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I met Kayley 2 years before the start of The 50 Over 50 Project. I will never forget how we met, because it left such a deep impression on me.
Kayley and I were involved in a project for The Medic One Foundation that included me photographing a large group of women. Following the shoot at a Woodinville Fire Station everyone was leaving to meet up at a nearby home for some fellowship. When I went out to my car to put my camera and lenses in the back, I noticed my keys attached to my gear bag as the hatchback closed. I guess if you have to stupidly lock your keys in the car, short of doing it in front of a locksmith, a firestation is the best place to do it.
Kayley noticed right away that something had happened. She was so empathetic and stayed with me the whole time while the firemen were breaking into my car. Although she didn’t know me at the time, her first instinct was to stay with me, keep me company and also to get to know me while this crisis resolved.
After that, every interaction I have had with her has cemented the knowledge that this is her heart and her genuine personality.
Photographer: Natalie Wallace
Makeup Artist: Brooke Galasso Munoz
Get to Know Kayley
Name: Kayley Runstad Swan
Career Highlights – What Fields You Have Worked In:
I am a teacher and learning specialist for students with dyslexia and related learning differences. I’m a former first grade teacher and current tutor at Hamlin Robinson School in Seattle. It is incredibly rewarding helping children gain confidence and vital skills for their success in school and life.
Community Volunteer: A lot of my energy and time over the last 20 years has gone into being a community volunteer. I get great joy from helping organizations and people. Currently I serve at our children high school, Seattle Academy, as a trustee and development committee chair. In addition, I am on the Deans Advisory Council for the College of Education at Seattle University. Most of my volunteer experience has gone toward schools because I am an educator and our kids have been in school. As a result of our kids going off to college, I have started to change my focus to help the greater community.
I’m a trustee and campaign committee member for Friends of Waterfront Seattle. it is incredibly exciting to be part of their efforts to build and maintain a beautiful waterfront for Seattle. I was honored to be one of the celebrity dancers for Plymouth Housing’s Seattle Dances fundraiser in 2021, making it possible for homeless people in Seattle to have stable housing.
Currently working or retired?
Working … see above.
I have a daughter Savannah 20, a son Anders 18, and three stepchildren, Ryan 30, Kate 23 and Leo 21. Having many children to love has been one of the greatest blessings in my life!
Are you currently amidst or have you just come through a big transition in your life?
I was divorced in 2011 and remarried in 2016. Blending families is a rewarding and challenging endeavor!
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
I’m an optimist. Every challenge brings new opportunity and self growth period I feel the impact of things deeply but I also have the resolve and resiliency to know I can handle any challenge and come out stronger on the other side. I find joy and beauty all around me.
How do you feel about being a woman over the age of 50?
I feel great! I am excited for my 50’s. Taking care of myself and staying focused on what’s important to me has given me more positive energy to share. Getting older has brought awareness to who I am, who I want to be, and what I value. I have learned to trust my resiliency and I know there is joy and strength within me that allows me to shine and live with gratitude.
Favorite thing about being over 50?
I still have so much more to contribute to the ones I love and the world around me. As a result, I am more secure than ever about who I am, who I want to be, and the positive impact I can have on others. Also, I am more determined than ever to be a positive person who leaves a positive mark on this world.
What advice would you give the younger generation (20-40) that you wish you had known then?
Be present and find the joy and strength that’s always within you. Know that the passage of time will bring challenges, joy, and growth. Inner strength gets stronger with life’s ups and downs. The challenges you have now will make you more equipped to be your best self and live with gratitude.
Are there any big items on your bucket list you’d like to do in the next 5 or 10 years?
I am open to all kinds of growth, both professional and personal. It is exciting to have more influence professionally and in my community. I’ll be exploring more of the world with my husband as we watch and support our children finding their paths in life. I want to get better at active open-mindedness.
Is there anything The 50 Over 50 Project has brought up for you that you may not have thought as much about before?
Yes, the photo project became an opportunity for self reflection. I journaled the few months leading up to my 50th birthday and photo shoot. I felt inspired to reflect on the past, to appreciate the present, and look forward to the future through the lens of perspective and purpose. In fact, this project inspired me to go into the next decade, even during challenging times, with great optimism.
If you could live inside one television show or cartoon for a week, which would you choose?
Haha, great question! I don’t want to live inside anyone elses life, real or imagined. The best life is the one you make!
Share a word about your shoot experience with Natalie and team:
I love photographs because they capture a moment in time and help bring perspective. Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate and capture the milestone of turning 50! You ladies did a great job making the photo shoot fun. Your professionalism, combined with talent and thoughtfulness, made for a relaxing and fun experience on the other side of a camera. It allowed for joy and playfulness to shine through the beautiful images.
STAY TUNED for more features of The 50 Over 50 Project for 2020. If you or someone you know is interested in being involved in The 50 Over50 Project: Celebrating the Beauty Strength and Wisdom of Women Over 50, fill out a contact form on the Natalie Wallace Photography website and join our community on Facebook at The Fifty Over Fifty VIP Group