jackie erdman

Fabulous People: Jackie Erdman

Jackie Erdman is the executive director of Above & Beyond Children’s Museum, an adored spot of Sheboygan-area families for the past 25-plus years. Learn about Jackie…

Hometown: I grew up in a little town in Illinois called Libertyville and spent most of my school years in Lake Geneva, WI. 

First job: My first job was as a Sandwich Artist at Subway when I started high school! I was lucky enough to work with my sister and best friend. We have such fond memories of creating “new sandwiches.”

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: I love visiting shops, cafes and, especially, local art galleries in small towns. Living in the Sheboygan area means we have access to some truly beautiful national parks, and my husband and I enjoy hiking and exploring.

Person who has impacted your life the most and why: My 8-month-old daughter Winnie has, without doubt, impacted my life more than I ever thought possible, in all the best ways! She is my motivation to be the best mama, strive for a healthy work-life balance, and do great things for our community. 

Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes and why: I feel that becoming the director of Above & Beyond is my biggest accomplishment to date. In my wildest dreams, I hoped to oversee an organization devoted to bettering the lives of our youngest generations. To live this reality is incredibly humbling and gratifying. 

Someone who inspires you and why: I am inspired by the change-makers, both in our community and nationwide. On a more personal level, my husband inspires me every day. He keeps our family together (and fed) while working two jobs and going to school full-time to become a Nurse Practitioner. He has been my biggest supporter and the one to push me to pursue my most ambitious career goals.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: My insecurities in myself. It has taken many years, and an understanding of “imposter syndrome,” but I’ve made big steps in finding comfort in being exactly who I am and not being afraid to share my authentic self with people. 

Favorite quote: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” –-John Augustus Shedd

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: For anyone pursuing a career as the director of a nonprofit, I suggest that a passion for the work of the organization and a determined spirit are necessary. Perseverance is everything in this line of work. Additionally, understanding the different roles and being willing and ready to take on a myriad of positions in order to accomplish the organization’s goals is so important. As they say in the nonprofit sector, get ready to wear all the hats!

What you think makes someone fabulous: Kindness and confidence! There is nothing more fabulous than having a caring heart and sharing it with the world. 

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