Thinking Bigger Takeaways—11/23/2012: Barbara Unell, Back in the Swing

BIG Lessons from my weekly radio guests

Barbara Unell founded Back in the Swing in 2000 after surviving breast cancer and finding few resources to help her get “back in the swing” after treatment.

Unlike other organizations that focus on the disease itself, Back in the Swing is the first and only national nonprofit organization providing grassroots awareness, education and fundraising on behalf of the more than 2 and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

During the show I learned a lot about the mission and work of Back in the Swing as well as how employers can help breast cancer survivors transition back into the workplace. But my BIG takeaways  were larger life messages:

  1. What we think is the end is often just the beginning. As Barbara made clear on my show, and has been preaching for the last decade to anyone who will listen, surviving breast cancer is just the beginning. The survivor still faces getting “back in the swing” physically, and often emotionally and spiritually. How many times have you pushed through a wall only to find it was a door that opened to a new challenge or opportunity?
  2. Sometimes life leads us down a path we aren’t expecting—be ready to go with it. For Barbara, the end of her cancer treatment was also the beginning of a brand new business. Although leading a national nonprofit focused on breast cancer survivorship was not on her career radar, Barbara’s 30 years of writing, speaking and publishing converged with her cancer experience to lead her in a new and important direction.
  3. Don’t underestimate passion and unwavering conviction. Barbara started Back in the Swing during a time when no one in healthcare was focusing on what happens to breast cancer patients after they complete their treatment. She was breaking new ground, trying to get people to listen to her message, trying to educate professionals who could make a difference, and trying to get supporters to open their wallets. What began a decade ago as a local grassroots mission driven by passion, desire and a firm conviction that change was needed has swelled into a broad-based organization that serves breast cancer survivors internationally.

To listen to the full radio show, click here.


About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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