UNICEF CEO on Saving Children's Lives and Helping her Own NY Kids Do Homework from Darfur

Caryl Stern tells working moms to accept that screw ups will happen

by Lesley Kennedy • MORE.com Reporter
Caryl Stern image
Caryl Stern says she's proud to work for UNICEF.
Photograph: Photo courtesy UNICEF

MORE: It’s a constant struggle.
CS: There aren’t enough hours in the day, so you might as well just accept that and learn to laugh about it and give yourself permission to screw up—because you do. You think you’re going to make your kid’s concert—you schedule all your travel so you can make it—and then it snows that day and they move it to the next day and you’re on a plane. You can only do what you can do, and you have to help your family to understand that it’s not that they don’t come first—they do—but . . . that they also have to understand and respect why you do what you do. My kids get it. They understand that I’m trying to save lives, and they feel proud of that, they participate in it. They’ve gone to Africa with me, they’ve gone to Latin America with me, they’ve helped babies who  are being immunized. They understand that if I’m not with them it’s not because they don’t matter.

You have to marry well—that’s my other thing. And not because they have money, but because they have heart. They have to share your passion. My husband gets what I do and he supports it.

MORE: How do you encourage others to get involved with UNICEF?
CS: It doesn’t take a lot of money to save a child’s life. You don’t have to be a millionaire to participate. These are children, we’re grown-ups. If each of us does a little bit, we sure could make a difference. 

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