Each month, the Cancer Policy Institute profiles advocates who have been engaged in advocacy in their home state, their community, with elected officials, and more. Read on to learn more about our featured advocate for February, 2019, and her passion for women's issues. If you are interested in learning more about policy, advocacy, and ways to get involved, sign up to be a part of the Grassroots Network!
Caren Lock, Plano, Texas
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I wear multiple hats like most women. I am a proud mother of 3 young men, one serving our country in the Middle East, one in college, and one hopefully will go to college. My day job is lobbying on behalf of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of American (TIAA) at the state level. My other day job is advocating on behalf of women and girls as Board Chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation.
How did you get connected with the Cancer Support Community?
I got my yoga teacher certification 10 years ago not so I can supplement my income but to give back to those who could most benefit from the practice of yoga. Gilda’s Club House now Cancer Support Community was one of the nonprofits whose mission really resonated with me. I signed up as a volunteer and the rest is history. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to share my passion about yoga with my students. I learn grace, acceptance, and joy from my students every week when I teach. A couple of my students convinced me to start running and now I have worked up to running 5ks. They are the teachers in some respect to me.
Did you have experience with advocacy in any capacity before joining CSC? (e.g. legislator meetings, hosting educational events, writing letters or calling, writing pieces for media outlets, posting on your personal Facebook, sharing information with your community, etc.)
I am a lawyer by training and have leveraged those same advocacy skills to lobbying. Political engagement is my every day job. More importantly though is my work advocating on behalf of women and girls. My duties and responsibilities as Board Chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation are to lead by example. We must continue to strive and work towards gender equality and equity. This can only be done working with women and men. Women’s issues are human issues. I use my social media platforms to engage friends and colleagues to help with CSC and actually recruited other volunteers for CSC to teach yoga and jewelry making.
In what ways have you been involved with advocacy with CSC?
I fundraise by running at the 5k as well as attend lectures put on by CSC. Obviously, I write letters and call my Congressional delegation when asked by CSC. It is critically important that our voices are heard when issues of importance come up for votes.
Is there one issue you are particularly passionate about?
Women and girls are my passion project. I work in multiple capacities in the city, state, and national level to bring awareness and elevate this conversation. I am a cofounder of The Orchid Giving Circle, a fund that raises money to grant back directly into the Dallas Fort Worth Asian community. We have raised and granted out close to half a million dollars since our inception in 2015. I am aware that I am blessed in so many ways and that it is my moral obligation to give back.