To give our readers a glimpse into the world of our global writers we have introduced the Meet a World Mom series. As the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly gets underway in New York City, today World Moms Network interviews our former Managing Editor and current United Nations Liaison Elizabeth Atalay.
WMN: What country do you live in?
Elizabeth: The United States of America, ( not as united as we should be these days! )
What country are you from?
I was born and raised in the USA and have only ever lived in this country.
What language(s) do you speak?
English and some Spanish.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have four “children,” two boys and two girls ages 22, 20,18, and 16. Here’s a family photo from 2012.
How did you connect with World Moms Network?
When I became a blogger in 2012, I looked for a global community of mothers and found it at World Moms Network.
How long have you been a part of World Moms Network?
I reached out to World Moms Network Founder, Jen Burden, as soon as I found it and asked to get involved. At the time, the North American roster of writers was full but serendipity brought us together at BlogHer later that year, and she brought me on board.
How has your life changed since you joined World Moms Network?
When I joined WMN almost a decade ago, my youngest was six years old. Our town did not have full-day kindergarten, so this was my first year with all four kids in school full time, and I was excited to get back to work. World Moms Network has led to some of my most fulfilling work experiences since then. Jen Burden and I have attended Fashion Week, the Social Good Summit, and UNGA in New York City. I’ve worked with the United Nations Foundation, traveled on reporting trips to Ethiopia, South Africa, and Haiti, and advocated on Capitol Hill. I credit World Moms Network as a launchpad to reach my career dream goals while forming deep friendships with some of the most incredible women from around the world.
How do you spend your days?
A decade since I started with World Moms Network, my husband and I have just become empty nesters. For the past several years, I have been working as Social Media Manager for small business clients. I’ve eased back, working part-time from home, allowing me to be fully present for my kids while they were still young. As a stay-at-home mom re-entering the workforce a decade ago, I wondered if and how I would ever be able to make up for the years taken off.
Through digital media and World Moms Network, I found that I could get back to my career goals. With a Master’s Degree in documentary film and Anthropology I aspired to share stories that would promote cross-cultural understanding. After several reporting trips, I realized that it was not too late to achieve those goals, I was able to pull back again. When my oldest went off to school a few years ago, it reminded me that I didn’t have a lot of time left to be there for my kids while they were still home; they’d all be off at college soon. I lost both of my parents when I was young, so one of my main life priorities is to be present for my kids as long as they have me in this world. Now that they are all off at school, I am excited to refocus my energy on what’s next.
What are the top 5 places on your travel wish list?
- The Maldives
Is there a book, movie or show you recommend?
I love to read and watch movies! I think the book Caste by Isabel Wilkerson should be required reading for all Americans. Favorite movies include The Life of Pi and Romancing the Stone.
What is your best motherhood advice?
With four kids, I feel that my kids were each born hardwired in some ways and they are all different. My parenting comes from a place of support and love for who they each are as individuals.
What is your favorite place you have traveled to?
I spent six months in my early twenties traveling overland through the African continent from Morocco to Botswana. We shopped at local markets, made the fire that we cooked over each night and camped in tents or under the stars the whole way. It was an incredible adventure.
What is your favorite family travel destination?
We try to travel abroad for two weeks each summer with our kids. It’s hard to choose a favorite but our Tanzanian Safari and Zanzibar trip was spectacular, We visited several different tribes and I loved giving my kids the opportunity to visit cultures and lives so different from their own. We have also been to Turkey a few times where my husband has family, there are so many beautiful, fascinating and historic locations to visit each time we go.
What is one random thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
I was a member of the sky diving club in college. (Don’t tell my kids!)
What brings you joy?
My family. Our dog. Close friendships. Reading. Movies. Food and drink. Travel. Swimming. Skiing. Creative endeavors.
What UN Sustainable Development Goal are you most passionate about?
#13: Climate Action
We are at the tipping point of an Environmental crisis. The climate crisis impacts all other aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals: displacement, extreme poverty, food insecurity, clean water, equality, education, and global health.