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Five Minutes With… Dr. Claudia Beeny

Nov 08, 2017 02:17PM ● Published by Dia

Ever heard the phrase “good is the enemy of great?” Dr. Claudia Beeny couldn’t agree with it more wholeheartedly. Helping women, children and teachers craft their best lives is what inspired her to start her Westlake-based nonprofit, House of Shine. Through workshops and leadership programs, she helps community members of all ages understand how to best use their unique talents and gifts.  

Our mission is to: power the planet with shine. Imagine how bright the world would be if everyone was living their purpose. We want our content made available to every woman, child and teacher so that young people can grow up with the self-knowledge, confidence and tools to forge fulfilling paths for themselves.

House of shine got its name as: a way to describe the excellence we hope to bring out in people. Stars shine, and things that shine usually stand out. So the word conjured up the perfect image of why we were working so hard to develop people. The deeper we got into helping people identify their own excellence, the more we realized we could also use the word “shine” as an acronym. Now the method we use for unearthing people’s shine is deep exploration into the strengths, hobbies, interests, needs and experiences of our participants. It was a happy mistake, but one that has been instrumental in helping us explain what we do.

I love that my job: helps people forge a path for their own lives that is as fulfilling to them as mine is to me. I love engaging women, children and teachers in our programs and curriculum. It allows me to use my innate talents and strengths—one of the guiding principles we teach to living your purpose. I am creative by nature and a teacher at my core, so spending days creating engaging content and then teaching it to people who attend our workshops is the perfect fit for me.

The beauty of our work is that we: focus on what is right with people. We assume every person has a set of talents and strengths, and we also assume that the reverse is true of people—that each of us has a set of weaknesses and insecurities. So, we normalize the unflattering stuff through storytelling and laughter, and then get busy making commitments to ourselves about how we might get incrementally closer to living to our fullest potential.

A typical day for me includes: some combination of either teaching and/or creating. Today I spent a quiet morning in my office reading and preparing for an upcoming workshop for local business leaders. At noon, I had a meeting to discuss preliminary plans for a summer camp experience we will offer to mothers and daughters next summer. Immediately after that, I co-taught a group of seniors in high school how to use our life maps to help them write winning college essays. And then, I finished the workday joining forces with a local merchant who is helping us co-sponsor an event that will get more women out enjoying nature.

A proud moment for me was when: I was awarded the Legacy of Women award through Safe Haven for my ongoing commitment to education. That was particularly meaningful because of the long list of esteemed women whose company I am keeping. Also, we don’t often stop to think about how the many small things we do along the way eventually add up to something notable. That award helped me see how 25 years of working in education is making a real difference.

Our organization needs: increased awareness and interest on the part of community members. Parents and teachers who are curious about all the ways we are positively influencing education should reach out and let us tell you more. Donations and sponsorships are also helpful in allowing us to provide programming to women, children and teachers in even greater numbers.

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