Victoria Sandbrook Flynn joined Boston GLOW last year to help plan IGNITE the NITE 2013. She became a member of our OW network, a mentor for an IGNITE Change 2013 finalist AND came back again this year to help lead the Marketing & Public Relations Committee for IGNITE the NITE 2014.
How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution?
I discovered GLOW thanks to a happy confluence of events: I got a YNPN email calling for IGNITE the NITE volunteers and met Leah later that night at a career event. Within minutes I’d decided that I wanted to be involved! Now, a year and a half later, I’m the Marketing/PR Committee Chair for IGNITE the NITE 2014.
What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world?
If I ever find myself starting to accept the way things are or doubting that my voice will make a difference, I think about whether I’d want my fifteen-year-old sister dealing with the same issue when she’s my age. Every person has something they can give back, something to contribute, and I want us all to live in a world where that’s never in question.
What was your career goal as a young girl and how did that evolve as you progressed through your education and professional life?
When I was very young, I was certain I wanted to be a writer. My goals changed over the years—I wanted to be a marine biologist, ER doctor, constitutional lawyer, even the first female President of the United States for a good long time—but when it came down to deciding what was going to be the thing I loved enough to devote my 9-5 life to, I realized I couldn’t give up my passion for the written word. I got a job in publishing here in Boston right out of undergrad and have managed to make writing an important part of who I am and what I do.
What experiences led you to where you are now?
I spent a few years heading in the wrong direction. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t leading. I wasn’t giving back on a daily basis. One day, I heard an interview on the radio—and I wish I could find it again!—that reiterated how strong leaders inspire those around them to unite for a purpose bigger than themselves. I realized that I wasn’t acting with purpose in my own life, much less inspiring others. So I started looking for a change. I got involved with GLOW. I started giving more time to my other volunteer commitment—an annual all-women’s hike benefitting the Elizabeth Stone House. And I found my current job at the Appalachian Mountain Club. My whole life is centered in purpose now, and I really do feel like I have opportunities to give back every day. It means that, at the end of the day, I feel better about myself and about the world around me, and that gives me more energy to write—even after a long, full day.
What is your role currently and what does an average day in your work life look like?
I’m the books editor at the Appalachian Mountain Club. If you know anything about publishing—especially a small or nonprofit publishing house—you know that there is no “average” day! At any given day, I could be putting in eight-straight hours of editing word-by-word. Or I could be checking PDF after PDF to get to our final printer deadlines. I do sales research; help authors organize their manuscripts; I come up with ideas for new books. The great thing about being a “jill”-of-all-trades is that it never gets boring!
What would you do if you won $12M in the lottery tomorrow?
Pay off my mortgage. Buy land somewhere to plant an apple orchard. Save a bunch for rainy days. Give a bunch to a few fabulous organizations. Maybe set up a scholarship for aspiring writers and editors at my alma mater.
What is your go-to for energy when you’re running out of steam?
A feel-good movie and a plate/bowl of something yummy. There’s nothing like getting to shut my brain down for a few hours—or six if I start the BBC Pride and Prejudice.
What things do you not like to do?
Go tanning (it just doesn’t work). Fold fitted sheets (this also just doesn’t work). Discover typos my own work emails. Argue politics with people (debate, yes; argue, no). Read sad books and watch sad movies. Say no (it’s so, so hard).
What's your spirit animal?
My Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pepper. We both love hiking…or just sleeping in on Saturday mornings. We both lovesnow, dislike the heat of summer, and neither of us mind a good rain shower. We both snore like old men sometimes. We’re both “food motivated.” And we’re both over-talkative—but the people who love us, love us anyway.
If you could only do one dance move the rest of your life, what would it be?
What I have billed as “the Michael Phelps” (hello 2008 Summer Olympics): it’s basically an advanced version of “the Swim” where you mime every stroke in the Individual Medley event. I’ve made many, many people laugh with it, and if I could only do that when I danced, then I think I’d still have fun.
What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your aunt?
Make lots and lots of pizza. My husband and I love throwing pizza nights for our friends and already have the dough and sauce recipes and our specialty topping combos all picked out. Now we just need an aunt who wants to buy a pizzeria so she can leave it for us!
What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
I’d love to see women take more leadership roles, in politics, in the corporate world, in the public sector, on college campuses, everywhere! I hope we’ll all see the day when women are paid equally; when we can all expect a work-life balance that is supportive of families and personal growth; when little girls aren’t overwhelmed by impossible stereotypes in the media; and when women worldwide have access to the highest levels of education, political agency, and self-determination.