Excited to introduce this North Shore “native,” Laura Bitler. Laura is mom to Jason, Director of Advancement for Waring School, and a Lifetime Member of the Topsfield Fair. She works full time (and kicks butt at her job!) and shares some tips on how to balance motherhood with work. Plus her favorite local restaurants!
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I grew up in Wenham and now live in Hamilton. (Go Generals!)
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have a three year old son named Jason.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
My parents have a cottage on Chebacco Lake in Essex. I have loved growing up there and now watching my son make new memories there. My mom’s great grandfather built it in the 1920s and my son is the 6th generation to enjoy it. We love doing all kinds of water sports on the lake, especially slalom water skiing.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
Having been born and raised here, I have spent my entire life being a “regular” at local places. We love celebrating milestones at the Weathervane Tavern in Hamilton, eating onion rings at J.T. Farnhams in Essex, and devouring thin crust pizza at the Riverview in Ipswich. I love the recent addition of Honeycomb bakery in Hamilton.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My husband and I are both lifetime members of the Topsfield Fair. It’s our favorite fall tradition and one we love sharing with our son.
We are excited to note that Laura was named Mrs. Essex County 2019 at the Fair last week! Read her interview with the Salem News after receiving her title. As Mrs. Essex County, Bitler, will be instrumental in the Essex Agricultural Society’s goal to educate the general public regarding the importance of agriculture through the fun and excitement of the Topsfield Fair. She was also named Mrs. Congeniality by the other contestants.
You are the Director of Advancement at Waring School. Please tell us a little more about your job and how you came to work at Waring.
This is my fourth school year at Waring School. It was the perfect local place to merge my teaching degree with my passion for educational fundraising. At Waring I oversee the school’s fundraising efforts, alumni & parent relations and communications. We just completed a $6M fundraising Campaign to fund a new sustainable school building, which is being constructed this year (pictured above). I’ve enjoyed the chance to work with many Waring current and former parents and alumni who generously give back to the school.
What’s one thing you would like people to know about Waring School?
Waring School is a 6-12 grade independent school in Beverly. We develop lifelong learners who are curious and passionate about the world around them. It’s the perfect place for bright students who are seeking an intimate, supportive environment, and have a love for travel and the arts. Waring encourages, enables, and affirms each student’s love of learning within our small community.
The colleague who suggested you for this interview fondly described you as a, “total powerhouse in terms of dedication, community involvement, a smiling face all the time.” Can you tell us some of the ways you are involved in the local community?
My dad, Bob Blanchard, is the retired Wenham fire chief and spent his entire life helping others. He instilled in my brother and me the importance of prioritizing community service and building relationships in the local area. Honestly, I wish I had more time to be more involved locally, but have prioritized my career and my family at this phase of life. I enjoy being a member of the Hamilton-Wenham Mothers Club, the First Baptist Church in Beverly, and an alumni volunteer for my alma mater, Wheaton College in MA. I love going anywhere around the North Shore and running into so many familiar faces. I always need to allow lots of time for local errands, since it inevitably involves reconnecting and chatting with so many local friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
As a busy working mom, any tips for balancing work and motherhood?
It’s impossible to do it all perfectly. Every day, set one professional and one parenting goal that you can be proud to accomplish by the end of a busy day.
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
Be present. When you’re at work, focus on being fully present there, and when you’re at home, focus on being fully present as a mom.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”?
Getting together with my friends. As a true extrovert, I am happiest when I’m surrounded by the friends I love.