Laura R Schroeder
I’ve often wanted to write my thoughts about how diversity and inclusion have positively impacted my life as well as the INA, but stopped myself because who wants to hear about this topic from a 56-year-old middle-class white woman? But everyone’s story has validity, so here goes…
I was brought up in the lily-white upper-middle-class neighborhood of Glen Ridge, NJ, in a similar way to many of the nanny children that I have helped raise through the years. My Republican parents were not outwardly racist, but I certainly had more than my fair share of privilege, and little opportunity to intermingle with a diverse crowd.
While attending my 4-year private college it was much of the same, until my internship at The Philadelphia State Psychiatric Hospital, also known as Byberry. This was my first real introduction to true diversity- mental illness, poverty, different ethnicities, etc. It was eye-opening and really stirred my love of psychology and helping others.
My career led me to social work and continued work with very diverse populations. My world was opening before my eyes. In 1994 however, when my 2 children were diagnosed with autism, I found myself once again confronted with a new normal. No longer was I the therapist in the relationship, I was the parent.
I understood now that while I still was the recipient of great privilege, my appreciation of others was so much greater. Any horrible thoughts I had of being “superior” were lessened/ gone. I was grateful for everyone who was a part of my and my children’s lives.
As I have aged and gotten to know people of all ethnicities, religious and sexual orientations, various physical and emotional disabilities, etc, I have learned that each and every one of them has added something important to my life. I am beyond grateful. The richness of diversity and inclusion is one that can’t be measured quantitatively, but I can feel it in my heart.
I feel this way about the INA. We may have begun in 1985 primarily as a white, female, middle-class, US organization, but due to the hard work of so many, we are looking beyond those initial beginnings. We are of course tremendously thankful for all those whose hard work started the INA and are excited to keep working to keep the organization strong and growing.
With the new Diversity Committee and a real commitment of the board to inclusivity and reducing bias, we can now look ahead to a more diverse INA, one that is stronger with the inclusion of all voices from our industry I for one am excited to see how this great organization will grow and change for the better, much in the way I did. We have just begun this road and we have far to go, but I am optimistic and excited about our future.
Laura R. Schroeder – (Charleston, SC) Laura has been working with children for more than 30 years. She is a mom to 3 grown children, two of whom are autistic. After completing her degree in developmental psychology and while working as a social worker, life took her in a different direction. She operated a successful licensed family daycare for 6 years in NJ, while also becoming trained as an ABA therapist. When her children grew older she shifted to nanny care. Laura has been credentialed by the International Nanny Association, is certified in Connection Centered Discipline, and is a Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She has also taken Newborn Care Specialist Training. Laura founded the popular Charleston Area Nanny Network in 2014 and is very active in the nanny community in her area. She was thrilled to be named a nominee for the 2017 INA Nanny of the Year. Laura has been happily married for over 30 years and loves living near the beach in beautiful Charleston, SC. Laura has been a member of the INA since 2015, joined the Board in 2017 and has been on the Executive Board the last year. Please see the Committee Appointments list for a list of committees for which Laura is the chair.
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