In the past, burning the midnight oil was seen as a sign of admirable dedication, but now we know it leads to, well, burning right out. Being able to find work-life balance isn’t just a nice job perk—it’s crucial for success. Still, finding balance is a common challenge among the highest-achieving women.

The High Achiever’s Guide to True Work-Life Balance

Virginie Aubert, Vice President of Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Canada

“As part of Mercedes-Benz Canada’s leadership team and the mother of two young sons, managing competing priorities requires regular recalibration!” says Virginie Aubert, Vice President of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Canada.

Mercedes-Benz Canada celebrates female leaders through a partnership with the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) that includes sponsoring the annual Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders Award. Recently, the 2020 winners took part in the She’s Mercedes Virtual Wellness Retreat, an opportunity for connection and rejuvenation away from daily demands.

We caught up with Aubert shortly after the 2020 awards and asked her to share a few of her own savvy tactics for work-life balance.


Every weekday before her kids wake up, Aubert is an early-bird exerciser. “It’s one of the rare times when I can guarantee no one will need me,” she explains. Getting out for her daily run in the fresh air is a grounding practice, and recharging this way enables her to bring the right energy to work and life.


“I’ve learned to manage my own expectations about what I will be able to achieve over the course of a day,” says Aubert. “A realistic approach helps me reduce stress and appreciate the time I spend with my colleagues as well as my family.”


On Fridays, Aubert makes a point of reflecting on the past week and assessing the week to come. “This allows me to make personal and professional arrangements ahead of time and be more flexible when surprises come up since I’ve already taken the time to set priorities,” she explains, noting that this strategy also allows her to delegate more effectively.


Outside regular work hours, Aubert sets “no-phone zone” times, such as during family meals. “Hearing about what happened in my husband’s and sons’ days is so important,” she says. “It helps keep us connected even during the busiest periods.”


Most Canadians get two weeks of vacation annually, but a recent survey found that only one-third actually take it. For Aubert, spending a week away with family (in a place with “very limited internet”) is purposeful.

“I also do a yearly ‘girls’ trip’ with a close group of friends. We don’t all live in the same city any more, and all have extremely busy lives. Getting together for that time is even more meaningful now than it was when we were younger.”

Aubert calls these annual breaks with friends and family “a key component in stepping back, gaining big-picture perspective and identifying what’s most important.”