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Work-life balance? Or work-life integration? Campbell’s CEO Morrison says key to success is merging home and work

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Denise Morrison doesn't believe in the concept of work-life “balance.” Never has.

“It sets a false expectation,” Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company, said at an event unveiling a new report studying the gender diversity of corporate boards in New Jersey. “If anyone in this room has ever had a day of perfect equilibrium, please raise your hand.”

Instead, Morrison said she believes in “work-life integration,” something she has honed in the process of juggling her impressive career with a husband, two daughters and, just last year, two grandchildren, with one more on the way.

“It gives a much more holistic look at how you live and how you work,” Morrison said.

Balance implies that all aspects of your life can receive equal amounts of attention, which Morrison said is just not possible — particularly because she firmly advocates bringing one's “whole self” to work.

And she has been able to find clever ways of making tough life choices work in her favor.

Earlier on in her career, when she was a director of marketing at Nestle, her husband accepted a job in Bakersfield, Calif. She loved her job, but she loved her husband, too. She had to move.

But instead of issuing her resignation, she went to the president of the company and asked if she could run the company's newly acquired ice cream business that just happened to be in Bakersfield.

“Two weeks later, I was in Bakersfield as vice president of the ice cream business,” Morrison said. “I actually was willing to move for (my husband) but, with some initiative, was able to make it work for me as well.”

E-mail to: maryj@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @mjohns422

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