This is the sixth post in my “Leading Ladies” series. Please rise as the esteemed Sarah Williams takes the podium. I’ve been getting to know Sarah a.k.a. Buzz Rooney over the past year and I am proud to call her friend and just an inspiring and progressive HR professional.

Get your pens and pads out because she is here to drop knowledge.

Mommie Dearest Was Misunderstood
“Mommie Dearest”, the 80s film about the life of actress Joan Crawford and her adoptive children, is one of my favorite movies. And talk about a Leading Lady! Joan Crawford was the epitome of it! Yes, I know Joan was a manic depressive alcoholic who traumatized and abused her children only to leave them with nothing when she died … But when you strip that away, Joan was just a single mom trying to balance her career and maintain some semblance of a love life.

I can relate.

My grandmother married when she was just a teenager. She became an administrator at a hospital. She worked that job until retirement and has been married to my grandfather for 70 years now … My mother married in her early 20s. She became an administrator for the county. She’s been at that job for 40 years now, rising from entry-level to the highest- ranking person in the organization. She’s been married to my father for almost 45 years … I married in my late 20s and we split up about 2 years later. Infidelity, abuse, financial hardship – you name it, he took me through it! And I’m on my 6th employer in 13 years.

Times have definitely changed.

Now I find myself as a single parent trying to balance my career ambitions with my duties as a mom with my desire for a happily ever after with a prince charming of my own. I understand the struggle to remain relevant and add value to an industry where the competition is fierce and the focus keeps changing. I understand the challenge of revealing a soft, tender side after being the person in charge from 9 – 5 and after being hurt, disappointed and abandoned so many times before. And I definitely understand the fear that both your career and romantic decisions will have a harmful impact on your children … while marveling at how they remain so unaffected by it all.

Yep. Mommie Dearest was definitely misunderstood.

Being a Leading Lady isn’t about amassing adoring fans that vie for your attention, hang on your every word or believe everything you say is gospel. It isn’t about having a seemingly perfect job or man or children. Because fans are fleeting and perfection doesn’t exist.

Being a Leading Lady is about living a life of purpose and passion. It’s about being determined to pursue all your dreams. It’s about building an authentic existence.

It requires you to be willing to work hard and love hard. It requires you to be willing to fail then find a way to get back up and try again. It requires you to make tough choices between competing priorities at work and at home. Every day.

Most days, I worry I am doing it wrong and getting it wrong. I worry no one will understand why I do what I do. I worry no one will ever appreciate the sacrifice of my ambition. I worry I will always have to explain and justify this thing I have that would just be a given if I was a man.

Being a Leading Lady isn’t easy. It isn’t glamorous and it isn’t for the faint of heart … But it is worth it. So worth it.

Besides, I don’t know any other way to be.


Sarah Williams began blogging under the pen name “Buzz Rooney” in 2011. After 2 years, she made the decision to retire the nickname and cartoon avatar to write and speak under her real name.

Sarah is a practicing HR Professional with over 10 years experience in the light industrial and retail industries. She currently works as the Director of Human Resources for a large retail franchise. She has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies with a focus on Organizational Communication and Leadership as well as a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management.

When not working or writing, Sarah is a single mom with 2 children living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She enjoys mindlessly watching television, spending time with friends and family, reading, eating and sleeping.

Check Sarah out at Louisiana SHRM from April 7-9 as she exhibits her speakingchops. Go Sarah, Go!

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