Profile: Judy Triska
Marketing Director, Virginia Living Museum
On a slightly breezy fall day in October 2008, I received a call that I got the job! I’d be working for a local news station in Hampton Roads Virginia. Working there has been one of the highlights of my career in media and mostly because of my boss. Meet Judy Triska, a working mom who has made family a priority. For years I’ve admired her ability to so easily create a thriving family dynamic while still pursuing a career. I would watch her leave work to be there for extra curricular activities or listen as she planned weekend family outings. Judy found that a career change helped add more balance to her life and made the desire of being more present possible. Could a career change help you find more balance? Read how it impacted Judy and made life easier.
I am a Midwest girl at heart, born in St. Louis, Missouri as the youngest of 8 children. I was premature and beat the odds entering the world at 4lbs. 6 oz. in October of 1962. My older siblings were considerably older so my childhood memories are primarily with my two sisters closest to my age, while older siblings were in college or getting married.
We lived in a lovely home in South St. Louis and attended a Catholic grade school and high school –complete with plaid uniforms and a Roman Catholic upbringing. We would spend summers enjoying Carondelet Park, which was located across the street and playing outside with neighborhood kids. My parents would call us home from play using a “dinner bell” every evening. It was a great childhood.
I attended Fontbonne College not far from home and in graduated 1984 with a BA in Communications and an emphasis in Public Relations. In college, I met my husband John through a classmate and we married in 1987. At that time I had found my career path in broadcasting where I was a copywriter/marketer for local television. Opportunity knocked for John eight months into our marriage and we moved to Williamsburg Virginia where I continued my broadcast career for twenty years as producer, writer, editor, and ultimately Creative Services Director. Today, I am Marketing Director of the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
In 2010 my career took a turn and I left broadcasting for the non-profit world. With an opportunity to be more “present” for my children and simplifying my life I took a Marketing Manager position at the Virginia Living Museum, only ten minutes from home (not the hour commute I had previously). I discovered a new balance in my life and soon after, in 2013 my husband started his own business – James River Audio Visual Services and our lives took a turn for the better. Both my husband and I no longer felt tied to corporate constraints and found a happier life with more freedom in our new careers.
I was a victim of corporate downsizing when I left broadcasting but had it not been for that event, I would not be who I am today.
Now at 55 years old, I have come to the realization that life is indeed short and we must not forget our passions. In my new-found phase of my life I realize you must not wait to pursue dreams.
I have returned to enjoy my love for musical theatre and have pursued that “career” successfully in my free time landing roles with Virginia Musical Theatre and local community theatre groups in the area.
I have three amazing kids – Nick (26) Victoria (22) and Olivia (16). With only Olivia at home now (and driving!), I find my role as mom entering a new phase. Gone are the days of being “Mom Taxi” and PTA. I was very involved with my children, as I believe every parent should be. I look back and wonder how John and I did it years ago. I truly believe it was a partnership that John and I had to make it happen. We are a couple who communicate thoroughly and work together to make the household run smoothly. We also believe that our mutual faith beliefs and moral standards help us in the successful marriage we have had for 31 years.
After 31 years of marriage and 26 years of parenting I suppose there was some sort of chaotic plan we followed, but seriously we just took it as it came! Every day was a new challenge and John and I believed that anything was possible if we did it together. Our goals for our kid’s educations, their involvement in activities to explore their interests, and following our church practices formed our world. Very important to us was our “like mindedness” in every decision we made. I emphasize that our faith and moral beliefs remain at the foundation of every decision we made. Does it mean we always agreed on everything? Absolutely not, but it was amazing how much we thought alike … perhaps the years of being together brought this about.
We make special time to be with our daughter Olivia who is the only remaining child at home. As our third child we hope we have finally mastered the “parenting game” allowing her to be independent and make mistakes just like we all do. From the mistakes come the real lessons in life. The fact that we have 2 completely independent adult children at 26 and 22 years old is a testament to our parenting.
Hmmmm … ME time? As a young parent it never existed. I recall looking longingly at the sofa as a young mom and thinking I will never have a moment to sit and relax. Looking back though, I was okay with that. I wanted to give 100% to my kids because they deserved it. Now at 55, I DO have me time. It is found in my reconnecting to my passion for the stage and performing. Today, I look back and realize it was okay not to be about ME back then. My kids were (and are), my “everything”, but they needed Mom 100% growing up and I was just fine giving my all back to them. That was my #1 job… to be a mom! We have raised our kids to think selflessly and I suppose I was a living example to them as a young mom.
Advice for Moms
Be willing as a parent to sacrifice for your kids. The effort and time you give to them will pay you back ten-fold. If you parent well, your children will be independent, mini versions of you in their lives. If you raise them with the proper beliefs and structure, while at the same time being the example you want them to follow they will be successful. Be your children’s parents, not their friends. Be firm. Be consistent. Don’t send mixed signals and don’t be a helicopter parent. So many parents believe that by “doing” for their kids they are helping. Instead, let them learn on their own merit with your guidance. Give them encourage every step of the way. Be supportive of them as they do their personal best and enforce that mistakes are okay and we should learn from them. Strong faith and solid moral compass is the foundation of how we have raised our family.
Judy’s story resonates with so many moms and though her career change was not planned, it was purposed. In some cases, a different company or maybe even a different field might allow us more flexibility, This is my story as well. I went from working for a local television station to teaching college courses online simply because I wanted a to be present. I decided to frame my career around my family. If you wish to do the same there are tons of opportunities available such as telecommuting, teaching or entrepreneurship opportunities. Be the best mom you can be by making career choices that work best for you and your family.
Are you a mom balancing work and home life? Do you have tips that might help other moms? Share your comments below or contact us for a feature.