Mar 11, 2015

“I am a small business owner, a career woman, and a Tuck partner”

By Erin Gallagher, Tuck Partner (TP) '16

Originally from Central Illinois, Erin moved to Hanover after spending six years working in Chicago. Her husband Mike is a T '16. Upon moving, Erin left her full-time position as a meeting & event planner and started her own freelance planning business. Moving to Tuck presented a perfect opportunity to start a new business. Outside of work, Erin is also a member of the TP Board, serving as the visitor co-chair. Erin participates in both the Book and Work from Home clubs. Mike will be spending the summer in New York while Erin stays with friends for a famous Hanover summer!

The decision to come to Tuck was not a very difficult one for my husband Mike and me. Business school—specifically Tuck—had been a dream of Mike’s for a long time. While I was well aware of that, it was important to me that my career not get lost in the shuffle. Shortly after accepting the offer from Tuck, we made another big life decision: I left my full-time job as a meeting and event planner to venture out on my own as a freelance planner.

I've always wanted to start my own meeting management business and after nearly seven years learning the ropes at a firm in Chicago, I finally felt ready. We moved to Hanover in July 2014 and I set up shop in our second bedroom at our home in Sachem Village.

I now spend my days creating theme parties, negotiating contracts, and taking calls with clients from the comfort of my own home. My commute is a few steps across the hall and I do my work wearing yoga pants more often than I care to admit.

I do sometimes worry about the seclusion and loneliness that can come with working remotely. When I start to feel that I need human interaction, I will stop by the homes of other TPs who I know also work remotely. Sometimes we just have a quick “water cooler chat” and sometimes we’ll work together to help combat the quiet. Other times I will move my office over to Tuck just to be surrounded by the energy and busy-ness of the students.

I still do a lot of work for my old company in Chicago. The people I work with there are some of my best friends and it’s easy to feel excluded or forgotten when you’re not in the same office all day every day. This is where technology comes in very handy. Not only do I Skype in for team meetings, I even FaceTime into monthly happy hours (complete with my own appetizers and glass of wine at home) to help keep the friendship and camaraderie alive.

The best part about all of this is that work no longer consumes my whole life. I have a better work life balance now than I ever did before. I have the freedom to take my husband to class in the morning and meet up with friends for an afternoon walk. I get to meet my husband for coffee whenever our schedules allow and I can hang out with my favorite Tiny Tuckies when their moms and dads are in a pinch and need a babysitter in the middle of the day.

Working remotely has allowed me to really get involved in TP life and also embrace Hanover living. Most importantly, our current situation means both my husband and I are fulfilling our dreams simultaneously. I am not just a TP in Hanover because my husband wanted to go to business school. I am a small business owner, a career woman, and a TP.

(Photo at left: Erin's home office.)