With a deep interest in sharing the stories of others, Andy Steiner-Manning has built a career as an award-winning free-lance writer, author and editor. She started at the Minnesota Women’s Press, where she worked as a writer and assistant editor before serving as editor-in-chief. She has also worked as senior editor at Utne Reader magazine and managing editor of a university alumni magazine. Andy’s articles have appeared in a number of local and national publications, including Glamour, Ms., Mademoiselle, the Minneapolis StarTribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Monthly and MinnPost, where she writes a weekly column about mental health and addiction. She is also the author of four nonfiction books and has contributed to two best-selling anthologies.
As a young girl or teenager, what profession interested you and why?
When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a jockey, or work in a shoe store! But I was a big reader, and later I began to think about being a journalist or writer when I grew up. When I was in high school and college, I was editor of my school newspapers. I enjoyed writing— and learning about other people and their lives — so much that it seemed like a perfect job for me.
If you had applied for an ABF grant in your youth, what type of activity or experience would you have pursued?
I think I would have been interested in taking a writing class or going to a writing retreat. I also might have liked to learn more about acting and singing. Or horseback riding! I had a lot of interests.
Describe an experience that shaped or changed your dreams for the future.
Having the opportunity to be the editor on my college newspaper helped to solidify my ambition of being a professional journalist and writer. Then, when I graduated from college I met older journalists who were kind to me and provided encouragement and mentorship. One particularly important mentor was Mollie Hoben, founder and editor of the Minnesota Women’s Press.
What is one of the most rewarding aspects of your profession?
I feel honored to have a job that gives me an opportunity to speak with people and tell their stories to others. I try to write articles and books that make a difference in the world.
What is a personal (outside of work) accomplishment that you are proud of?
I’m proud of my two strong daughters and the great things they are doing in the world.
What should girls know about your story of success?
Sometimes good things come out of even the toughest situations. I once lost a job but found an amazing career opportunity.
Why do you support the Ann Bancroft Foundation? In your experience, what value does ABF offer girls across Minnesota?
Through my family’s foundation, I support the Ann Bancroft Foundation because I believe that all girls deserve the mentorship and support that will help them gain the confidence required to take risks and achieve their dreams. Though ABF grants, many girls are able to take on new adventures and grow in ways that they might not have been able to do on their own.
ABF programming incorporates opportunities for girls to build their confidence and expertise. What has been helpful or impactful to you in building confidence and self-efficacy?
I was lucky to have loving parents and older siblings who supported me and my interests as I was growing up. I am fortunate to have found work colleagues who have mentored me and encouraged me. And my husband and daughters have always supported my professional aspirations, even when they seemed risky.
Because of this, I have been able to make a living as a writer and reporter.
What advice, personal and/or professional, would you give to past, present, and future ABF grantees?
Take risks to achieve your professional dreams. Seek out potential mentors in school, in the community or at work. Try applying for an internship. This is a great way to learn more about a specific kind of job from the inside.
Lastly, why should others join the ABF PowHER Partners this October and support this campaign?
When you join this campaign, you will have an opportunity to support a new generation of leaders, to give girls an opportunity to flex their muscles to try new things. Your financial support of ABF is a vote for the next generation of leaders.