Updated August 2, 2018 . AmFam Team
With two demanding jobs, countless volunteer hours and being a mom of three, Taneya Pearson knows that the more she gives, the more she heals. And through her volunteering work, she is inspiring youth and young adults to speak up against bullying and stay strong while pursuing their dreams.
On a typical evening, you’ll find Taneya on the phone helping American Family Insurance customers with auto and property insurance claims, assisting them start to finish and providing peace of mind through stressful times.
And on a typical day, you’ll find her helping kids and young adults who want to live happy lives but are struggling with depression, low self-esteem and thoughts of suicide.
Taneya’s path has not been easy, and she gives from a deep and very personal place. When she was 15, her brother’s bully’s friend hit her with his car – while the bully fought with her brother in the street; Taneya’s brother was also hit by the car.
“I was hospitalized for several weeks and had to relearn how to walk, talk, eat and deal with my new facial abnormalities,” she recalled. But instead of focusing on the trauma and questioning “why,” Taneya chose to embrace the long healing process with reflection on the good things in her life. And rather than drown in grief and sadness, she adopted her own personal “life vest” and began pursuing her own dreams.
“I put my best foot forward and started to excel in school,” she said. “After I graduated high school, I went to college where I received an associate’s degree in business management and learned the ins and outs of operating a business. This new journey seemed fun, and I wanted to learn more.” Taneya went on to earn bachelor’s degree in business administration and then an MBA.
Then in 2017, 21 years after the tragic accident, Taneya was able to forgive her brother’s bully and his friend. “I forgave them and finally started living my dream,” she said.
“My passion is guiding and helping our youth and young adults to see their greatness.” Taneya decided to help children and young adults to learn their self-worth and how to overcome their low-spirited moments.
Today, in addition to working for American Family, Taneya is the CEO of Taneya Pearson, LLC (Opens in a new tab), serving as a mental health and suicide-prevention speaker, writer, author, leadership expert, entrepreneur and mentor. She wrote Don’t Count Me Out (Opens in a new tab), a children’s book about bullying and runs “She Listens by Taneya Pearson,” a discussion group that empowers and inspires girls and young women. “We encourage our girls to dig deeper and embrace their passions,” she said.
Taneya is also a big sister at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and volunteers at local homeless shelters, children’s centers, schools, social clubs, crisis centers and more.
“I encourage everyone to be kind to one another and never give up on your dreams,” Taneya said. “You are never too old to start something new. And you have value to offer the world––because you matter.”