Panelists at the March 18 "Work Life Balance. “OR” No More" event answered tough questions like: Why is work-life balance often difficult? Why do women and men continually struggle to find equality in leadership ranks? Why is having it all such an elusive quest?

Carey Goldberg, Common Health, WBUR, moderated the discussion.

Jodi Detjen, management & entrepreneurship professor at the Sawyer Business School and co-author of The Orange Line: A Woman's Guide to Integrating Career, Family and Life, explained that most women feel constrained by outdated and unrealistic ideals. It's a self-limiting belief system that the she and her co-authors call the Feminine Filter™.

Rather than trying to “do it all,” Professor Detjen said you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. And it's not a race. Pace yourself and plan a career path that accommodates your unique needs, she said.

Bernie Jones, associate professor at Suffolk University Law School, also shared her thoughts. Professor Jones is the editor of Women Who Opt Out: The Debate over Working Mothers and Work-Family Balance, a collection of essays by leading scholars in the field of work and family research. Her book suggests that most women leave the workplace because they feel pressure from their work environments, and small policy changes regarding scheduling, flexibility, and telecommuting could lead to important benefits for workers and employers alike.

Other speakers included John Badalament, international speaker, educator, author, filmmaker, program director of The Fatherhood Project as Mass. General Hospital, and author of The Modern Dads Dilemma: How to Stay Connected with your Kids in a Rapidly Changing World; Javier Barrientos, senior director of Global Diversity & Inclusion at Biogen Idec; and Su Joun, EMBA '04, senior director of Inclusion and Mobility at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.