When I first met Chrysula Winegar this past summer, I was impressed by her accent, her poise, her confidence, and her name. Chrysula means "Flower of Gold or Twinkling Star." Chrysula Winegar is a rising star, sharing her passion for motherhood and her conviction that mothers can change the world. A wife and mother of four children, Chrysula is a social media activist who is leading the way for mothers everywhere to rise up and use their natural influence to make a difference. She is involved in many causes, but for this feature, I wanted to talk to her about her involvement with Shot@LIfe. You might remember, I wrote a post about this organization recently. I credit Chrysula for enlightening me on the great work Shot@Life does.
Describe your venture: I'm a Shot@Life Champion, which is a movement to engage Americans, especially mothers, in awareness and action for global vaccines. It is not my venture -- it's an initiative of the United Nations Foundation, but my involvement with the campaign is something I've become deeply passionate about.
What set you on your path to your venture? Several experiences over my life made this a passion for me. I have an aunt with polio. And I lived in South Africa as a Rotary Exchange Student 25 years ago when Rotary began its campaign to end polio. Back then, we were close to eradicating the disease. Now, we truly are "this close." Polio has been 99% eradicated from the face of the planet. Today, measles, pneumonia and diarrhea are among the top killers of children under five globally. That just makes me ill and it has to stop. Vaccines are one of the most cost effective, proven solutions we have. Particularly to fortify these kids as they wait for clean water and malaria eradication and better nutrition. They need every chance they can get.
What skills/talents do you have to compliment your venture? I have a background in marketing communications. After some years in at-home mothering and volunteer work, I started blogging and fell in love with social media. It's really marketing communications in a newer format but I love the intimacy and personal connection it can offer. I've met some amazing people in my online journey. So I advocate for Shot@Life in my online spaces. And of course, that transfers to off line too. I talk about it with EVERYONE!
What fears did you have getting started? Would my voice be helpful? Would I be articulate enough to capture people's interest in these hard topics?
What was involved in getting started? Crafting my personal message about how and why I am passionate about this cause. Finding what resonates and what connects people to the issue that is real to me-- that is a story I can tell with authenticity.
What were your start up costs? What are your ongoing costs? Time and energy!!!
How do you get the word out about your venture? Social media, baby. I drive my Twitter and Facebook friends crazy, but they have supported me through and through. I am so grateful.
What have you learned along the way? I've learned when I tell the story through my lens, I have something to bring to it. We want to tell stories about the vast numbers and about how efficacious vaccines are, now cost effective, etc. But the only real story I can tell, is my connection to the issue. What I see, how I feel and react. Because as self-absorbed as that might sound, for people to notice, they have to be able to relate. I have to show them how the issue relates to them too. And then, what we can all do to change the outcome for these kids.
What do you like best about your venture? It is such an honor to be a part of something like this. I have met the most incredible people along the way. Super smart, super passionate, and super together.
What do you see for you and your venture in the future? I cannot ever imagine NOT caring about this issue. I would love to be part of clearing up misinformation on this topic, but more importantly, I want to see those diseases gone, these kids getting to school, staying healthy,building their own solutions for water, for malaria, for ending the cycle. Because they can.
You can keep up with Chrysula on her personal blog, http://whenyouwakeupamother.com