ydia Slaby is an advocate, speaker, and writer focused on empowering people, communities, and organizations faced with daunting change. Her work combines her skills and experience to support humanity’s connectedness, creativity, and advancement. Currently, she consults for foundations, nonprofits, and individuals who need her experience to help them transition from one stage to the next. Growing pains, pivot points, and even wind-downs require her empathetic style of detailed problem-solving to hurdle their legal, organizational, and human needs. Additionally, she is an active board member to multiple nonprofits: Critical Mass: the Young Adult Cancer Alliance, a LIVESTRONG spin-off focused on young adult cancer advocacy; Strides for Peace, an organization dedicated to reducing gun violence in Chicago; and I AM THAT GIRL, where she flexes her mentorship muscles to help young women around the world take ownership of their own beliefs around their bodies, image, and self-worth.

A survivor of multiple health challenges, she is dedicated to helping people recognize, accept, and thrive inside transformation and transition. Her clear-eyed acceptance of the reality of her own situation, combined with a sarcastic yet gracious sense of humor, grants others the ability to access the upheaval that she felt and feels every day, so that they can approach their own with calm grace.

Previously, Lydia was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, focused on corporate bankruptcy and restructuring. She served Governor Patrick in Massachusetts as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration and Finance where she oversaw the state response to and management of failing cities and towns. Lydia has studied design at Harvard, covered most of the world in her travels — including living in New Zealand for a year — holds a BA with honors in Urban Studies and Business Economics from Brown University, and is a graduate of Northwestern University's JD-MBA program. Her blog, Hair Optional, can be found at www.lydiaslaby.com. She currently lives in Chicago with her extraordinary husband, Michael, and two pampered rescue cats, Ellie and Jake.

(That is the official one. Here's a little something extra...)

A friend of mine was helping me write my bio above (never try to write your own, it’s impossible), and she pointed out that I tend to drift towards those causes that give a voice to the voiceless, or those that speak out on behalf of those who aren’t heard. “Which is an interesting contrast with the fact that you are hugely uncomfortable but wrestling in a very productive way with finding and using your own voice — which has probably changed significantly from what it was a few years ago.”

So true. Thank you for supporting me as I discover and hone my voice (and grammar and spelling).