Moving Mom

Alumna’s new book offers a guide to relocating an aging loved one

In the mid-1990s, Susan Phillips Bari (MBA ’85) found herself confronting the trials and tribulations of moving her mother from her home in Boston to Northern Virginia, where Bari and her husband as well as her brother and his family were living at the time.

Susan Bari
Susan Bari

“More often than not, the responsibility for moving an aging parent falls on a woman’s shoulders,” Bari notes. “According to AARP, 70 percent of all caregivers are women, and today, most of us work outside the home,” she says. “This responsibility is profoundly experienced whether you are moving your own family across town or moving a loved one across the country. For the latter, chances are you moved away from the community where you grew up many years ago.”

Lessons from personal experience

The experience prompted her to write a guide book, a draft of which she completed before becoming caught up in her career as an advocate of women entrepreneurs. In 1997, she founded Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, a national organization that matched women entrepreneurs with corporate supply chain opportunities. But when her mother died that same year, she shelved the book project.

After relocating several times herself, most recently to a co-op in Manhattan and launching a new career in real estate in New York, Bari decided to dust off her manuscript and update its contents. “The Guide to Moving Mom,” she says, “offers hints from my own experience of helping a loved one let go of the trappings of a full life as well as what I learned in my own recent moves.”

Moving Mom Cover

Guidance from professionals

The book includes advice she sought from professionals, including an estate attorney, a moving company with a senior moves division, and most importantly, she adds, a psychologist who specializes in work/life balance.

Though it may be “especially difficult for motivated, ’can do’ executives and entrepreneurs to do," Bari says she has found, through trial and error, that it is best to take each move in the process one step at a time. “As with a young child who surprises us with every growth step, we can’t be certain how our aging loved one will progress, but we know we have to be there for them.”

Career highlights

Bari joined Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate as an agent in 2010. Her former jobs include being the founding executive director of the Washington Regional Training Center of the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation, where she helped more than 2,000 women start and grow their businesses. She chaired the Council on Women’s Business Enterprise and served on the National Women’s Business Council.

At Virginia Tech, Bari is a long-time member of the Pamplin Advisory Council. She has served on the board of visitors.

"The Guide to Moving Mom" is her fourth book, following "Breaking Through: Creating Opportunities for Women and Minority Owned Businesses"; "Partnering for Profit: Success Strategies for Tomorrow’s Supply Chain"; and "Yes, I Can Do That!"

Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Fall 2012

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