BoomerReviews.com Co-Founder and Senior Editor Shannon Ingram had the pleasure of interviewing blogger Sherri Snelling recently, in conjunction with the release of Sherri’s new book, A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care (Balboa Press). Here is the interview, in Sherri’s own words.
Shannon: You appear to be an energetic, focused and successful person, Sherri. Tell me, how did you get to where you are now?
Sherri: They say “life is a journey not a destination,” and my career certainly mirrors that phrase. When I embarked on my career path almost 30 years ago, I began in consumer technology. The last dozen years I have spent in health care, focused on education, awareness and support of family caregivers.
The two consistent themes for my career have been, first, I love to write and produce videos and second, I am a passionate advocate for those who struggle for awareness and support. At the beginning of my career, I became an early creator of cause marketing programs, now known as “Corporate Social Responsibility.” At Nintendo, I worked on the Nintendo Fun Center program, partnering with the Starlight Foundation to provide video game entertainment to pediatric hospital oncology wards. Studies proved that if children were distracted by playing a video game, the pain of chemotherapy diminished significantly. Then at Canon, I created the “Bring Missing Children Home” program in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I am proud to say that program helped police find 38 missing children over a three-year period.
For the past 12 years, I have dedicated myself to the 65 million Americans caring for a loved one. This is silent army of angels who are overworked, undervalued and unpaid, yet they represent the largest health care “workforce” in our country. Bringing awareness and education to family caregivers – especially on how to care for themselves while caregiving – is my passion. When I started Caregiving Club two years ago, my goal was to use my writing and video expertise to help caregivers. I created the Me Time Monday video tips to support the Caregiver Monday campaign. My writing now reaches eight million readers every month via my syndicate that includes the Huffington Post, Alzheimer’s Association, PBS Next Avenue, ThirdAge, EmpowerHer, Vibrant Nation and of course, BoomerReviews. I just signed on to write for Maria Shriver’s web site too.
Shannon: What an impressive background! Would you share with us five lessons you have learned in the past 10 years?
Sherri: Of course!
First: Create your own round table. As an entrepreneur, you need to gather good mentors and experts for frequent reality checks, trusted advice and a little cheerleading to help you keep going.
Second: Don’t be afraid to fail. Every good success story has a few failures in their history. We are all lifelong learners and students. My best lessons learned were when I made a misstep. You never forget the lesson and it broadens your perspective.
Third: Learn to pivot. You may begin your business or a new venture with a great idea and vision only to find the market and economic realities are more challenging than you thought. Be agile and flexible in pivoting to continue your main mission, but maybe finding a different path to achieve it.
Fourth: Realize your contacts are your currency. The beautiful thing about technology is how it enables us to stay in touch in ways we could never have imagined. LinkedIn is critical to my business – colleagues from 25 years ago are reaching out with new opportunities for my business that I wouldn’t have imagined. Facebook keeps my fans up-to-date on what I have going on and Twitter is like a crazy cocktail party where you participate in the chatter and every once in a while hear something good or connect with like minds who lead to a new business opportunity. I love YouTube. My pilot TV show, Handle with Care, aired on RLTV in 2011, but it lives on every day on my YouTube channel for anyone to watch any time.
Fifth: Live with passion. Clearly I am a Boomer in mid-life! I spent more than 25 years working for Fortune 1000 companies and while the experience and contacts were unbeatable, I always yearned to be my own boss and follow my dreams, one of which was to write a book. Maybe I watched too many Oprah shows, but the reality for me is that I have to wake up every day and LOVE what I do. You may feel the same way. After two years running my own company, I still love what I do and think I am making a difference, which spurs my passion. And my first book, A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care, just made its debut!
Shannon: What’s your favorite quote and why do you like it?
Sherri: “Actions speak louder than words.” Abraham Lincoln shared this English proverb from the 1600’s in an 1856 speech. It probably seems contrary for a writer to choose this quote, but in both my personal and professional life, this quote has always held true. People will say a lot of things to appease you, string you along, or make false promises. The actual follow-through after the words is what counts. I find I gravitate toward people who are authentic and sincere because that’s how I try to live my life. As a writer, I hope my words help promote caregivers to act on their own behalf in caring for themselves.
Shannon: Tell us what you want to accomplish in 2013 and why.
Sherri: I’d like 2013 to be “my year” in terms of continuing to grow my business and learn new things and to see the real tipping point of caregivers being recognized as the influential group I know them to be. I turn the big 5-0 in May, so I’m at the half way mark in the race and the momentum feels right for things to pop this year! I’m proud to have my book debut in my 50th year – something feels right about this milestone happening now and not when I was 25.
Congratulations to Sherri and we look forward to reading more about her success as she continues to share her insights here in the BoomerReviews blog circle.