Who We Are
I have worked mostly in marketing and communications with an almost ten-year stint as the owner of Paper Girl, an online stationery boutique. After that, I held roles at Willow Creek North Shore, Trade as One and Trinity International University. Early in my career, I worked as an instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art and DePaul University where I enjoyed building self-esteem in creative students learning communication skills. These days, I am honestly amazed I did any of those things as I am knee-deep in enjoying my favorite (and 24/7) role yet as mom. Consistent throughout it all has been a love for words and people — a bit tricky as an introvert. I am married to my college sweetheart, Mike, and we are enjoying being parents after more than twenty years together!
Why We Do What We Do
Over four years ago, our lives changed by the arrival of a darling fourteen day old baby boy* into our home. Of course any parent will attest to the entirely new outlook one has after a child is added to one’s family. Our outlook has changed for multiple reasons: a) the way in which he entered our family — through foster care (we finalized his adoption after he turned four); b) the fact we are different races (he’s African-American and we are Caucasian); and c) the life-altering reality of being responsible for another human.
I have always been sensitive to issues of justice and fairness. But, I now have what I call a second lens on the world. The thoughts I have about society and the fears I have for him are different and sometimes difficult. Reflecting on my own ignorance is challenging. I know things will only become more complex as he grows older, but in his baby and toddler years, our main focus is on him forming a positive identity as an African-American boy.
The difficulty in finding books, toys and art that truly reflects him is what has inspired me to do something to help shine a light on great books and products that exist and help develop new products in the future. And, this isn’t just for our own family. The reality is that by 2019, children of color will outnumber white children in the United States. So, my real hope is that every family will be thoughtful about having books and toys that reflect the children in their own home but also the children they will encounter out in the world.
*For the purposes of the blog, he will be referred to as “Little Man.”