I met today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman through professional channels. She’s a talented writer and the founder of the website betweenusparents.com. Shannan believes parenting, and life in general, is better when you have a sense of humor, a dose of perspective, and some good hard facts. This Midwestern mom and recent Jeopardy contestant is active in both politics and parenting. I recently caught up with her during a trip to Washington, D.C. where she made time in her schedule to talk about passions and super powers.
KR: You are an active volunteer with Shot@Life. Can you tell us about this campaign?
SY: Shot@Life is a campaign of the UN Foundation that aims to make sure all kids around the world have access to vaccines. I was really dismayed to learn that a child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. It’s a problem we can fix, so I’m working to do that as the Illinois Champion Leader. I’m traveling with Shot@Life to Uganda next month and excited to see the work being done in the field.
KR: What do you do for fun, when you’re not writing?
SY: I’m a big reader and I’m also into genealogy. I wish there was a way to make the latter sound cool, but getting to visit the Belgian village this summer where five generations of great-grandparents lived before coming to the U.S. really was exciting.
KR: What brings you joy and fulfillment?
SY: Hearing “That helped me” or “Me, too” about something I’ve written brings me immense satisfaction.
KR: Like Wonder Woman, we all have inner super powers. What are some of yours?
SY: I’m good at empathizing and I can be really enthusiastic. I do things whole-heartedly.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
SY: I’m full of gratitude for all the women who have blazed a trail for equality. I don’t know that I can narrow it down to just one. There are so many who fought hard in the past and are fighting today for women’s rights, whether that’s my mom, who was the first teacher in her district to wear pants instead of a skirt, or Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who couldn’t get hired after law school and then challenged discrimination on the basis of sex as an attorney and then ascended to the top of the legal profession, or the many courageous women behind the #MeToo movement. They offer a tremendous amount of inspiration, and they motivate me to work harder and to use my voice by speaking up for what is right.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be? Why?
SY: After reading Harry Potter, I’ve desperately wanted the ability to apparate. I have friends and family all around the globe; the ability to see them easily and quickly would be such a delight.
KR: You’ve experienced life as an attorney, a stay-at-home-mom, a travel expert and now a freelance writer. You’ve been married, single and are now part of a blended family. You’ve lived in urban and suburban environments. You’ve experienced LIFE! Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
SY: Trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a leap, and don’t spend so much time second-guessing yourself. It’s okay if it doesn’t all work out perfectly. Quit fearing failure. You won’t make everyone happy, so give that up, too, and the sooner, the better. Follow your heart more than your head and lead with love always.
Connect with Shannan on Twitter @ShannanYounger
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