How Heartbreak Defined A Mother’s Career

How Heartbreak

Defined A Mother’s Career

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When Carrie Meghie lost her son, Jackson at the young age of 10 months, she didn’t want to sulk or feel sorry for herself, she wanted to do something. She created the Jackson Chance Foundation, an organization that helps ease the burden for parents with children in the NICU by providing transportation assistance via free parking or public transportation vouchers. Jackson spent the majority of his short life in the NICU and Meghie, along with her husband Terry realized that some families were unable to be there daily, like they were, because parking was cost prohibitive. At some hospitals parking alone can cost over $1,100 a month. Pretty immediately after Jackson passed the idea sparked for the 501 (c) (3).

“I felt so blessed to be his mom and didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. Instead I thought, why was he so happy?” she says. “Because we were there for him everyday. It [The foundation] just kind of happened. Let’s honor him, give other babies joy to be with their families.”

The growth and response of the Jackson Chance Foundation has been amazing. Since its inception in 2012 the organization has raised over two-million dollars and provides completely free parking at both Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago.

Meghie and the foundation are focusing on longer term goals now to establish longevity and expand to other hospitals nationwide as they see a need. In 2016 she was nominated as both a CNN Hero and Chicagoan of the Year.

“It was so overwhelming to be selected and so bittersweet. It’s such a testament to supporters and donors. The awareness and credibility that it’s provided has been fantastic,” she says.

Entrepreneurship and strong leadership have always been a part of who Meghie is. In addition to running the foundation, and being a mom, she is also co-president of Becker Ventures, a private investment equity company. Meghie oversees the hospitality division which includes Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel and an authentic Jamaican restaurant with two locations – Mr. Brown’s Lounge.

For Meghie, being in charge of so much comes down to prioritizing.

“I have to decide what I can do and when I can do it. Really prioritize and decide which is on the top of the list on each day,” she says.

She also keeps many of her ventures close to home so she can better balance. She works with her sister at Becker Ventures and her husband on the Jackson Chance Foundation. Even her children have been able to contribute to the foundation, raising money on their birthdays instead of getting presents. “They’ve been able to know about their brother in ways that I would have never thought.”

When it comes down to it, Meghie believes that the reason the foundation has done well is because the idea is really attainable to people. “The organization was created by two parents who found a need that other parents needed themselves. People know exactly where their money is going to,” she says. Even the smaller amounts can have an impact—a $20 donation can give a day with the baby.”

As for her personal success, she attributes it to following her gut. “My biggest regrets I have are when I didn’t follow what I was thinking. Listen to what others have to say, but definitely follow your gut.”

The Quick Ten

1. What app do you most use?

Currently (& unfortunately), I am obsessed with Farfetch.  They have an amazing & unique selection and it’s far too easy.

2. Briefly describe your morning routine.

Each morning I spend with my 3-year-old having breakfast and getting ready for school. We wake up, snuggle, and cook something together. Depending on the day, Dad and big brother will join us. Then it’s either off to drop him at preschool or off to the office.

3. Name a business mogul you admire.

My father and mentor.

4. What product do you wish you had invented?

This is a tough one and I got nothing!
5. What is your spirit animal?

The owl.
6. What is your life motto?

Don’t waste your worry.  

7. Name your favorite work day snack.

Chocolate of any kind!  

8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful?

Forward thinking.

9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to? 

Zimbabwe.

10. Desert Island. Three things, go.

My family (does that count as one?), diet coke (ugh, my vice), and a little reggae music.

Samantha Lande

Samantha Lande is a freelance writer based out of Chicago, IL. She has contributed food and lifestyle articles to The Food Network, Time Out, GOOD magazine and more.

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