Kristin Jackman transformed her experience into a beacon of hope for others. As the mother of two children with complex medical needs and the sole income earner for her family, Kristin experiences stress.
Facing adversity with courage, Kristin saw an opportunity with Wellness Wish––a grant program that's part of Booz Allen’s holistic wellness resources for employees––to improve her stress management skills. The program awarded Kristin a grant which she used toward mindfulness and leadership training. Since then, Kristin’s emotional health has improved, and she’s committed to helping other families as an education coordinator and co-leader for the DC chapter of Mended Little Hearts, the largest national peer-to-peer support network for families of children with congenital heart defects.
What prompted your foray into mindfulness and leadership training?
In 2016, I became the mom of a special kid—my daughter was born with severe congenital heart defects. She suffered serious complications in 2017 after surgery, so we’ve spent 10 months over the last 3 years inpatient at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. My husband left his job to become a caretaker for her and our son, who was recently diagnosed with autism. Because of these circumstances, I needed to improve my emotional wellness and mental health to be there for my family, my work colleagues, and the close-knit community of families impacted by heart defects.
What motivates you to help other families?
I know firsthand how emotionally, physically, financially, and socially taxing it can be to care for a child with a life-limiting diagnosis. When I began my journey to self-improvement, I realized I could also help improve the wellness of other families by sharing what I learned. That’s why I got involved with local organizations to share information and resources with families like ours that want to give our kids the best lives possible.
How have these experiences changed how you approach your work?
My team supports the cyber and engineering capabilities at Booz Allen. We keep employees engaged and provide resources to help them advance their careers. When I plan events or initiatives, I consider how we can create an inclusive environment. This means making events accessible to working parents, reinforcing the value of community, and guiding recent college graduates to find a path authentic to their aspirations.
What advice would you give to a friend or colleague undergoing similar life-changing family circumstances?
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share your story. You can find strength in empathy, even in your workplace.
Finish this sentence, the future is…
Uncertain, and we shouldn’t be afraid to face it together.