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A life-long pursuit to pay it forward.

Chloe Stegeman is a Dallas-based healthcare consultant. She is our #WCW because she strives to live out gratitude and embrace humility and humor on the path to success.

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

In the Hollywood cut of my life, I'm a small-town girl played by a young Rashida Jones who worked her way to the big city in pursuit of the dream and happiness. In real life, I am humbled daily by the fact that my story is not entirely unique. I’m not the first person to encounter the ebbs and flows of starting a new job, contemplating happiness, or attempting to find a less-conspicuous way to buy the jumbo-pack toilet paper at the store. Maybe real life is a little less shiny than the Hollywood version, but consequently it has become a little less lonely and a little more authentic as I lean into the wisdom of others. And if we’re being honest, where would the Ann’s of the world be without their Leslie’s?

2. What motivates you?

I’m eternally grateful for the people who have poured into me as friends, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Reflecting on my experiences to date, I am blown away by the thoughtfulness and intentionality that has been expressed towards me by “my people.” Every season may not be covered in rainbows or look and feel like success, but knowing I have a loving, strong support system keeps me hungry in a life-long pursuit to pay it forward and cultivate goodness in all the ways it has been afforded to me.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

My parents are my heroes – but really, actual heroes! My parents met while they were both enlisted in the US Air Force. They are universal models of hard work, perseverance, and a general "get the job done" attitude. They raised me to live out a life full of kindness and generosity with a healthy dose of laughter. Having them as parents has been a gift of a lifetime, and I hope to continue to make them proud in all that I do.

4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?

I was exposed to the healthcare system at a young age. I witnessed how doctors, who were nothing short of miracle workers, took care of some of the special people in my life. This experience, coupled with an innate desire to serve others, sparked my interest in medicine. I started out at Vanderbilt University as pre-med and soon after transitioned my major to medicine, health, and society, a public health degree. While at Vanderbilt, I was heavily involved in Vanderbilt University Dance Marathon (#FTK) and soon after graduation I moved to Dallas to work for a healthcare navigation company. Though I am not a physician, I help take care of people by educating individuals and families on medical-related inquires and serving as an advocate within our complex healthcare system.

5. What's your future plan? Your goals?

I’m finding the more I try to plan every inch of my life, the more surprised I am when the Big Man upstairs throws me a curve ball of an opportunity. The simple aspiration is to serve and advocate on behalf of underrepresented populations. Who I serve and how I’ll do this will take many different shapes and forms throughout the course of my life – I’m a nerd for healthcare, education, and I have a healthy creative muscle that piques my interest in marketing and communications. Pursuing an MBA is a concrete goal to throw into the mix, but time will soon tell where life leads me next!

6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Practice gratitude. It is fantastic to be driven by future aspirations, but always living in the future can suck the life out of the present. Living out gratitude mitigates the stress of being a 23-year-old millionaire, and it brings us back to the present to celebrate what's going good in life while helping us find silver linings in areas that could use some perspective. The result? Happier, more energized days and stronger relationships to enjoy as you hustle to chase your dreams. Pro Tip: Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.

7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

Call me a teacher’s pet, but…education! Access to it, the quality of it, and what it can do to break negative cycles and uplift communities. I would happily expand on this further, but I'd surely run out of space!

8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

In college, I spent one of my spring breaks volunteering in a school on a Native American reservation in North Dakota. We met with Lakota tribe leaders, participated in a sweat lodge ceremony, and witnessed firsthand some of the issues plaguing reservation life. It was at times a difficult trip, but it was an absolute honor to learn about the Lakota people FROM the Lakota people and how they are maintaining their vibrant culture for generations to come.

9. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.

One of my beloved college mentors told me that the way she survived the tumult of young adulthood after graduation was by cashing in on the fruits a *free* library card. Knowledge is power, and reading is great way to learn something new, get inspired, and relax after a long day of adulting. Some sweet recommendations, for your enjoyment:

  1. Books: Love Lives Here by Maria Goff, a splendid complement to her husband Bob's popular book, Love Does; The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

  2. Blogs: Brit + Co; The Financial Diet; Marie Forleo;; The Dean’s List ;)

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