We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Puccini and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I think my original thought process to start a business went a little like this: I’m not happy in my job right now, I trust the people who want to get this started with me, I have nothing to lose by moving across the country again, and I know that people believed in me to see the vision through.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The path to be where I am today was not easy, nor is it easy today. I am so proud that I co-founded and direct a nonprofit organization that has housed 45 pregnant women and their babies since we opened 3 years ago. The challenges that this endeavor presents are constant. However, I am able to overcome challenges by relying on my support system which includes my husband, my family, and a board of directors, many of whom I consider as close as family. I lean heavily on my faith in God and seek His direction, especially when times are particularly tough. One thing that has surprised me the most is my ability to overcome those challenges. I had always thought I had stressful and challenging jobs before I started my organization. I prided myself in putting myself in challenging situations. Nothing has been as hard as starting a grassroots non-profit organization that is responsible for the lives of people. Through it all, I’ve learned that I do have a bigger capacity to persevere and to endure. They say if it were easy, then everyone would do it. Providing material needs to the poor is one thing. Providing restoration and human development is another, very challenging endeavor, but it is what is the most necessary thing for these women, their children, and their families.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Assuming that we are not in pandemic time, here are the places we would go! (I’m not going to write out an exact itinerary because I don’t normally operate that way!) Take a bike ride around White Rock Lake. Go paddle boarding or kayaking at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall, TX. Take a bike ride to Deep Ellum or Bishop Arts. In Deep Ellum, we would go eat lunch at Pecan Lodge (barbeque) and then have pie at Emporium Pies! In Bishop Arts, we would go to a coffee shop and hang out for a bit (either Wild Detectives, Serve, Espumoso, Oddfellows, Tribal All Day Cafe, or Good Companions) Get drinks at On Rotation and eat dinner at Cane Rosso in Lakewood Go to the Dallas Arboretum Grab a coffee and scone at White Rock Coffee drive thru Go to the Dallas Museum of Art and eat at a food truck at Klyde Warren Park Go two-stepping at Cowboys Red River Go to the Stockyards in Ft. Worth and eat at Joe T. Garcia’s Depending on time of year, go to a Rangers game or a Mavs game Take a tour of In My Shoes Hang out with my friends because they are the most exciting people to me!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to thank my parents who have always continued to love and support me even when I do crazy things like move across the country on a whim and a prayer. I would like to thank my supervisor, Sara Cartmill from Catholic Charities in Washington, DC who told me, well before the idea of starting In My Shoes “I don’t think it’s a matter of if you start your own non-profit, but when.” To Claire Larkin for speaking the fateful words “Let’s move to Dallas and start a home for pregnant women there.” Jeff Schiefelbein and Peter Yobo were both instrumental in giving me the courage to start this organization completely from the ground up. At last, but not least, Ashleigh Brown, Emily Klespis, Hayley Douvros and all the those on our founding board of directors.

Website: www.liveinmyshoes.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/maria.eichhold
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuJnrW0Bo7oxBsdAW6pzf_g?view_as=subscriber

Image Credits
Drew Merlino

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