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SuperMom | Danielle Papania

SuperMom | Danielle Papania

SuperMom: Danielle Papania

-Liesel Schmidt

In her work as the Director of Sales and Marketing at The Southern Hotel, being extremely organized is the order of the day for Danielle Papania. Working on the event side where the hotel hosts a wide range of events ranging from social events like weddings, birthdays and showers to corporate meetings, holiday or retirement parties, Papania is tasked with booking groups, negotiating contracts and working with the host to determine floor plans, menus and logistics before passing it to the operations team to oversee the execution on event day.

At home, she manages a family with her husband of eight years—and the two have faced some incredible challenges together. “When we married, I owned a wedding planning business specializing in luxury destination weddings in New Orleans,” she notes. “When my oldest son, Brock, was a newborn, we found out he had three holes in his heart. That started us on a two-year heart journey which included countless doctors’ appointments, living in a bubble, and the fear of a possible heart surgery lingering. I ultimately decided to give up the wedding planning business and shift to a company, which would allow me to still do what I loved but without the pressure of being a one-person company. I needed the flexibility to be available to Brock at a moment’s notice, should he need it. When the opportunity opened at the Southern, I felt it was a perfect fit and that I could bring a lot to the position.”

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Naturally, she faces the same trials that all working mothers do. “It can be challenging and overwhelming at times, but each time I step back and see how far we have come as a family and what my kids are learning by having working parents, I’m proud,” Papania says. “I hope that growing up in a house with a working mom instills the value of hard work in my boys. Teaching them to set goals and go after them, even if you must restart by shifting careers when life throws curve balls. I hope they also learn that it takes a village to ‘do it all,’ and that’s okay—ask for help, surround yourself with people who celebrate your wins and help you through the losses.”

Papania has had to learn that for herself and give herself grace for not being able to carry everything alone. “I cannot do it all, all the time,” she says. “I have had to work through the struggles of ‘balance’ and desperately wanting to freeze time and be there for every moment of the boys’ adolescence but also wanting just as badly to do bigger things at work. Sometimes those two things collide, and finding the balance of both can be tricky.”

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