What’s Brewing at Bigger Brains? A Café Americano with Cream!

In our monthly blog segment “What’s Brewing at Bigger Brains,” I’m happy to introduce members of the Bigger Brains team of experts (and the coffees that they bring to the Teams meeting table). Today let’s meet Maren Reaves

What’s your role at Bigger Brains? 

Content Coordinator – I write curricula and manage some curriculum projects.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? 

The people I work with; and I’m not just saying that because I’m married to the boss and am the mom of one of our directors/editors. 😊 We have such a talented group of folks who are so easy to work with. I’ve worked in large corporations, small businesses, large public and small private schools; this is hands-down the best job I’ve ever had.

What does it mean to you to be a leader? 

I try to be the type of person that people want to be around, want to ask for guidance, and want to follow. This means that I need to spend much more time listening than talking.

How do you prioritize your many responsibilities? 

I keep a master list of all the activities and work I need to do and check them off as I go. I keep this list in a notebook that I carry with me most of the time. It has a Table of Contents and I date the pages. If I re-write the list, I always start with a few items that I have recently completed. Then I get to cross them off right away and I feel like a success already!  If I don’t write it down, I forget about it. For the most part, I get most of my highest priorities completed. However, I think I have a long way to go to improve my system. It really helps to actually look at the list after I write it! If I need to write something down and I don’t have my notebook, I just tape it into my notebook when I get to it again.

What are your biggest professional challenges? 

Deciding what I want to do when I grow up!

What is something that you would love to learn someday?

I’d like to learn how to speak Chinese. (I’m working on that very slowly!) And I’d love to learn how to play the hammered dulcimer.

What do you admire most about your family?

I admire their talents and their persistence in the face of tribulation. They are some of the grittiest people I know!

What do you like to do outside of work? 

I like to play violin (and fiddle), and learn about how to become a better person.

What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional? 

I think I’m a pretty good mom, and when I’m not, I try to learn how to be a better mom. I have a couple of Master’s degrees in my attempt to better myself and try to make the world a better place, but I think it’s my daughter who will really succeed in making the world a better place.

Where’s somewhere you’d love to travel? 

So many places! I’ve never been to Ireland, so I’d love to go there. I’d love to go back to Australia and to China.

What inspires you? 

People’s stories inspire me. Just getting through the day can be hard as a human. When people are willing to share their stories and how they have survived hardships, I find that the most uplifting.

What is your motto or personal mantra? 

My past is not wasted; my future is now, and the goal is peace.

What’s your most memorable facepalm moment? 

When we drove away from our wedding without our honeymoon suitcases…

What’s your favorite line from a film? 

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that. – Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything

 If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Rachel Maddow

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