Gina Raphael is president of Siren Marketing and co-owns the eight-location Mickey Fine Pharmacies chain with her husband, Jeffrey Gross. Lately, though, she’s been throwing her energy into philanthropy. She helped to launch the Business and Professions Division of Israel Bonds and is co-chair of the Women’s Campaign of the Jewish National Fund. She is also a board member of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and YULA Girls School. A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago, Raphael is scheduled to be honored, along with her husband, by the Anti-Defamation League later this year. Raphael recently spoke with the Business Journal about her work, her family and how to handle stress.
Describe your morning routine.
I strive to get up around 5 a.m., and I go and work out for an hour on the elliptical machine. That is my special time for me of peace when everyone is still sleeping. My clients on the East Coast love me that sometimes we will do calls at 5:30 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. For me, it’s great. When I am on the elliptical, I watch the news – here and from Israel – and catch up on television shows. So that’s like my time in the morning. I usually take the dogs out, and then I get everybody moving out the door.
What does a typical work day look like?
A typical work day involves dividing my time between my consulting business and our retail business. So I either work from one of our stores, and rarely any more do I get to work from home. When I work from our stores, I am often sitting in a desk in a store room, but I love being around the excitement of retail. It’s kind of really juggling between the two and meeting with staff, taking conference calls. I often go to the studios for meetings for my consulting business; wearing the hat of my consulting business; wearing the hat of our retail business; wearing the hat of being a mother and then also doing work for philanthropy.
Amid all that, how do you make time for your children?
I generally do drop off and pick up every day. With my older kids now, it’s a little different because my older one drives, and she can take the other one, but for my little one, I’m generally there for her. We try to have a rule of our time where I stay off the phone. And if I need to do some computer work or return some phone calls, we’re hanging together and I work to provide her fun activities. When I first started working, people said, “You know what? It’s quality time.” And sure, that’s really important to have quality time, and you need to be present when you’re present. But it’s really also about quantity of time and you just really need to be there in their lives and they need to see you physically.
How do you deal with stress?
Sometimes you just have to have a lot of good girlfriends to talk to. I am so lucky. I have the best friends. You talk to people. You share your problems and successes with them and they with you. We are each other’s cheerleaders. I feel if I can share with people, it makes things better, and I think the working out helps a lot too. Most of all, we have started observing Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. We disconnect from Friday at sundown until Saturday night at sundown. This helps rejuvenate me each week.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I’m honest and I’m neurotically organized. I’m very focused on what I need to do. I’m not a big list taker, by any means. I manage my email. I manage my follow-ups. I don’t leave things hanging, and I never over commit to things that I can’t accomplish. I think over committing is the worst thing.
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