When the girls were babies, people would stop me in the grocery store or on the street and say, “enjoy this age...it goes by so fast”. They weren’t lying. All of the sudden my youngest was getting ready to start kindergarten and my oldest was in third grade. What the hell happened?
Earlier this year, my five year old daughter looked up at me and asked, “Mommy, why do you go to work if it makes you so sad?”
Well heck, this was a great question. I was a marketing executive at a leading national creative agency- and for a long time it was my dream job. But I was tired. My time and energy was eaten up by something that, over the years, I felt less and less passion for. I realized that not only does the time go by too fast, but if I was going to spend time away from my two girls, I had damn well better be doing something that matters; something that set my heart on fire.
I looked in my daughter’s eyes and said, “I don’t know kiddo. But I’m going to fix this.”
A few weeks later Randy and I met for coffee. I had been on the board of directors at 7 Billion Ones for about three years. Randy told me about the unbelievable growth at 7B1 and he mentioned that he was looking for a Movement Director. It hit me right then. I stopped him immediately and told him to stop looking, because I was going to be his Director.
I officially joined the 7B1 team in June of this year. Within a few weeks I found myself at the Kansas City Down Syndrome Guild, photographing and interviewing individuals for our upcoming project Just As I Am. I’ve been editing the stories of suicide survivors for the opening of It Knows No Face exhibition in Fort Collins Colorado. We are printing portraits and stories of our homeless friends for the The Road I Call Home exhibition opening next month at the Springfield Art Museum. The list goes on and on. Every day I am humbled to meet beautiful people from all walks of life who share their experiences and trust me with their greatest treasure- their story.
I’ve spent the last 10 years learning to take emotion out of my work- remove the flowery language, speak to the point, do the spreadsheets, etc. The strangest thing happened when people became more important than profit...I could breathe. I felt like I was drowning for so long. Now I am encouraged to work as passionately as possible- not only do I need emotion in this work, my job is literally to ignite and kindle compassion and emotion in people.
I go home at night and smile. Now the time I spend “working” is actually making me a better wife and mother. I kiss my kids and my husband and I’m reminded how blessed I am in this life.
If someone would have told me a year ago that I would quit my job to direct a humanitarian movement...I would have told them they were insane. But I did. It’s funny when you can say that you know it’s been a good day when you cry at work. And I cry tears of joy and tears of compassion almost daily.
I am blessed to be part of this amazing organization and honored to be on this journey with Randy and team, changing the world one story at a time.