Women & Business: Megs Yunn
Megs Yunn is the Founder and Executive Director of Beverly’s Birthdays.
To third graders in Friendship, Megs Yunn is a hero.
Yunn recalls a visit to an elementary school when, upon her arrival, some of the students became more than a little excited.
“‘The birthday lady is here! The birthday lady is here! Our hero!’” she remembers the kids shouting. “The lesson I was learning from them is that anyone can be a hero because anyone can be kind and help someone.”
Yunn is the founder and executive director of Beverly’s Birthdays, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide birthday cheer for children experiencing homelessness and families in need. Beverly’s Birthdays is celebrating one of its own this year — its eighth year of operation. Yunn became inspired to found the organization nine years ago after meeting 11-year-old Beverly, who said she’d never had a birthday party or her own slice of birthday cake.
“Beverly was not homeless, and I didn’t give her her first birthday party,” says Yunn. “Those are both commonly misreported. But I did start Beverly’s Birthdays four months after that conversation.”
Beverly’s Birthdays began with that moment and the $2,500 prize money Yunn received from winning a Scholastic Make a Difference Contest.
“That was the starter fund for Beverly’s Birthdays,” says Yunn. “This year, we just approved a budget of $1.4 million and a staff of nine.”
Over the last eight years, Beverly’s Birthdays has recognized more than 30,000 birthdays for children in the Pittsburgh area in some way, shape or form, including 7,000 individual birthday parties.
“The sign on my desk says ‘Mother of Chaos,’ it doesn’t say Megs Yunn,” says Yunn. “I would say most of the time I’m a chicken with her head cut off.”
Yunn finds a way to make the chaos work for her. She is a 2017 Pittsburgh Magazine 40 Under 40 honoree, and Beverly’s Birthdays has been featured on many news shows, including “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
A highlight of Yunn’s professional career also includes her personal life. Over the last eight years since founding the nonprofit, Yunn has gotten married and had four children.
“I think one of the greatest things about this career is that my children have gotten to be a part of it,” she says. “It’s families helping other families.”
Staying true to herself has been key, she says. She advises other women in business or the nonprofit world to be genuine, humble and gracious to others who offer to help along the way.
“You learn a lot more by listening than you do by assuming you know all the answers,” says Yunn.
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What do a marathon leader, a Harvard graduate, a CPA and a birthday cheer captain have in common? They all will be honored at Pittsburgh Magazine’s first Women & Business Networking Event of 2020. Join us for conversation, cocktails and light appetizers at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on Jan. 30 from 5:30-8PM. Get tickets here.