Each week, we feature a fantastic new woman we think you should know. Some of these women are clients, some are friends, some are women we’ve only just met. But they all have this in common: they are dynamic, interesting gals who have agreed to share with us their insights and secrets to success.
Lynn M. Shatkus
My Current Job/Company:
Chief Learning Officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL.
April 15, 1970
I am the chief strategist for a team of 60 instructional designers and trainers who provide leadership development and electronic medical record training programs for 10,000 clinical and administrative staff in the Chicago area. NorthShore is a healthsystem of four hospitals and eighty plus physician offices, so my job has a lot of variety. I am rarely doing the same thing or in the same location from day to day.
Regardless of what I am doing, whether it’s in my personal life or at work, my passion is to do it with integrity and not compromise who I am, what I believe in, or where I came from. That goes for both success and failure, by the way. If I am going to trip and fall, I’m going to commit myself to it with great splendor so that I can learn from the experience. Maintaining my own personality and being able to laugh no matter what happens is how I define integrity.
I am the middle child of three girls. My older sister, Lisa, is a brilliant person who never stops amazing me with her very rational approach to anything life throws her. I always rely on Lisa for an even-keeled read on situations. Nine times out of ten if I am freaking out about something, Lisa talks me off the ceiling and sends me on my way with a solution. Just yesterday I referred to her as “an encyclopedia with feet”. There’s nothing I can’t ask that she either knows about or can find out, and she’s the most efficient human I know. My younger sister, Laura, is this incredibly humorous and introspective creature who drips poetry in the way she lives her life. She’s an actor, which was a talent that showed itself by the age of two. I can watch her for hours as she drags people through a range of emotions they didn’t know they even had. All of these characteristics came from having two parents who embody the playfulness of children coupled with the good sense not to stifle creativity or passion in others. Do they think that things I do sometimes are crazy? Absolutely. Do they try to stop me from learning my own lessons, even at 41? Not a chance. With all of these people around me, I am very blessed.
Well, if you’re referring to the traditional definition of hero – meaning someone of distinguished courage or ability, I’d have to list my Maternal Grandmother, Beverly Fitzgerald, who will be turning 93 years old in a few weeks. She lost her own Mother to Tuberculosis at a very young age and so she became a very independent person full of determination from the very start. She was a strong woman before it was cool to be so, which inspires me every day. In her lifetime she’s seen the invention of the traffic signal and the discovery of penicillin. She was around for the invention of the electron microscope, jet engines, helicopters, synthetic cortisone, the atomic bomb and the Frisbee – all by the time she was thirty. Despite the modernization of society and all of the advances with technology since 1919, she’s unfazed. My ninety-three-year-old Grandmother is on Facebook. You should friend her.
My favorite escape is to wander the streets of any very old city in Europe and take photographs. Just being next to churches and buildings that are thousands of years old are pause for reflection on life perspective and a reminder that everything is a fleeting moment in time.
My Pet Peeves:
People who are invasive in my space at a salad bar. It’s like they think that being right in my elbow is going to make me speed up my selection of lettuce. No chance.
Cookies and Cream milkshakes from Baskin Robbins. Sinful.
I am a mixture of heritage from Ireland, Lithuania, Germany, Belgium and France, and there actually is a contingent of my family that was in the circus at one time. As a third generation American on my father’s side and fourth on my Mother’s, I came from people who were unassuming and worked very hard. My paternal grandfather worked in a coal mine in Iowa and a factory in Chicago. My great-grandfather spoke five languages and died very young. I’ve only uncovered the tip of the iceberg but I’m fascinated by the history of my family tree.
I always laugh when people ask what is next for me because to date I have not been “intentional” about anything in life. That seems to be working for me so far, so I think I’ll just stick with that. I feel like there’s a book inside me someday but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it might be about, so I will just keep going and one day it will spill out somewhere.
When my little beagle Elfie, snuggles up into my chest at night. I can feel her heartbeat against my body and her breath in my neck and it’s absolute perfection. I also love a good snowstorm because everything gets very quiet and looks perfectly undisturbed.
“Real Genius” – a cute and quirky story about nerds winning out in the end. I love to see that.
My Quote on Life:
My mother hates when I say this because it sounds so fatalistic, but – “It’s not if…it’s when, so you better live it up.” Use the good china, wear the lingerie and tell the truth, even if it’s difficult.
My late Grandmother Martha’s wedding ring from 1933. After my grandmother died, my Aunt let me have the ring and there was a little bit of cookie dough crusted inside the setting. My Grandma was always baking and I loved seeing a little bit of her passed on to me. I call the ring “Martha”. The real Martha never learned to drive a car but the ring “Martha” has been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I like to think she’s with me in spirit wherever I go.
My Advice to Young Women:
Learn as many languages as you can, and travel the world at any cost. The lens with which you look at life will change dramatically for the better if you can do these two things.
How I Balance it All:
When I was younger I was consumed with everything having to be the American version of perfect, which was natural because that’s the culture in which I was raised. After living in Spain for a short period of time, however, it became clear to me that this definition was really screwed up. After watching the Spanish take three hours to have a meal and be fully and passionately engaged in the discussion that accompanied it rather than shoveling the food in and being on their way, I had a huge ah-ha moment. Once I wrapped my brain around this concept – that it’s okay to take things at a reasonable pace, to be in the moment and really commit your energy to what you’re doing right then instead of trying to do a million things at once, suddenly and very naturally, balance appeared. I don’t over schedule myself anymore, and if I do, I recognize it and cancel some things. I listen to my body. If I’m tired, I go to sleep and leave things for tomorrow. You have to set your own boundaries in life and hold firm to them and so I have found balance through little things like that.