We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Irtz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Most of my adult journey consumed time working hard in order to climb the professional ladder. I did this not just for me, but for my children to see that a mom could also be a rock star professional. And while I still find great value strong work ethic, what matters to me most is empathy. For me, empathy entered into my life when my son’s received a diagnosis of autism. I knew nothing about autism spectrum disorder at the time. I devoured every book, article, and website about autism spectrum disorder, seeking not just to understand, but to feel my son’s world. This is where my journey away from textbook knowledge shifted into empathy. I truly value the perspective of others because this opens more doors for understanding, acceptance, and joy in my life. When I take the time to listen, to feel, and to just be with another person, just like I do my son, then I am aligned with what really matters the most.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There really isn’t an easy button in life; just perseverance. I really felt this lesson two years ago after a slip on a sheet of ice jolted my head. Numerous MRI scans, visits with doctors, new trials of medication all to relieve the new, sharp pain in my head told me that life is short – and I needed to harness every minute of it. Part of my recovery wasn’t just physical, but also my whole body because I compiled all of my writings from years of being a mom and plopped them into a book – The Clouds That Chase Us: A Journey into Autism. There were days when I couldn’t physically write; however, I used the speech-to-text feature to capture my thinking. The purpose of the book is to show a more human side of autism – and all the beautiful things that we often don’t see or hear about. I want the world to have a more emphatic understanding of autism because I deeply believe that individuals on the autism spectrum have so much to offer the world. My book has led me to coaching parents of children with autism about creating more empathy in the home. I’m also launching a brand new podcast, released in January 2021, titled Empathy. Joy. Autism where I will capture stories from parents about the golden nuggets, the really amazing journeys. Again, this is connected to my purpose of creating a more empathic understanding of autism. **Note fo
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A mountain town is a quintessential spot for any visit to Colorado. One of my favorite spots is Glenwood Springs because of the therapeutic hot springs, the white water rafting, the hiking trails, and the amazing food. The best restaurant in Glenwood Springs is Juicy Lucys. The artichoke hearts and fresh fish of the day are my go-to’s whenever I visit. And, the best part of this spot is there is a rooftop patio that looks over the Colorado River.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My kiddos because they are my greatest teachers of kindness, joy, and empathy.
Kelly Vann Calaway