From The Financial District To Africa: How I Changed My Life By Changing CareersNicole Rustad
Six years ago this week I interviewed for a job. Not just any job; a very special job that I didn’t even truly comprehend the full scope of at the time. When I heard the job description, that was it. An overwhelmingly intense feeling came over me about this opportunity unlike any other up to that point in my life. I knew this job was meant for me, it was my calling, and I must go for it! And I did, even though I LOVED my other and most important job being a mom to a wonderful son.
Almost 2 years previously, I had left the pressure cooker world of the financial industry to stay at home with my then 3-year-old son. Our days were filled with the whims and wonders of childhood. One thing I kept up post-financial job was my volunteer work. As time at home grew and the ebbs and flows of being at home became settled, I began to do more for the causes I loved. And that’s when it happened. I was invited into Disney’s Club Penguin to do a presentation about microfinancing for impoverished women in Africa. As I was leaving, they asked, “You wouldn’t happen to be interested in applying for this job, would you?”
Three dads in my community founded Club Penguin eight years ago. Club Penguin was then, and still is today, a visionary in their field and what our team continues to build on. A safe place in cyberspace for kids to connect, play, and just be kids in an online global community made just for them. A company that shows they care through the product they make and demonstrates this care through their actions in the real world.
After a few nail-biting interviews, I was hired to be the Corporate Citizenship Program Director (very long title for official do-gooder). Although the role has morphed over the past 6 years, the passion and love I have for my job has not waned. Today, a favorite part of my job is working with a team that truly cares about kids. Together, we strive to empower kids to build a better global community. This, coupled with having the opportunity to research charitable causes and travel to communities around the world we support, keeps me inspired!
Of course, I haven’t stopped my first and most important job being a mom. The road I am on is one where I hope to instill in my son the ability to care for those around him. To also realize that even as a kid he can make a difference in something he believes in. My goal for this blog is to tell the stories of everyday people who are changing the world one small action at a time. Secondly, to give parents the tools they need to feel empowered to do the same in their own small way with their families. I hope you join me in this journey! Click through to see some of my adventures around the world.
My son and I in 2007. 1 of 5
Just before working outside the home again, my son and I were having fun exploring the world together!
With kids in Kenya. 2 of 5
With Maasai Mama in Kenya. 3 of 5
My job has taken me around the world where I meet with amazing women like this grandmother from a community we support who is working hard to build a strong community for the future of her children and grandchildren.
Ceremonial tree planting India. 4 of 5
At the official launch of Club Penguin's Coins For Change with the Ryan Group of Schools in Mumbai, India.
My son and I in Nicaragua in 2013. 5 of 5
Today my son has opportunities to travel with me to visit projects we support around the world like one with Free The Children in Nicaragua.