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Born the youngest of fifteen siblings in Lakewood, Ohio, Shelly McNamara began writing as a child to explore her inner self and make sense of the world around her. From the grief of losing close friends and family, the pain of estrangement and rejection, and a deep desire to make the world a more respectful, loving, and inclusive place, Shelly wrote poetry and stories of hope and strength. Writing helped her embrace her own identity while she waited for the world to recognize her lifelong commitment to the woman she loves and the family they built together. As the Chief Equality & Inclusion Officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the world's most admired companies, Shelly has used her powerful insights and compassion to elevate the consciousness and connection of people from around the globe. Now, for the first time, Shelly is bringing her poetry and powerful stories to us all.
No Blanks, No Pauses is an exploration of one woman's journey to live a full and authentic life that holds lessons for each of us. Shelly has written her way through adversity and heartbreak to discover that dreams are worth pursuing, injustice is worth challenging, and peace and fairness are what matter most. This book's mixture of memoir, poetry, and insightful questions draws us in and gives us confidence that we, too, can heal, connect, and love more expansively than we ever thought possible.
“Weaving her life story with beautiful poetry, Shelly McNamara encourages all of us to think deeply about the direction of our lives and the relationships that count. Shelly’s introspection, gratitude, and most of all, courage, should remind everyone what really matters, today and every day.”
—Katie Couric, Founder, Katie Couric Media
“In No Blanks, No Pauses, Shelly McNamara exemplifies the personal growth and resilience that comes with living a mindful life, an authentic life. Acceptance and understanding are essential to growing tolerant, compassionate, empathic, and ultimately loving organizations and communities. Through her personal stories, Shelly shares a compelling, heart-led path forward for each of us to follow to become our best selves. It is essential reading for all leaders who strive to create thriving, productive teams.”
—Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO, Thrive Global
“I have never read anything that comes close to interweaving such frank and compelling stories of the challenge of growing up . . . of simply growing . . . with deeply insightful and inspiring poems that imbue these stories and their lessons with even greater meaning. What’s more, these poems, exceptionally concise and evocative, will live on in memory.”
—John Pepper, former CEO and Chairman, Procter & Gamble
“By sharing the significant events that have shaped her life in No Blanks, No Pauses, Shelly McNamara shows us how to accept, understand, and be transformed by love and loss. McNamara’s belief in the goodness of human beings and her desire to make all that she encounters better than it was is inspiring. Her story will serve as a model to any of us—no matter what our age, gender, sexuality, social class, race/ethnicity, or nationality—who must look hardship in the eye and view it as an occasion for personal growth and a truer self.”
—Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji, Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics,
“The idea of acceptance, love, and understanding of a family to members of the LGBTQ+ community is often either a dream we never achieve or something we have to create ourselves through a family of choice. In her book, Shelly shares her loving yet painfully honest story of how having a loving (and large!) family can pave the way to creating one’s own beautiful family—and importantly, how such connection and empathy can translate into leadership in the business community and the world.”
—Todd Sears, CEO and Founder, Out Leadership