Enjoying a successful career at some of America’s best- known companies, Darlene Motley paused to reflect upon getting married.
“I knew I wanted children, and I was traveling a lot. I did not want both of us to be working long hours and traveling all the time.
“I wrestled over how to make the job fit, and then I realized that I could make a difference, have children, and have flexibility—if I became a business professor.”
Dr. Darlene Motley has already achieved all three goals. “I was pregnant with my first child during my
comprehensive exams. I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t want them to think I was looking for sympathy. My children are now ten and nine, and they call me “Dr. Mommy.”
As “Dr. Mommy,” she repeatedly fine-tunes the balancing act and makes accommodations in her professional life “so I can be there for my children’s programs when I want to, not when I can.”
To better control her time, she chose employment at a university where teaching is the primary focus. Research is a part of the process, but not with the same emphasis.
She has rejected, sometimes reluctantly, opportunities to do work overseas—opportunities she now looks forward to pursuing, with her children getting older. And when her department asked her to serve on two committees, she said “yes” to one and “no” to another.
“I greatly appreciate the ability to say ‘no,’ and not have it be a detriment,” she says.
It has taken Dr. Motley ten years to reach the salary level she had attained before leaving corporate life. “I had to ask myself, what else is it that draws me to this,” she says.
“I knew I could be making more money in business, but I would not be as happy, and I would not have the flexibility that comes with academia.”
The dream continues…
Following her success over the years, Dr. Motley now serves as the Dean of the School of Arts, Science & Business at Chatham University. In 2005, Dr. Motley became director of the M.S. in Human Resource Management program at Robert Morris University. She was instrumental in developing and launching the program. She received tenure, became Associate Professor, and in 2008 was appointed department head of management with responsibility for the Undergraduate Business program, the Masters of Science in Human Resource program, and the Masters of Science in Non-profit Management. She also served as the chair of the Ethics Committee for the School of Business and the Diversity Committee of Robert Morris University.