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Kids or career?

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 04, 2014 - 4:47 PM |
 Toronto author Reva Seth is guest speaker at the 19th annual Celebrate Women event, which takes place at Laurentian University's Fraser Auditorium April 10. Supplied photo.

Toronto author Reva Seth is guest speaker at the 19th annual Celebrate Women event, which takes place at Laurentian University's Fraser Auditorium April 10. Supplied photo.

One doesn't preclude the other, author says

Toronto author Reva Seth was at a bit of a low point in her career when she found out she was pregnant with her first child.

She'd worked on Bay Street as a lawyer, but hated it. She got engaged, moved to the United Kingdom, and went into public relations. While it was a better professional fit for her, she was making a fraction of her previous salary.

“I just thought I'm at a point now where I don't have a great career, and now I'm going to have a baby,” said Seth, now the mother of three. “I honestly felt like my career is now over before it had even started.”

These fears turned out to be far from the truth. After the birth of her first child, she started her own successful public relations consulting company.

She also pursued her dream of becoming a writer. Because her parents' marriage had been arranged, she explored the topic in her 2008 book “First Comes Marriage: Modern Relationship Advice From the Wisdom of Arranged Marriages.”

“What actually happened is my career actually came together after my son was born,” Seth said.

She explores this idea in her second book “The Mom Shift: Women Share their Stories of Career Success After Having Children.”

Seth will speak about her book at Laurentian University's Fraser Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m. April 10 as part of the 19th annual Celebrate Women event.

Catherine McKenna, one of the women featured in the book, used each of her three maternity leaves from her job as a corporate lawyer to develop Canadian Lawyers Abroad, the non-profit organization she'd founded that supports the rule of law in Africa and Asia.

Soon after her third maternity leave, McKenna took the plunge, and left her day job to run Canadian Lawyers Abroad full-time.

Seth said the book also shows how families can arrange careers around children's needs.

One woman who illustrates this idea is Sabrina Smith, who works days while her husband works nights so they don't have to pay for child care.

Seth said she hopes people come away from her book with the idea
“that we have a lot more choices than we usually hear about.”

The organizer of the Celebrate Women event, Carol Stos, said she thinks Seth's book is very timely, as many women struggle with balancing a career and family.

“It's very reassuring,” she said. “It means that in the end, contrary to the prevalent attitude, having a family and achieving career success are not incompatible.”

Celebrate Women, which features a different female Canadian author each year, is a fundraiser for the Sudbury branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women, YWCA Sudbury and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).

Copies of Reva's book will be available for purchase at the event. The book's publisher, Random House, is donating half of the cost of each book sold to the event's organizers.

Tickets to the event, which cost $10 each, are available for purchase at Apollo Restaurant, Gloria's Restaurant, La Boulangerie du Village, the Laurentian University Bookstore and at the door.

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Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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