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BALANCING ACT

Rep. Susie Lee spent years fighting homelessness. Now she shares how women can stop holding themselves back

Eric Connolly

This story is part of How We’ll Win in 2019, a year-long exploration of workplace gender equality. Read more stories here

“My career has been about taking on tough problems,” Susie Lee (D-NV) writes on her campaign web site. She’s spent years in the nonprofit world, taking on problems such as high school dropout rates, homelessness, and funding for other nonprofits. Now that she’s in the House, representing the area of Nevada south of Las Vegas, Lee clearly intends to do just that. She serves on the House’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Committee on Education and Labor.

What have you learned though your career in public service that you wish you had known from the very beginning?

There is never a perfect time to get involved. For years, I had been asked to run for different offices, and it never was the perfect time, due to family obligations. Then, I finally decided that was now or never because there are too many issues that need to be addressed like fixing the student loan debt crisis, getting corruption out of our halls of power, and creating an economy that works for everyone. So I ran. So, I say to young women, if you have that voice telling you to run, listen to it.

What were you told that you wish you hadn’t listened to?

I wish I had not listened to myself. I came from a traditional family with a stay at home mom. I felt that that was the only way I could raise my children—by putting my career on the back burner for a few years. In any case, my kids were excited that I decided to run, were my best volunteers, and continue to be incredibly supportive. Not only that, through volunteering on the campaign, they learned so much about humanity. So, I wish I didn’t listen to my own “naysayer.”

This story is part of How We’ll Win in 2019, a year-long exploration of workplace gender equality. Read more stories here

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