Meet Megan Ryan.
Megan Ryan was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She loves her community; her favorite zip code is the ’08! She graduated in 2005 from North Side High School, graduated from Ball State University in 2009 with her bachelor’s degree, and completed her graduate program as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor in 2013 from Walden University.
Megan seeks opportunities, including barriers, to advocate for individuals who experience mental health and/or substance use challenges. She has a drive to educate other professionals and community members on how they can be part of the solution to support those who live with mental health and/ or substance use factors. Megan believes we are all a piece of the pie when it comes to supporting others and we can all take responsibility for the outcomes of our community. She believes in connection with others and keeping those connections alive to help one another. She has a passion for suicide prevention and education personally and professionally. Megan is a QPR Suicide Prevention Certified Gatekeeper Instructor (Question Persuade Refer) since February 2017. She has trained over 1,000 individuals in this emergency response skill. Since 2018, she has served as chair of the Stigma Free Northeast Indiana committee, facilitating three conferences reaching over 300 individuals focused on breaking the stigma related to mental health and substance use.
Megan is the Clinical Program Director for Family Preservation Services and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Benchmark Human Services. Megan and her team serve families in a community-based program through counseling and case management services to keep children in their home but not compromise their safety. Megan’s team meets families where they are and walks alongside them as they meet challenges related to substance use, mental health, poverty, abuse, neglect, etc. Megan’s team advocates, educates, and provides a light of hope to the families they serve.
Megan’s biggest accomplishment and ongoing personal development (aka challenge) is being a mom to her daughter, Westerly, and her son, Quinn. She stated that her children are everything she dreamed would be part of her role as a mother. Megan is on the Board of Directors at Hamilton Park Little League and enjoys supporting local families with her love of baseball. Megan enjoys working out and lots of coffee. Megan is thankful for the support of her immediate family; their influence and support has allowed Megan to continue with her drive to help others.
YWCA Asks: What does an empowering woman mean to you?
Megan: An empowering woman takes a genuine stance in one or multiple ways to empower others and herself. She is someone who naturally can see the strengths of others and supports the process of utilizing those strengths to their fullest. She is someone who can have hard conversations that can be uncomfortable, but puts compassion and understanding at the forefront. An empowering woman at times carries the challenges of others to allow them a chance to accomplish more!
YWCA Asks: In what ways do you believe you empower other women?
Megan: I try to be consistent personally and professionally with my demeanor and actions. I am always striving to challenge myself to do better once I know better—I have a lot of development I hope to continue with to achieve my best self!
I feel that I empower women through my ability to allow others to be themselves without judgment. I believe you are the expert of your own life and sometimes you just need a cheerleader, a motivator, an accountability partner, a sounding board, or a counselor to support you as you discover your true potential. My personal and professional life allows me to do all of that! I try to lead by example but also share my own challenges and solutions to normalize what women experience professionally and personally.
YWCA Asks: Can you share a tidbit of information or an experience that may be helpful to other women?
Megan: Say yes even when it is challenging, and if you feel safe, then say yes and you will succeed! Set boundaries to keep yourself well personally and professionally. Surround yourself with those you strive to be, are safe with, and will be your cheerleader. Give back when you can—that could be an internship opportunity for a high school student, volunteering your time, or just listening to someone who does not feel heard. We are all one step away from our life changing forever and sometimes we have zero control over it; be humble.