A graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Business Education as well as a certified teacher, Shelly Whittaker moved into the Information Technology field working in a help desk environment before eventually combining the two fields to work as a trainer of software applications. She joined ASTD Nebraska for the resources, networking opportunities and continuing education the group offers and is now the ASTD Nebraska Vice President of Communications. ASTD Nebraska is a local chapter of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance (WLP) professionals. Their mission is to “enhance members’ abilities to train, develop and support clients and organizations and our local global communities.” ASTD Nebraska serves the Omaha metro area.
Tell us a little about your family. – I have an active, blended family of seven. I have two children from my first marriage: Jamie (15) and Drew (12). I also have gained two stepsons: Keith (16) and Anthony (14) when I remarried. Then I gave birth to my son Sam four years ago. My husband Jerrod runs MidContinent Repair and I have been married for five years.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – While it was not a pleasant time, getting divorced was one of the biggest turning points in my life. I proved to myself that I could handle things on my own as a woman, working mother, and student.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I love to watch my kids play sports as well as watch my Huskers.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I was a gymnastics groupie. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to go to watch the Nebraska men’s gymnastics team.
What are you the most proud of? – I usually say that I’m most proud of just surviving from day to day. With 5 kids and all their activities plus a husband who works long hours at his own business and working full time myself, I have my hands full.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – Never write or say anything that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
What is the one goal you would most like to accomplish? – I’m not sure if I have the talent, but I love to write and would like to write a novel someday.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? – I always wanted to be like Samantha on Bewitched.
What are your plans for retirement? – If I could find a way to live on a cruise ship, I would. I’d love to just sit on the lido deck, watch people, read, and drink foo-foo drinks.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – I’m a high scorer in Tetris.
Which talent would you most like to have? – I would love to have some kind of musical talent. I can’t sing a note, but love music. So instead, I’d like to be able to play the piano.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – I recently finished Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.
What is your favorite movie? – Hope Floats
What is your favorite local restaurant? – I love Stokes! Everything that I’ve ever had there has been amazing!!
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – I would have loved to have had dinner with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.