Today, we highlight an ETKIE #StrongWoman, a stronghold in our New Mexico community, who inspires us to dream bigger and love more. 

Photo: Emily Joanne Photography

“Both of my sons wore these red cowboy boots when they were little. Being the mother of two wonderful young men who are walking confidently through the world gives me strength.” – Dr. Sanchez


Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez discusses five ways she creates personal strength.

Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez, Shelle, works at intersections of art, culture, education, and community here in Albuquerque. She has over thrity years of experience building and leading impactful programs in education, cultural institutions, businesses, nonprofits, and other community focused initiatives.

The positive benefits of her work reverberate throughout the community. Her personal strengths include the ability to build connections among people and across perspectives, as well as a fervent dedication to working hard and getting things done.

She works to remain calm, centered, and disciplined – and some days it all happens! However, she measures her strength by her levels of resilience, personal integrity, and capacity for compassion and laughter. In her words, “I feel strong when I am optimistic, making connections, working on things I believe in, and laughing often (and loudly).”

How does she do it? Shelle works intentionally on both her physical and emotional strength. “I practice yoga daily, walk as much as possible, take time to reflect, and really try to maintain a balance between my personal life and work life.”

She also explains that some of her strength and wisdom has come with age. She explains, “At fifty-one, I worry so much less about failure. I have failed many times, in many ways. It’s temporary and instructive. Now, I work to stay true to what I believe, and to who I want to be in the world, knowing that it prepares me for criticism, confrontation, and challenge – all inevitable obstacles when I work on big projects, work with many people, and work in a public realm.”

Shelle sees strength and inspiration as completely intertwined. “People, moments, and ideals that inspire me also give me strength,” she says. “I am blessed with the support and strength of my husband, my two sons, my parents (my strongest teachers and best examples of integrity), my husband’s family, a wide and beautiful circle of friends, and an interconnected community.”

She adds, “I also seek and find strength and inspiration in art and artists (of all disciplines), a thoughtful ‘to-do’ list, the New Mexico landscape, moments of beauty, and enduring optimism.”

We appreciate Dr. Sanchez’s place in our community, and for passing along her invaluable insights to encourage us to be the best we can be.

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