Tracy Dodson (Color)Most moms lead crazy lives. But Tracy Dodson, vice president of brokerage and development at Lincoln Harris, pretty much tops everyone.

The high-powered exec has been moving mountains in the world of development here in Charlotte for years. The long hours and epic dedication that’ve gone into her career alone is admirable.

But, beyond her professional work, Tracy’s earned leadership positions on prestigious boards such as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, as well as the Charlotte Chapter of the Urban Land Institute (she was the first female chair in the city’s history). Additionally, she currently sits on the North Carolina Board of Transportation.

Crazy, right?

Well, on top of that, the Harvard-educated pro is the mom to a four-year-old little girl.

And, while some of us find her ardor the stuff of sorcery, it turns out this overachiever says she still works through the grating mom guilt that seems to plague us all.

Here’s her story:


 Q: Tell me a little bit about your background.

 A: I’m a North Carolina native and I’ve been in Charlotte since I was in college. I did my undergrad at UNC and was in architecture. So I’ve always been involved in the growth and development of Charlotte, urban planning and design.

I bounced around in Charlotte doing a lot of things. I worked at a local architecture firm and then the City. Then, I went to graduate school at Harvard for real estate development.

I said I would never come back.

But after I toured around the country interviewing, I realized that Charlotte was a great place where you can really get involved in shaping the city. It’s also a great place to raise a family.

Q: Who’s your “village?”

A: I’m extremely fortunate that my husband I have a well-balanced life in terms of responsibilities and roles. He does the drop off and pick up at school. He does the grocery shopping. It’s a joint sharing operation.

My mother is retired. She and my stepfather live in Charlotte. My mom is an enormous help.

My mom picks my daughter up from school every Tuesday and keeps her Tuesday night. Then, she takes her to school on Wednesday. I hate sometimes that it’s during the week, because I’d love to sleep in.

We know we are spoiled!

But, my weekends are all about my daughter. I turn everything work wise off at the end of the day on Friday. I focus my time and energy on her and other family stuff.

Q: Was there ever a time you thought, “Forget it. I can’t do this anymore!”

A: EVERYDAY! It’s funny because I grew up in a house with a mother who was very career oriented. Sure, I missed out on playing sports after school because my mom was working and she couldn’t pick me up at a certain time. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Real estate is busy again. I find myself asking, “Am I putting too much focus on work and not enough on my daughter?”

When I did a short stint in brokerage, I was in a position that I didn’t necessarily love. But the bigger impact was that when I came home from work, I wasn’t happy. Not being happy in the workplace made me feel like I lost a year of my daughter’s life. That was eye opening to me.

I love what I do now. I come home in a good mood. And, that means I can focus that onto my daughter and family.

Q: How do you unplug?

A: I take little bits here and there where I can. Along with the mom guilt, I have a little bit too for my mom. My stepfather is at a place where he’s getting a lot older. I often wonder if she’s getting a reprieve.
It’s a working mom trait. You want to make sure everyone is taken care of.

I take it where I can. If I can find an afternoon to go get a manicure and pedicure, I will. I purposely schedule a haircut in the middle of the workweek.

There are times when I think I just need one night out of town by myself. But as soon as I get out of town, I just want to come back home to my family.

Q: What’s your secret to making it all work?

A: I strive to continuously set an example. I wish I could spend more time with my daughter, but I know she’s seeing me pursue my career and learning what it’s all about.