A Senior VP at Bank of America on the Power of Laughter

Plus her obsession with podcasts.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Alicia Burke: I think about coffee and how quickly I can have a cup.

TG: What gives you energy?
AB: Other people—talking to people gives me energy.

TG: What’s a daily habit or practice that helps you thrive?
AB: Laughing and making people laugh is something I try to do every day-that is my favorite thing and it helps me thrive.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AB: The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It made me think differently about life.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
AB: It sleeps around on me (I am always misplacing it in the house so when I wake up I’m never sure where it is). I am trying not to look at it right before bed or right when I get up-I notice I’m more calm that way.

TG: How do you deal with email?
AB: I tend to treat it like a tennis ball. When I get an email I try to return it quickly, otherwise it tends to get lost in the woods and I forget all about it and can never seem to find it again.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AB: I listen to the radio or a podcast. I can’t get enough.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AB: I go through phases, but one of the causes tends to be when I make too many plans-especially during weeknights.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AB: I failed to stick to the Whole 30 Diet—I lasted only 2 days. I did not overcome it but I did forgive myself for it.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AB: “Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” Nora Ephron

Alicia Burke is a Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff to Anne Finucane, who is Vice Chairman at Bank of America. Alicia also hosts a podcast for the company titled While We’ve Got You.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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