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A new Beginning
Suchitra Shenoy Packer
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Suchitra Shenoy Packer

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at the Parent Voice, Magazine
Suchitra has previously worked as a journalist, a PR officer, and a professor. She is currently a stay-at-home-working-mom to two multiracial kids, the inspiration behind theParentVoice,.
Suchitra Shenoy Packer
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If you don’t see a clear path for what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself. 
– Mindy Kaling

As with most things, the Parent Voice, began with a thought…a relatively harmless “what if…” One evening, while sitting on my favorite chair in our living room, I let my mind wander to places to which it had hitherto only made guest appearances. However, this time, like an obnoxious guest, my mind refused to return. It luxuriated in the comfort of hospitality presented by my thoughts and decided to hang there for a long time. Eventually, I unleashed the thought onto my unsuspecting husband. 

I said, “Honey…I think I want to start a website for parents like us.” “Sure”, he replied. Whether I construed it as encouragement or a disinterested, “do what you think you need to do”, you will never know but that didn’t stop me from digging around a domain registration site with which I was familiar. Believe it or not, the very first domain name I searched for was indeed, theparentvoice.com and it was available!!

Thus, one late Friday night, on February 10, 2017, www.theparentvoice.com was born. 

I got to work right away. One of the first people I told about my website and my then fledging idea was Alberto González who was my long-distance mentor during my years in academia. He had no idea what he was getting into but he trusted me enough to cheerfully and enthusiastically come on board. 

The next person to take a leap of faith with me was Cheryl Crippen, one of our consultants and also a columnist for cross-cultural relations whom I did not know before reaching out. Jessica Colman Cheng, who is now our Director of Social Media, but whom I knew from Chicago, without so much as questioning why, wholeheartedly agreed to share the story of her love and how she met her husband, Eric, for the Magazine. My next email was to Lisa Pecot-Hébert, a former colleague with whose work I was familiar. She did not disappoint and agreed to join me as a Columnist for the Magazine. 

Things were warming up but I needed an anchor.

I needed someone to be my partner – a co-conspirator of sorts, someone who would share my vision while bringing in her own set of fresh perspectives, and someone who would not hesitate to call my spade a pickaxe, if needed.

Lakshmi Iyer was on my mind the whole time for this very key role. I had never met her before and I had never spoken to her before either. I knew her through her words.

The day I discovered her blog, I wanted to devour every single thing she had ever written. I thought I would send her an email telling her about what was happening at my end and ask her nicely if she would, kindly, consider joining the Parent Voice, as its Managing Editor. In the world of celebrities, she was my Meryl Streep so writing to her, as you can imagine, was like writing an email to the biggest name in the blogging world with which I was familiar and expecting Meryl or Lakshmi to respond. 

I composed the email. Read it 10 times. Breathed deeply and hit sent. 

Imagine my surprise when not only did Lakshmi reply but replied in such a way that had me jumping with renewed excitement for the Parent Voice,. I simply skimmed through the lines to see if she had said yes, which she had, then slammed the laptop down shut and ran to find my husband and screamed, “OMG!!!!! I just made a coup of a hire….. Lakshmi said yes to me!!!!! Except of course, I wasn’t technically “hiring” Lakshmi. Neither of us is being paid to do this just as nobody else on our team is either. 

Definitely Read

I approached Hema Nataraju, a friend from our school days in Pune, India, next, and asked her if she would like to join Lakshmi and me as our Editor of Books & Creative Works. I didn’t give her a choice really. Sure, I made it sound like one because I am nice like that but she didn’t need any arm twisting. We were friends and I just knew she would have my back and support me. Given her diverse repertoire of published short stories and personal essays, I knew she was the perfect person for this role. 

Unbeknownst to even her, Séverine Perronnet snuggled her way into our team. I had interviewed her and her husband, Rahul, a former colleague of mine, for our How We Met feature, and without being asked, Severine had excitedly written me a long email about ideas she had for my website. 🙂 I loved it! Not only did I love her ideas, I loved her enthusiasm for the Parent Voice,. I knew I had to have her join the team. Mind you, she works a full-time regular job, and still said yes to becoming a part of tPV,. Having Severine join us allowed us to widen the scope and potential of the Magazine. She brings with her an international perspective on issues that we had otherwise, rather myopically, only considered from a US point of view. 

Severine introduced me to Emily Gold. I was blown away by how much Emily had accomplished, her personal values which inspire the life she leads, and her deep commitment to living by those principles. With her various travels and exposure to diverse cultures, it didn’t take me long to know that this is exactly the kind of person I want on our team. To my great joy, Emily said yes too. 

I first met Jessica Colman Cheng in the early 2010s when we were both newlyweds and since then, given that our husbands were friends first, we had a few more opportunities to get together. When it was time to consider the right person for the Director of Social Media, I just had a feeling about Jessica. Her own social media presence, her zest for life, her resilience, and her can-do attitude were just the qualities I needed for someone in this role to bring to our team. I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to join tPV,.

I am extremely grateful to Brenda J. Allen (my first academic celebrity I desperately wanted to meet and upon meeting whom I had major fan girl moments) and Shiv Ganesh (he doesn’t even know this but I would stare at his name engraved on a plaque on a wall of Purdue University’s Department of Communication Conference Room with names of graduate research scholar award recipients and get inspired to one day see my name up there. That wish was fulfilled in 2008) for joining our tPV, family.

I am also thankful to our columnists and writers for their contributions to the current and future issues of tPV, Magazine.

If you are interested in writing for us, send us a pitch at MyPitch@theparentvoice.com. Read here for more information.

At tPV, we are multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural. We are multicultural because we choose to be by exposing our children to the diversity of cultures around us, and not only because of our geographical locations, or our family make-up. We define cultures inclusively to encompass co-cultures of and beyond race, class, gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, national origin, and immigrant status. 

We proudly present you the Parent Voice, (also written interchangeably as the Parent Voice, theParentVoice, or theParentVoice,)  with all our passion and love for creating a space for diverse families and families who believe in diversity. It is a labor of love in every way. We hope you enjoy reading and keep returning regularly. 

We are volunteers who work really hard to bring you this Magazine. We have huge ambitions for the Parent Voice, some of which may not be fulfilled due to a lack of funding. If you like our content, believe in our Mission, and want to help us grow, please consider making a donation. 100% of the donations will be used to develop projects for the Magazine. Read more here.

We welcome your feedback. To write to me directly, email me at suchitra@theparentvoice.com.

Yours truly,

 

 

 

मैं अकेला ही चला था जानिब-ए-मंज़िल मगर
लोग साथ आते गये और कारवां बनता गया
– मजरूह सुलतानपुरी

 

 

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    Suchitra has previously worked as a journalist, a PR officer, and a professor. She is currently a stay-at-home-working-mom to two multiracial kids, the inspiration behind theParentVoice,.

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    […] I recently wrote about having found my calling. If you missed that post, please do catch up on it here. In this post, rather than rewrite what I wrote as an editorial for our magazine’s launch issue (launched TODAY!! August 1, 2017), I will just direct you to that link. […]

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    • About the Parent Voice, Magazine

      the Parent Voice, (tPV,) is an online parenting magazine that celebrates multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural families by showcasing our many different and unique experiences, providing resources, nurturing virtual support, and building a community of like-minded individuals who want to raise responsible and respectful children in a world that may not always be that same way for them.

      tPV, is passionately and lovingly created by mothers who are all volunteers who believe in the mission of the Magazine. We are grateful to our contributors, our consultants, and our readers for supporting our vision and values. Thank you. To read more about us, click here. To donate, click here


       

       

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