SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets. This profile features Sandra Yeaman, a freelance copy editor, proofreader, and world traveler.
How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?
After careers in education, engineering, and diplomacy and living in 12 countries, I’m still exploring where I can contribute. While writing my personal stories, I discovered a talent for helping others improve theirs through editing.
What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally?
My proudest professional accomplishments involve motivating those around me to do more than they think they can. I’ll give an example from my three-year assignment as administrative officer at the US embassy in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
One of my employees, Mackawee, originally from Yemen, explained to me that he and his wife wanted to emigrate to the United States. He worried that if something happened to him, his wife, Huda, would have no option but to return to Yemen where she would have no close family and no financial means of support.
In order to boost Huda’s confidence, I organized a lunchtime meeting and invited her along with all the women associated with the embassy—local employees, American staff, and the wives of American staff—to discuss the challenges of reentering the workplace after having taken a break. That meeting turned into a weekly series of sessions benefiting several women.
Mackawee and Huda emigrated to Michigan in 1999 where Huda still lives.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of SD/PEN?
I joined SD/PEN because I knew I needed to learn more about what is required of an editor. My first two editing jobs were thrust upon me by writers who knew of my knowledge of English through read-and-critique groups.
These two writers chose me to edit their manuscripts because they understood what I knew that they didn’t. But I knew there was also plenty I didn’t know. In SD/PEN, I found a supportive community, a safe place to ask for help and advice, and a respectful place to share ideas.
What is the number one item on your bucket list and why?
One of my father’s uncles, my great-uncle Henry, spent nearly 20 years working in China with the Chinese Maritime Customs Service before World War II. He spent most of those 20 years in Shanghai. I want to go to Shanghai, though I know it will not be the Shanghai Henry knew.
Describe a volunteer activity or cause you are involved in.
Since 2014, I have been the webmaster and social media manager for the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild.