Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced no matter what their career—or life—throws their way.
Noreen Heron is the president of Heron Agency, one of the city’s top PR, advertising and social media firms for hospitality and lifestyle clients. She started the agency in 2000 and her company now represents many of the hottest hotels, restaurants, productions and events not only in Chicago, but around the country. Noreen is a highly networked, connected woman who is considered a rainmaker and trusted business consultant for her many clients. A resident of Lincoln Park, she is a single mom of two beautiful children, and an active member in the local community.
1. What do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I work out with my trainer, Bojan Jocic, of Fit Lincoln Park three days a week and eat as healthy as I can. I like to cook with my family, and my children, Connor, 14, and Ava, 12. They keep me on the run!
2. Is there one book that you find particularly inspiring and would recommend to all of your friends?
“Stop Giving It Away” by Cherilynn M. Velan. For any woman that has a hard time saying no, establishing boundaries and trying to always do the “nice” thing as opposed to maybe what would be healthiest decision for herself. This book is essential reading.
3. Do you have a motivational quote or mantra that comes to mind during an unusually stressful day at work?
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” Albert Camus.
My inner core and personal sense of self does not allow for defeat. I am too strong for that. “No one is in charge of my happiness but me,” is my philosophy. But if someone hurts me, I absorb it for a bit and then move on to something productive. I don’t let myself get stuck in what sometimes is someone else’s dysfunction. When I worked for Hyatt, we were told to never use the words problems or challenges, but rather opportunities. I still love that and live by it. I also believe that you don’t let things “happen” to you, you make things happen, whether it be a positive attitude, success, or finding joy. Lastly, like I tell my children, take the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary.
4. What helps you find balance in the midst of all of your daily responsibilities?
Passion. At my core, even when it is a bad day, I remember what’s really important, why I went into my field, started the company, and had children and it gives me strength. I prioritize, set goals and take deep breaths. I commiserate with my co-workers. If it is a particularly stressful day, I leave the office and go for a walk or grab something warm and comforting, whether it is tea or hot soup. “Time outs” shouldn’t be just for kids; adults can impose them fruitfully on themselves.
5. How do you catch up with friends and maintain your friendships when everyone is so busy?
My friends are a priority and I am a planner, so in the past year, I have scheduled everything from a trip to Burgundy for 12 women, to a large ladies’ lunch, to a Girls’ night spa/blow outs at Blown Away Salon/Dinner get together. Life isn’t worth living without the gift of time with friends. It creates balance, balance creates order, and order is what is needed to get through life creatively and successfully.