Volunteer Spotlight: Erica Steadman
Tell us about your professional/educational background.
I am currently the Director of Marketing and Customer Relations at American Sale Corporation in Tinley Park, IL. I graduated from Marquette University in 2008 with my Bachelors in Communications and Marketing. Prior to my current role, I worked at a small ad agency in Milwaukee for 2 years handling healthcare and law clients, before moving on as the International Digital Marketing Coordinator at Briggs and Stratton Corporation for 3 years. In 2013, I came to American Sale as the Digital Marketing Manager and was promoted to the Director of Marketing and Customer Relations in 2018.
What makes the National CMV Foundation's mission powerful for you?
I have a deeply personal tie to NCMVF. My husband and I have 3 daughters. Our second child, Evelyn, was born with congenital CMV and has several diagnoses because of it. Some of her diagnoses are- deafness (uses bilateral cochlear implants), vision loss/impairment (CVI, Rotary Nystagmus, Strabismus), microcephaly (smaller head/brain size), cerebral palsy, epilepsy, feeding aversion (g-tube fed), non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and global developmental delays.
What made you decide to get more involved with the National CMV Foundation, as a Community Alliance Chair?
As Evelyn’s mother, I’ve always strived to advance advocacy and policy surrounding CMV. In 2016, I was able to help pass a law in my state of Illinois to promote better education and awareness of CMV to women, as well as better targeted testing of newborns in the hospital if they fail their hearing screenings. I’ve been inspired by National CMV Foundation families and have always tried to lend a helping hand whenever they have asked me. Whether it be speaking engagements or helping families start the legislative process in their home state, I’ve loved being a part of this organization and telling my daughter’s story whenever/wherever I can.
In your role as CMV Community Alliance Chair, what goals have you set for 2020?
I have set a $5,000 fundraising goal for the year. Thus far I have been able to fundraise $1,285. I also wanted to recruit more IL families to help achieve our goal of CMV awareness in the community and reopen our legislation to have more data requirements/funding. However, with COVID-19 essentially shutting down the legislative branch in our state as well as just normal life going on hold, a lot of plans have been reworked. We are now looking into more virtual options for fundraising. But I still feel confident that we can achieve the $5,000 level of fundraising.
What does success look like to you?
Reaching our $5,000 fundraising goal and promoting more awareness about CMV in Illinois through our advocacy.
What motivates you?
Easy. Evelyn motivates me every single day. Her tenacity and determination to overcome her own physical challenges drives me to overcome any challenge that I encounter.
As a volunteer leader, what advice do you have for people who want to work on CMV advocacy, but don’t know where to start?
Just start somewhere! It can be super small. Posting something on your social media page is a good place to start. Sharing your story or someone else’s that has been impacted by CMV. It all makes a HUGE difference and helps promote awareness. I would also look into finding other CMV families in your state and trying to partner with them so that it doesn’t feel so heavy of a burden on one individual. Try to find your tribe/team/group that shares the same mindset and goals as you. And jump on board! National CMV Foundation has a list of families that have given consent to have their information shared with other CMV families. Or CMV Mommies group on Facebook is a good resource to finding others in your area.
“Everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok then it’s not the end.”- John Lennon.
And this exemplifies Evelyn - “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”- Shakespeare.
What do you like most about living in Illinois?
It’s where I was born and raised. I have a fondness for Illinois that’s probably born out of the fact that I grew up in a small, quiet and somewhat rural town, but Chicago was only 45 minutes away. I get the best of both worlds. And plus, all of my family and friends are around here so we love to get together often. I have a great support system here. And some of the best memories!
You're happiest when?
I’m snuggling in bed with my babies, my husband, and my sweet puppy Lucy at the end of the day.
Category: Advocacy, Awareness, Community, "Fueling Our Mission", "Parent Perspective"