2022 Award Recipient: Ellen Galinsky

The WFRN is delighted to recognize Ellen Galinsky with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ellen Galinsky’s life’s work revolves around identifying important societal questions as they emerge, conducting research to seek answers, and turning the findings into action. She strives to be ahead of the curve, to address compelling issues, and to provide rigorous data that can affect our lives. This journey began in the 1960s and continues today.

In the late 1960s, while on the faculty of Bank Street College, she addressed issues in the transition to parenthood by researching and writing a book Beginnings, helping to establish and contribute to the emerging family support movement.

In the 1970s, she researched and co-authored a book about exemplary childcare, The New Extended Family: Day Care That Works, then used the lessons learned to help found the Family Center at Bank Street and then, in the decades that followed, to conduct a series of quantitative studies on the impact of interventions to improve the quality of childcare and children’s development.

In the 1980s, she studied how parents grow and change as adults and then wrote the now classic Six Stages of Parenthood. The findings from that initiative led to a series of studies on parent-professional relationships.

Seeing how important work-life issues are, she helped to establish the field of work-life in the 1980s and co-founded Families and Work Institute (FWI) in 1989, becoming its president in 1996. For 30 years she participated in adn directed the Work-Life Leadership Council for The Conference Board. Since the 1990s, Ms. Galinsky has directed or co-directed the most comprehensive ongoing studies of the U.S. workforce (National Study of the Changing Workforce) and workplace (National Study of Employers).

In 2000, Ellen Galinsky became concerned that far too many young people were dropping out of learning and she turned to investigate how to keep the fire for learning burning brightly in children’s eyes. The resulting research journey led to her best-selling book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. In March 2016, Mind in the Making (MITM) became a program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Its mission is to promote Life Skills that are based on and promote Executive Functions.

Her career highlights include writing more than 90 books and reports and over 360 articles for books, academic journals, magazines, the Web. Among her publications are the best-selling Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child NeedsAsk The Children, the now classic The Six Stages of Parenthood and Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces.  Ellen Galinsky has been one of the most frequently quoted experts on work-life and early childhood issues. In 2011, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Families and Work Institute (FWI) formed a ground-breaking, multi-year partnership that took her book When Work Works out to 5000 businesses around the country. Her forthcoming book, The Breakthrough Years: Five Things Every Adolescent Wants Us to Know and Why the Latest Research Says We Should Listen, will be published by Flatiron Press in June, 2023.

Below are quotes from some the many scholars who nominated Ellen Galinsky for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ellen has been a tireless advocate for creating flexible and effective workplaces for employees and employers.  Her leadership, research and education in the field of flexible workplaces literally helped to pioneer, define, shape and advance the field and move it from research into action. Ellen’s leadership moved workplace flexibility from a novel idea to front and center in our national dialogue and into worksite implementation. Michael P. Aitken, Senior Vice President of Membership, Society for Human Resource Management

Ellen was not ‘A’ but ‘The’ go-to person on Work / Life related research… Ellen’s research enabled U. S. firms to redefine their vision of, and respect for talent. This evolving perspective was critical to understanding that policies anchored in respect for working families in general, and women in particular, could contribute to improved business performance. Partnering with her on behalf of the interests of our nation has been a personal career delight.  J.T. (Ted) Childs, Jr., Principal, Ted Childs LLC, former Vice President, Global Workforce Diversity, IBM

One of Ellen’s most notable accomplishments, among many, is the creation of the National Studies of the Changing Workforce. Ellen has a great gift of crafting questions that are not only face valid but scientifically powerful in accounting for worker outcomes. She uses this gift to craft scales and scores that distinguish workplaces that are both supportive and effective. Corporate leaders listen to her when she tells them what the data say. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Human Development and Family Studies; Director, Center for Families; Director, Military Family Research Institute, Purdue University

When you think of scholars who have made enduring contributions to the work-family community, Ellen Galinsky is at the top of that list. From the founding of the Families and Work Institute in 1989 to authoring numerous books and academic studies exploring the intersection of work, family and child development, Ellen’s scholarship laid the foundation for much of the discussion in academia and more broadly related to the ‘future of work’ and the ‘new world of work’ post-COVID.  Cali Williams Yost, CEO and Founder, Flex+Strategy Group, former staff member, Families and Work Institute

 I have been collaborating with Ellen on a variety of initiatives aimed at promoting the well-being of children and families using a civic science approach…For me, as for so many readers of her outstanding contributions, Ellen has long been an intellectual inspiration of the highest order: She is a true scholar who thinks deeply about important topics and writes about them beautifully. I have been inspired by her innovation and her compassionate productivity, and I have benefitted greatly from her sage advice. Philip David Zelazo, Ph.D., Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professor, University of Minnesota.