The Women Behind the Boobs – Meet Chris Schwab
By: Jamie McAllister
Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!
We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.
Chris Schwab has the distinction of being the very first full-time staff member Beyond Boobs! brought on. She has held the title of Managing Director for six years and she cherishes every moment she spends working for the group.
Chris worked as a teacher and a school administrator in Pennsylvania until she and her husband David took a chance and moved to Cape Charles, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. She took a position as assistant principal at Accomack Public Schools, pivoted again to a position with a commercial construction company, and then discovered Beyond Boobs! in 2008.
“I was looking for a philanthropic connection for the commercial construction company I worked for and I found Beyond Boobs!,” Chris explained. “When I attended the Pink Carpet Gala for the first time I was just blown away by what the group was doing.” She called BB! Co-Founder Mary Beth Gibson bright and early Monday morning to ask how she could get more involved.
Chris volunteered with BB! for about two years before she signed on as a staff member in July of 2010. “It was like coming home,” she said. “It was another big transition, but every night when I put my head on the pillow, I know that I have reached someone.”
Over the years Chris has watched the BB! family blossom and grow. As managing director she plays a part in every aspect of the organization. “I work closely with Mary Beth and help manage all of the pieces,” she said. “I am behind the scenes and I love it.”
Sometimes, though, Chris puts her hair in a ponytail, dons a baseball cap, and is just one of the girls. “The annual Boober! retreat is my favorite weekend out of the whole year,” she said. “It gives me the chance to really connect with the women we serve.”
Through all of the growth and change Chris has witnessed during her years with BB!, one thing has stayed the same. “The BB! culture never goes away,” she said. “We still offer that personal touch. The reasons we wake up every morning and what we think about before going to sleep every night are the Boobers!”
There is no doubt Chris has helped shape the direction BB! has taken, but BB! has also left its imprint on her life. “BB! has gotten me out of my box,” Chris said. “And after hearing the stories of our Boobers!, I am a different person and I look at things differently.”
Chris and her husband David have been married for 32 years. The couple has two adult daughters, Victoria and Samantha. This past fall they welcomed two sons-in-law into their family, and in a few short weeks they will meet their very first granddaughter. Their family also includes Rocky, a 14-year-old Shih Tzu-poodle mix.