We had the good fortune of connecting with Terri Mlotek and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Terri, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?

The most important thing as a parent that I’ve done that impacted my daughter, was give her the ability to recognize that she was special in all her uniqueness, but no different than anyone else. My beautiful Rena was born with Craniofacial anomalies. In simple terms, at birth she had cosmetic differences which required a multitude of surgeries throughout her lifetime. As a single parent I had two choices, accept what was my beautiful angel in all her glory or, cave to the societal pressure of the lack of norm and retreat into a bubble. The latter was never an option. I never treated Rena differently than any other child. While her interactions with other children were sometimes met with fear, confusion and even hate. My attitude was, jump right in, smile, say hello and go about your business. I always taught her that the world will try to stand in your way, but you will barrel right through because your future is on the other side.

Don’t think life was easy by any stretch. It took effort, tears, therapy and so much love that I thought my heart would burst, and
that was just for me by the way.

Rena took took effort, tears, therapy and an abundance of love and trust in me that my words were gospel. Children need to believe in their parents because while they are going through their hardest times, even we cannot imagine their pain.

Fast forward to now, 33 years later and my daughter is a world renowned author, an entrepreneur, a Facebook phenomenon, an inclusion coordinator, and advocate for all people with uniqueness and difference.

The pride I take now in watching this amazing woman pass her gift on to others is my reward for all the years of struggle and devotion to the greatest gift God gave me. I always say we raised another and that is nothing short of the truth. If I never accomplish anything else in my lifetime, I did right by this.

Today this amazingly beautiful, confident woman is a force to be reckoned with. Surgeries aside, she is confident in her beauty, her winning personality, her uniqueness and gift to see outside the world.

I suppose that the gifts we teach our children should be to be kind to everyone, no matter what we see on the outside. We are all the same on the inside.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I currently am the Sr. Vice President of Heil & Heil Insurance Agency in Skokie, IL. an independent insurance agency since 1885, writing all lines of insurance in 36 states.

I have always been a natural born leader, so this was an easy fit for me. Helping people, staff and clients ensure their dreams and potential is my gift.

Getting here was never easy. In a male dominant field for many years, women always took a back seat to leadership. But as the saying goes, “always pay attention to the queen, for she can make moves the king cannot.’ The tide turned a while back and women took their natural place in leadership.

Part of my story is to showcase my ability of guiding the younger generations to find their full potential in life no matter what they choose to do.

The world possesses many road blocks, but the ability to power through takes determination and grit. It’s not a handout or a given you will get to where you want to go.

You need support and mentors. Thats my goal.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I live in Chicago, so for me it would be Millennial Park, Giordanos pizza, Wrigley Field and all the wonderful museums. Its a great city, (in the summer). Don’t bother coming here in the winter unless you are craving snow. In which case bring an extra suitcase to take some home with you please!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I dedicate this to my daughter Rena Rosen, who made me a mom. She helped me realize my full potential as a human being on this planet. When she was born, I realized my true purpose, that I was born to be her mother. Together, she and I raised each other.

With all my love and admiration, I dedicate this to her.

Rena is the author of The Courage To Be Kind (Amazon), Creator of the Facebook Group, Knit for a Unique Fit, Inclusion Coordinator for the JCCs of Chicago, Owner of the Art of Compassion.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/terri_mlotek

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/terrimlotek

Twitter: @terri_mlotek

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terri.mlotek

Youtube: terrimlotek Unicorn5215

Other: TikTok – www.tiktok.com/terrimlotek

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