Today’s installment of our our Nuu-Muu/Nutcase Helmets Live Your Passion series introduces us to Mary Anderson – a Transportation Planner who helps kids learn to bike safely, working mom of two, and veritable smiling expert. Read on for more about Mary’s super cool job and why she loves it.
In the meantime, check-in with us on Instagram (@nuu_muu) to learn how to win a Nuu-Muu/Nutcase set for yourself and a friend! Increase your chances of winning by tagging more friends or sharing a picture of how you #LiveYourPassion – don’t forget to tag us so we can find it. Closes on Wednesday, July 22. We will choose winners on July 24th.
Without further ado, heeeeeeeere’s Mary! (Happy Birthday, Mary!)
So, what does a Transportation Planner do?
I work for the Whatcom Council of Governments in Bellingham, Washington, focusing primarily on non-motorized projects. I’m passionate about making sure people have transportation choices. My work has been focused on bicycle education and encouragement for eight years, but I’m currently spending more time on transit projects, including a transit passenger survey, and a grant to help senior citizens use transit.
During the spring, I devote half my time to providing bicycle education to local elementary school children. It’s a great balance for me. I’m a total data nerd, so I love collecting and analyzing data but I also love being able to work with kids. I get paid to ride my bike – it’s a dream.
How did you know you wanted to be a transportation planner? And how did you make it happen for yourself?
I got a B.S. in Environmental Science back in 2003, and started riding my bike then for both environmental and monetary reasons. In 2007, I took a job at everybodyBIKE, the bicycle program of Whatcom Smart Trips. At the time, I was focused solely on bicycle education projects. I was bitten by the transportation bug, decided to further my education, and graduated with a Masters in Sustainable Transportation from the University of Washington in 2014.
Super fun! We’d love to hear a bit about how bikes fit into your family life.
My husband and I have a twelve-year-old daughter and a two-and-a-half year old son. We have one car and many bikes. It can be challenging to coordinate family life with one car, but it’s worth it. I love showing my kids that a motor vehicle isn’t the only way to get places. We do still drive, but one of us bikes to work every day and my daughter always bikes or walks to school.
What is the best thing about Living Your Passion?
I count my blessings every day that I have a job I love and feel like I’m making a positive difference in the world. I am excited to go work in the morning. I work on projects that improve people’s lives. It’s rewarding. That said, being a working mom is hard – time away from my kids weighs on my heart.
What’s not so fun?
Sometimes I wish I could just ride my bike to ride my bike, not to change the world.
Do you have any advice for folks who are inspired to live passions of their own who might want to try a similar lifestyle?
If you do find your dream job, be warned that you might still have blah days. It can be easy to burn out when you’re very passionate about something and live and breathe it. Remember to maintain a healthy balance of work, family, friends, exercise, and faith or spirituality. Also, know when to say “no”. I learned this the hard way. Don’t sacrifice your health or your family relationships just because you feel you should do something.
Having a two year old and a twelve year old makes it hard to have any real hobbies, but I do like to make jewelry and to read.
How do Nuu-Muu and Nutcase help you along the way?
Nuu-Muus are by far the best thing to wear while doing bicycle education. They are comfortable and stylish. I can wear my dress as I bike to work, during the day while teaching bicycle education, and on the way home when I stop at the store. I love that Nuu-Muu is made in the USA and that the company is so supportive of empowering women. And let’s be honest – they are SO cute!
And Nutcase helmets are soooooo much fun! I have a bright blue helmet with a giant star and glitter. It is very visible. I’ve had quite a few people tell me they saw me from a few streets away because of my helmet, which is especially helpful during our rainy season in the Pacific Northwest. The fun styles remind me not to take myself too seriously. I also love the magnetic clasp.
I get compliments on both my Nuu-Muu and my Nutcase almost daily. The combo makes for a great commute to work or a mother/daughter bike date.
See? Look at those smiles. Gorgeous!
Mary invites you to check out the great things the Whatcom Council of Governments is doing with their Smart Trips Program.