As we wrap up Teacher Appreciation Week and move into Mother's Day weekend, we thought there was no better female to share with y'all this evening than the faboulous Shauna Anderson.
Shauna serves as an administrator at a personalized learning public charter school in California She finds joy in empowering and supporting people as they take charge of their learning and is a passionate advocate for choice in education. This led her to create Uschool.com to help parents, learners, and subject matter experts connect and make alternative learning opportunities more accessible.
Uschool focuses on passion centered learning and creates connections to an array of local schooling alternatives and passionate educators, Uschool helps families shift from a one-size-fits-all schooling model to a personalized learning model focused around each learner’s distinct passions and goals.
Shauna and her husband raise their 6 kids in the greater Sacramento area and run a small biodynamic vineyard in the Sierra Foothills (Andersonia Wine), making boutique raw wine as a family. She also loves singing (belizbeha.com), reading, investing in the stock market, technology, and learning. Current projects: learning the acoustic guitar and trying to understand cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Who are some women who inspire you daily, personally or professionally?
Wow. Where to start? There are so many! I consciously try to surround myself with women doing amazing things, blazing their trails, using their talents, lifting people up.
My amazing mom definitely comes to mind first. As a single mom, she worked tirelessly in the banking and mortgage industry. She never got to finish college, but she built this incredible knowledge base from experience and hard work. She is one of the most generous people I know, has incredible integrity and is a great judge of character.
My daughters inspire me for sure. They are all so unique! They have helped me to understand the importance of and joy in loving others. Part of being a mom is to learn how to help your kids be who they were meant to be. My daughters are incredibly strong and have taught me way more than I can ever teach them!
My fellow moms that are doing their best to raise their kids in this ever-changing world are a constant source of support and inspiration. They spend countless hours advocating for their kids, sacrificing to give them what they need, and helping them navigate their unique paths to adulthood. All without pay and often without any recognition.
My circle of friends has widened immensely as I reach out and connect with women founders in the entrepreneurial space. The thing that strikes me the most is how open, kind, and encouraging they all are! In my (albeit limited) experience, men come across as too busy to help and can be very condescending, especially to someone just starting out and wanting to learn. Every woman that I reach out to has something to offer willingly and without reservation - time, advice, connection, and often friendship. As more women create and lead companies, I see the business culture drastically shifting from cutthroat competition to supportive collaboration and shared success. A rising tide lifts all boats. It doesn’t poke holes in the boats it doesn’t like.
Who has been the most influential woman in your life, in becoming the person you are today, helping you discover and pursue your passions?
My dear friend Kadiatou Sibi has been my biggest inspiration. She and I were in a band together in college. Touring around the country for 5 years in the 90s, we saw the best and worst of each other! She helped me widen my worldview and grow as a person during a very formative period in my life. As we get older and wiser, her insights and honesty and friendship have become invaluable to me. I have a hard time thinking of someone who is more of an inspiration to me than her. She encourages me to follow my passions and to stay true to who I am. She also holds me accountable! She checks in to make sure I stay healthy and practice self-care when I am pounding coffee and energy drinks to plow through exhaustion and grind out the work! She is always there when I have hardships and rough challenges and gives objective yet loving advice. Kadiatou has worked - and is still working! - to overcome so many obstacles, some that I have the privilege to never have to wrestle with. She is now almost a certified Ayurvedic doctor! She’s a natural teacher, healer, and encourager. Her practice is at https://www.awebofwellness.com/. She is incredible!
Is there anything that you wish/hope will be different for girls growing up today than it was for you?
I have 5 daughters, so I ruminate on this a lot! Maybe more than the normal person, haha! To distill it as concisely as I can, I want society to celebrate who they are and what they contribute to the world, not despite the fact that they are women but because of it.
What has been your proudest moment personally or professionally?
Growing, birthing, raising, and loving six extraordinary human beings! I would say this is my proudest moment and biggest contribution to the world.
And really, every tiny, seemingly insignificant moment, smile, conversation, where I could encourage and strengthen people that need it makes me proud.
Also, I’m pretty proud of how great I am at typing on my computer while pumping milk or nursing a baby.
What has been your most challenging moment personally or professionally and how did you overcome that challenge?
I have a very hard time delegating. I feel like if I want something done right, I’m the only one who can do it to my specs. I struggle with this professionally as well as personally. When I really think about the root of this, it is that I don’t want to give up control.
A challenging professional moment came when I had to let go of a project that I had created and worked on for a long time, that was wound up tightly with a lot of my own hubris at being the only one who knew how to do it. The person who took over the project had amazing new ideas and took the project to a whole new level that I could have never imagined. So, after that lesson I learned that it was good to let go and let the team around me use their talents and unique points-of-view to improve products and procedures that benefit the organization as a whole.
This translates also to raising my kids. There was a certain control I wanted to have as their mom over who they are and who they become. And that control was really coming from a place of fear. When I understood that the more I enforced this control, the more they shriveled, or fought against it (depending on the kid!) I let go and let them be who they are. (Well, I’m learning how to do this! IT’S HARD!) That doesn’t mean I let them run wild, and that sure doesn’t mean that they don’t get into rough situations, but I try to help them understand their singular and beautiful talents and use those to navigate through adulthood.
What does wellness mean to you? And why is it important to you and your family?
Wellness is functioning at your full capacity as a human being, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. All of these facets are integral and intrinsic to wellness. You can’t just focus on being healthy physically and neglect the rest. Kadiatou has helped me a lot in my journey to understand this.
It’s important especially to me to be a good example to my kids. They learn way more from watching my actions than from listening to my words. If I can help them instill these healthy routines now, they will be that better off as adults. It took me a long time to learn this. And I’m still learning!
What does your typical daily wellness routine look like?
After years of horrible sleep routines from raising kids and working too hard, if I can only do one thing, I make sure I get enough rest. That is about 7-8 hours for me. I also try to meditate, pray, and write in my journal. I try to exercise 3-5 times a week (HIIT training). I am working hard to eat better and learn good nutrition after a lifetime of eating like crap. Again, Kadiatou is such an amazing resource for me as is my trainer Becca Jorge. They both hold me accountable, which I need. Left to my own devices, I’d probably be in the gutter!
What drove you to become an entrepreneur? Do you see Teach Wellthy Coaching as your only entrepreneurial endeavor or do you have plans/goals to be a serial entrepreneur?
I wanted to help my community solve a problem, so I think that drive to serve others led me to work on Uschool. Also, I am a lifelong learner. I saw this as a hands-on learning opportunity! Instead of going to business school, I can start a business and learn it by doing. Real project-based learning! Will this be my only endeavor? Who knows? I am open to anything, but the driving force for me is really serving others and using what I know to make the world better for my kids and future generations.