Hoya Highlight: Lynn Margherio (C’88)

Lynn Margherio

Founder & CEO, Cradles to Crayons
2018 GEA Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Winner, Best of Social Impact

Career Reflections

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

My Dad would say, “I’m lucky to be able to do what I love. I want the same for you. Love what you do: Too much of your time will be spent at work for you not to enjoy what you’re doing.”

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?

During the first year after launching Cradles to Crayons, I walked into our Giving Factory warehouse and saw total strangers volunteering. Up until that point, I’d harassed every friend and acquaintance to help out. The moment I saw people there whom I didn’t know, I knew my idea was going to work.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?

I wish I had found a female mentor to be a confidante, to help me navigate the work world, and to understand work/life balance from the female perspective. If I had a second wish, it would have been incredible to find a job right out of college that paid me to travel to remote parts of the world. I love adventure travel!

What is the hardest thing you have ever done professionally?

I will never forget the first time my work became deeply personal. During my time working on healthcare reform in the Clinton White House, I answered a call from a mother of a child with cancer.  She was calling to thank us, because while her family had been crippled by debt due to medical bills, she knew that the bill’s success would mean other families wouldn’t have to suffer as hers did. We weren’t allowed to tell the public yet, but the writing was on the wall—the bill wasn’t going to pass. I thanked her for her call, then hung up the phone and just cried. 

Your Time on the Hilltop

Favorite professor or class at Georgetown?

My favorite professor was History Professor Marcus Rediker, who made colonial America come to life. Plus, it was a small enough class that every student was engaged.

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

That’s a tough one—there are so many! Eating meals and studying with my housemates before big exams around our dining room table on O Street is a big one. And, exploring Paris during my Junior year abroad was incredible.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

My friendships from Georgetown that have endured these 30+ years. I am so grateful for their love and support.

A Day in the Life

What is on your desk right now?

I carry my desk with me in my backpack—my laptop, a Moleskine notebook, my phone, and some lipstick.

What is one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?

Hugs from my kids when I get home from work. I just melt.

Who or what is a source of inspiration in your life?

Seeing kids and youth find the power in their voices to create positive social change. Student survivors from Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School mobilized hundreds of thousands of people at rallies to help pass 50 new state gun control laws. We can learn so much from these young people—they are our present and future leaders—and that inspires me.

Who is your favorite author?

I’m surrounded by children’s books at work (and at home). Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss for young kids. And Jacqueline Woodson for independent readers.

Words to live by?

I remind myself to “Be present.” Our world moves so fast, and there are so many distractions, that if we aren’t careful and if we don’t practice being present, it is so easy to get swept up in it all. Having kids has helped ground me in the moment. They grow up fast, and I don’t want to miss a second!