Member Spotlight: Jackie Skelton

Member Spotlight: Jackie Skelton

I have had an exciting journey so far through life—starting out in New Zealand where I was educated and commenced work, then moving to Australia and getting married and having my working life there.  We moved to Papua New Guinea for two years, which was a very different experience, one that everyone should take.  You come to realize that not all countries live like we do.  I have one son 43 who still lives in Australia and is a charge nurse for a private facility for the criminally insane with alcohol and drug abuse as well.

Moving to the USA was like a dream for me.  Most people of Australia and New Zealand dream of coming to the land of opportunity.  I am a proud citizen and have now been in the USA for ten years.  Life has been good, although circumstances found we had to go back to work.  This is where Ross and I chose travel.  It is a tough but very rewarding industry.  Dealing with different people from varying backgrounds on a daily basis can be challenging but very interesting.

Life has not always been easy and at times down right rough.  I suffered a nervous breakdown at 7 due to an alcoholic father, beating and abuse.  He was told to leave and that left us with mum.  She worked three jobs to keep her, my brother and sister and me afloat without having to be put in a home.  I basically took over running the house from age 7 taking care of the house and my brother and sister.

By age 9 we found ourselves with a stepfather.  Life, I can assure you, did not change and in fact only became worse.  Being educated at the local Catholic school I decided I was going to be a nun.  So, I was shipped off to my aunty miles away to go to a public school.  Life for me never changed.

Suffice it to say over my life time, I have endured and survived.  I broke my neck as well.  I have achieved many things though:
— Figure Skating Champion for NZ
— Drove stock cars in the early 60s
— High school cross country champion
— Ran hotels in NZ and Aussie

I still have friends from 66 years ago—we all catch up monthly

I became a member of BPW/Calusa some years back and thought that this organization had a great purpose.  Having fewer members than years ago has been a challenge.  Some of us have started to have evening meetings, which seems to be of better benefit.  Our local organization (LO) raises monies for scholarships for women to return to school, so they too can become members of our working community.

I find great friendship in this group along with business opportunities.  I am in my second year as President and enjoy this position very much—it’s a great chance to learn more about the organization from a state level.  Having monthly meetings with the other LO presidents gives you an opportunity to learn what they are doing and gain knowledge of how we can possibly become a better LO.

I look forward to continuing my work with BPW and helping other women fulfill their potential.

Jackie Skelton, President BPW/Calusa