is really an illusion. It’s like shifting sand. The trick is to identify what’s in my control and what isn’t. For me, the hardest situation to let go control of is when the outcome impacts me yet isn’t mine to own. This is especially true when I expect the outcome may have a negative impact. Here, I have to embrace better boundaries and responses. I also think that letting go of control is layered, meaning it’s never a one-time event. It’s an ongoing, layer by layer process whereby I hopefully learn that I never really had control anyway. In actuality, it just brings more awareness, trust in my God and the ability to respond in ways that leave me with greater peace.

3. How do you deal with a bad day?

Tracey: Bad days make me sad because I love what I do and the people I work with. At Rhinegeist, we work in a very challenging and hyper-competitive market. The Craft Beer space is rapidly changing and resources are limited. I feel a shared responsibility for building an iconic Cincinnati brand/company that will be around in 100 years. There is a lot of pressure to unpack in that responsibility. We have bad days, but the key is looking for what you can learn from those bad days, creating context and sharing that lesson. I’m not making and selling beer. I’m building a company with my peers. Raising teenage daughters is crazy hard. Right now we are just trying to co-exist peacefully in a house filled with three strong-willed personalities. On bad days, we give each other physical space, shut bedroom doors and ask to hit the reset button.

Tara: These are the days I’m grateful for all the prior trials/gifts I’ve had in my life because it’s developed a resilience that I need to walk through whatever this day’s “bad” might be. I usually start with prayer as my faith is the foundation of my life. Sometimes, I need to “phone a friend” and have them pray for me because I can’t do it for myself. The next thing I permit myself to do is feel my feelings. This isn’t something I’m naturally inclined to do; I typically go straight to the logical trying to figure out how to fix and undo the bad. However, certain seasons of life exist to press this completely out of me, so that I can more quickly relinquish the bad and embrace the gift, the lesson of the bad day. And then finally, I ask for help. This is the hardest thing for me to do because I am an extremely independent person. I often believe the lie that I can do it all myself. It’s foolish, really, to think that when a terribly bad day – or series of bad days – comes upon me that I can stand strong on my own. To pray, feel, and ask for help allows me to move into acceptance of the bad day. I can’t change it, control it, undo it, fix it or pretend it doesn’t exist. But by praying, feeling and asking for help, I can endure it and even find the gift in the bad, and in the end be grateful for that particular trial.

For additional Q&A, check out our ForthRight Women blog here . Also, check out to become part of our community. Here you can sign-up for our newsletter and be the first to know about our latest podcast episodes, local events and virtual programs. ForthRight Women was born from ForthRight People, which was founded by Anne Candido and April Martini... two Executive Moms who are in it as well.