Working Couple Profile #1: Janelle & Neal Hail

Janelle & Neal Hail of National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Welcome to our newest feature: the Working Couple Profile.  We are delighted to introduce you to other Working Couples who will share their insights, struggles and stories on how to successfully balance working together and thriving as a couple.  We’ll kick off the series with the wonderful Neal and Janelle Hail of National Breast Cancer Foundation.  Married 46 years this August and working together for 20, Neal is Co-Founder and Janelle serves as CEO.  Janelle shares this insight on how to manage too much togetherness:

As you know, just the thoughts of being together 24 hours a day at work and play has the potential of making a couple want to run and hide at times.  I take that back–jump off a cliff.  After nearly 46 years of marriage, we have learned to embrace not only life changes, but also our personal differences as a compliment to our marriage and business relationship.  Instead of my expecting Neal to be perfect like me, I use humor to point out that the bedroom tree coat grows branches as he piles clothes high on it over the weekend.  To his credit, not a leaf falls to the ground.  In turn, after months of saying nothing about seeing a wet washcloth folded up by the bathroom sink on my side and believing it was there 24 hours a day, I laughed and told him I wash my face in the evening and leave it there for the next morning so I can have a cold cloth to help awaken me.  I will say that double sinks in our bathroom has been the glue to our marriage.

We deeply respect each others’ capabilities and find that these differences supplement each other as our talents blend together.  Allowing each other to grow in our own interests gives us that feeling of always being at home with each other no matter what we are doing.  Even though Neal cannot embrace the complete euphoria I experience with my spa music, he likes the outcome of my relaxed, quiet demeanor.  I will never understand why he does not tire of Glenn Miller music, but how I love the happy expression that covers his face when his music cranks up.  That energy and zest for life comes from tapping into things you love to do.

Neal and I create places for our own space at home. We have separate home offices as well as work offices at our business.  Our offices reflect our personalities.  His home office has a strength and elegance to it as a featured room in our home, while mine has that comfy multi-project lived in look with a wall of ceiling-to-floor books.  We let each other “be”.  What a pleasure to be allowed to be yourself and explore your spaces at home–places to read, places to watch favorite TV shows while stretched out in our own spots on the couch, places to experiment in cooking, and so many more places that makes home a place to live and love.  All in all, we would rather be married to each other and live together for another 46 years than any gift we could ever ask for in life.

The mission of Janelle and Neal’s National Breast Cancer Foundation is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms to those in need.  You can learn more about their great work by going to or check out Janelle’s blog at

You’ve read Janelle and Neal’s techniques… what do you do to manage too much togetherness? Do you create your own spaces at home or work?  Do you have your own interests?  Your insight might be a great solution for other Working Couples… we encourage you to post a comment as we build this great community.

With Love,
Gene & Julie
Founders, Working Couple Network

© Gene & Julie Gates and Working Couple Network, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gene & Julie Gates and Working Couple Network with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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