A mom’s job requires 365 days a year of work with no holidays, no sick days and no paid vacation time. It is one of the most demanding jobs in the world, but receives little recognition for the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that results.
Imagine a mother doing all of this while simultaneously being integrally involved in building a business that would eventually change an entire industry. Sounds impossible, right?
Meet Helen Byam Schwamborn.
Helen was a cousin of Wally Byam, founder of Airstream Inc., but she is known for much more. It is tough to condense all of Helen’s accomplishments into one blog post because, as she said herself, “How does one cover 20 years of history in a single story…”
When Wally asked Helen to lead the Eastern Canadian Caravan in 1955, she had never driven a truck, towed a trailer or led a caravan. In the true spirit of living riveted, Helen accepted the adventure and went on to lead many more caravans—completing eight and participating in many more.
While accomplishing all of this, Helen also was busy building a club for Wally—that club would become the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Helen was responsible for taking care of the office and doing whatever was necessary to ensure the club was successful. She planned the caravans, wrote and edited the newspaper, The Caravaner, and participated in discussions on the Airstream board. Behind the scenes, Helen supported the company and helped it grow into what it is today.
As can be seen from her numerous accomplishments, Helen put her whole self into everything she did—including raising her children. Her son, Dale Schwamborn, said this about his mother:
“Helen Byam Schwamborn did her job well. Thank you, Mom. You were a wonderful mother, an outstanding leader and organizer, a fantastic businesswoman, a terrific travel writer and a friend to tens of thousands of people throughout the world. Thank you, Mom.”
We celebrate and honor Helen’s legacy today.