If you’ve been wondering about the people behind the AWE concept, well -- here’s our big reveal.
Cathie Laurent Schau
Hi there. I’m a writer and marketing/communications consultant hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan and I’m also the founder of American Wage Earners. (You can check me out on LinkedIn for all the juicy details re: education, work history, articles, etc.) The idea for AWE grew out of my longtime interest in worker welfare and labor, inspired by many years serving as an employee-communications specialist for a large manufacturer.
A few years ago I emailed former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich about building "an AARP for workers," and he responded positively. Since I view him as sort of a rock star of worker advocacy, I was beyond thrilled that he took the time to write back and called it a great idea. As I’ve reached out to other folks since then, I've had encouraging feedback from other influencers and advocates. In April 2016, thanks to Tim Ready and the Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, I was able to pitch the concept to Michael Moore in person, and he, too, really liked the idea.
Originally I thought I’d just bug influential people about AWE until somebody with money, connections and experience decided to build it. Realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere with that approach, I figured I’d better get it started myself, as much as possible: build a website, start a Facebook page, form a nonprofit, etc. It’s a labor (pun intended) of love, and an enormous challenge to try to build something this big on my own, on the side, with zero financing. AWE desperately needs major partners, funders and visionaries to become a reality. And that’s why I was so excited to meet Jared Volz, who has agreed to be our very first board member. With his impressive background in politics, organizing, nonprofits and consulting, he’s a terrific adviser and supporter. Plus, he loves to talk politics as much as I do, and we have excellent conversations. But I’ll let him introduce himself … Bio coming soon.