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Following Dreams

"Author & Syndicated Columnist"
Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Taylor: I know that you are a syndicated columnist, an author, and you’re on the board of several nonprofit organizations.

Jackie: Yes, I’m on the board of the Genesis Shelter and I founded the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation.

Taylor: Tell me a little about your writing.

Jackie: I started writing about five years ago. My background is finance, but I wrote columns with a local newspaper for quite a while. Then about three years ago, I started writing for It was an opinion column, but it involved a lot of thinking about what the topic should be, what was interesting, and what people wanted to read. I have always tried to listen to other people’s opinions.

I usually am writing and re-writing and editing what I write, so it takes about two to three days of my week to write columns. I recently wrote a book called 5 Principles for a Successful Life with my dad which came out in May of this year. That was a really fun project!

Jackie shares her book with me, 5 Principles for a Successful Life.

Taylor: Out of all the things you do, what is it that you would like to be most known for?

Jackie: I want people to know that I am helping others. The Genesis Shelter is set up to help homeless babies and their families. They define a baby as three months or younger. The first thing Genesis Shelter does when families first arrive is try to figure out how they became homeless.  Then they address whatever is the problem. After residents leave, we follow their progress for five years. We even help provide presents at Christmas so that they don’t have to spend too much.

Jackie shows me one of the closets the shelter uses to provide for the babies.

Taylor: What would you say is your passion and what would you like to write about?

Jackie: My passion is helping other people learn, whether its children or adults. I like writing about what is happening today and what impacts people. What is fun for me is to try to look at several different areas of life and weave them together.

Taylor: Where can girls find your articles and your books?

Jackie: The books are on sale at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other places like that and you can find my articles at

Taylor: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Jackie: I wasn’t very sure what I wanted to be. I loved to read. I would read all the time. My dad traveled a lot because he was campaigning, so a book was an easy thing to bring with you.

Taylor: When did you decide to do what you do today?

Jackie: I worked in finance (with money) for over ten years. It was a 60 hour a week job and once I had children, I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Taylor: What would you say is one of your fun memories from your childhood?

Jackie: Camping was probably one of the most fun things we did because it was such an adventure! We owned a canoe, so we would put it on the top of our car and just go camping and canoeing!

Taylor: What kinds of friends did you try to surround yourself with when you were growing up?

Jackie: We did a lot of playing outside, so my friends were the ones that wanted to be outside. I grew up in a small town and I could ride my bike to my friend’s house.

Taylor: Were you in any sports or school programs?

Jackie: I took ballet through the 10th grade. I was in the church choir and also in the band at school.

Taylor: What school did you go to and what did you study?

Jackie: I went to Presbyterian College and I have a degree in business. Then I went to Georgia State University and got an MBA in finance.

Taylor: If there are any girls out there that want to be writers or work in a nonprofit organization, what advice and which studies would you recommend for them?

Jackie: For writing, my advice is to write! You’re not going to become a better writer by not writing. Whether it’s at school or writing short stories and poems on your own, you need to write even if no one else publishes it or sees it. You also need to read a lot. That will help you especially with the use of language. Read anything that you can get your hands on.

For working with nonprofits, my advice is to find any area that you are interested in and volunteer and get involved.

Jackie is very encouraging and loves to see people learning and living life.

Taylor: You are going to be speaking to girls all around the world through Do you have anything you would like to say to them?

Jackie:  Remember, life is a journey and not a destination. The five principles my Dad and I wrote about really are good. They are dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life, and be true to yourself. If girls come back to these five principles over and over again, then they will be able to enjoy a fun and exciting life.



Click to play a "shout out" from Jackie.

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