Danielle Gletow has been a passionate advocate for children’s rights for nearly two decades. Danielle is the Founder & Executive Director of One Simple Wish, an organization empowers everyone to make a direct and meaningful difference in the lives of foster children and at-risk youth one simple wish at a time.
In October 2013, Danielle was chosen as a Top 10 CNN Hero among tens of thousands of nominees worldwide.
Danielle is a blogger for The Huffington Post and frequently speaks at schools, universities and businesses sharing her journey into the world of foster care and her bold move of leaving a lucrative career in marketing to follow her passion.
I Am Driven By | To some degree fear drives me. I wake up every day fearful that I won’t make the most out of the day, that someone will do my job much better than I did, that my kids won’t know how much I love them, that I won’t bring my all. So I think that motivates me to do all those things as often as I can.
My Highlights | By far and away the highlight of my life has been becoming a mother. I know I didn’t really understand love until I had my girls. Truly unconditional love is rare and so profoundly beautiful that I cannot imagine what my life would have been without it.
The Difference Between Good And Great | That’s simple! Hard work and passion.
A Key Talent | One thing that has been critical to my success has been my fortitude. When I decided to leave my comfortable career in marketing, I took a huge risk both personally and professionally and it wasn’t easy getting started. There were days and there are still days when everything seems like it is going wrong. There are days when it seems like a constant uphill battle. But I always find a way to keep going. While this still is difficult to do at times it has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older and realized that I am fighting for something bigger and more important than myself. It isn’t about me and I remind myself of that every time I feel like I want to throw in the towel or when I feel even slightly defeated. I think about the kids I am fighting for – I think of their struggles. I think of their potential and how much I need to keep going for them so that their potential isn’t wasted. I believe that if you can find something bigger than yourself to focus on, it will always make it easier to stick to your path and stick to your goals.
Principles I Live By | Cut yourself some slack! It’s actually a value I’m working on. No one is perfect 100% of the time and if you live your life aiming for that you probably will always let yourself or someone else down. Love yourself for all you are – the good, the amazing, the bad and the ugly. That is what I try to live by.
Critical Skills I Develop | To be successful in business, you have to surround yourself with great people. I have learned over time that I cannot do everything and I certainly cannot do everything really well. While it hasn’t been easy to give up the control, I have learned that I am so much more productive when I focus on what I am best at and give others tasks that they are best at. Finding and keeping good people on your team is critical to the success of any organization.
Lessons I Have Learnt | The biggest thing I have learned and continue to have reinforced daily is that “you can’t win them all” and you have to learn to be ok with losing. As a competitive person, it can be really hard to accept that we didn’t get a grant we worked so hard on or that another organization won a contest we really wanted to win. You have to be comfortable accepting loss and understanding that it doesn’t mean failure. You have to be able to move forward for the sake of the cause and the team. That isn’t always easy but it is so very necessary.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | A few months ago I deleted my personal Facebook account and it was the best thing I’ve done in a while. I was taking up way too much of my time reading about what people were eating for lunch or where they were going on vacation instead of using that time to absorb useful information. Now I spend that same amount of time reading actual news and helpful information from websites like Mind Body Green (Great for inspiration, helpful wellness tips, etc.) and Entrepreneur, Fast Company and The Week. I also follow inspirational people on Twitter that focus on positivity, action-oriented work and that work in the same or similar industries as my own.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | Someday I want to write a book. As a little girl I dreamed of becoming an author and used to write really interesting, imaginative stories. I like the idea of writing about something other than my own life and I’d love to get back to that creative side of my brain that allowed me to explore a world outside what I’ve known and to create characters that I’d like to know.
Advice On Building Wealth | I would tell them to think about WHY they want to be rich and build wealth. For some people, that can certainly equal happiness but I bet for most that is not going to get them there. I think it’s very important to deeply explore why you have the goals you have before you pursue them.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I want people to remember me as someone who worked super hard to leave the world a little better than I found it. And I want them to remember how much I loved…my kids, my family, my dogs, my friends, my colleagues. I think leaving behind a legacy of loving big would be remarkable.