Favorite Part of Job? Everyday, I am privileged to work with passionate staff committed to helping everyday Vermonters become more economically independent. The impact of the work is palpable in the straightened shoulders and proud smiles of women who overcome great personal barriers to finding gainful employment. It shows too in the girls who exhibit their vast leadership potential and the ability to dream of infinite possibility through their exploration of science, trades and outdoor recreation.
Most Inspiring Mentor: I worked with an American doctor in my Peace Corps Village who was an extraordinary mentor and humanitarian. She lived a life of great integrity and purpose and inspired those around her to always strive for excellence and to have real, meaningful impact in one's local community.
Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: I have travelled to all fifty US states, and I've worked in four national parks in the US and internationally.
Favorite Vermont Escape: Lake Champlain is unparalleled in its beauty in early fall. The stillness of the water, the geese flying overhead, and the steady dip of a kayak or dragonboat paddle, is my little paradise.
Favorite Downtime Activity: People watching on Church Street during the Festival of Fools or the Jazz Festival. All of Vermont seems to turn out to enjoy the endless days of summer, and laughter and good music drift through the air.
Favorite Super Hero: No super hero favorite, but my heroes are people that have their own distinct creed of integrity, perseverance and conviction.
Favorite Social Media: I was slow to adopt Facebook, but I really value reconnecting with friends far and wide, and being able to access a lot of international news through my network.
Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Bill McKibben. He is a tour de force for climate change advocacy and galvanizing the younger generation to act, lead, and persuade.
What is the best career advice you have received? I have learned that work is love actualized. How you choose to engage your mind, heart, and hands through work, is a reflection of your core values and what you want to bring forth in the world. Thus the best advice I have received is to assess, "what's in your checkbook and what's in your calendar?" Personally and organizationally, this is a barometer for core values.
Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years? Continuing to build strong, integrated, resilient, and vibrant communities in the Green Mountain State.
Career Highlights: I have a rich and varied career spanning 3 continents. Some of the highlights have been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, Africa where I was able to build a high school library and obtain 49 academic scholarships for primary school girls. During other work with USAID, I helped to created systems to decrease the trade in conflict minerals and to help small-scale miners gain tangible economic benefits from their work. As a FEMA employee, I was able to help communities envision stronger and safer communities after a disaster. And most, recently I was able to participate in the Vermont Leadership Institute which grounded me in Vermont issues and the network of changemakers across the state.
Community Involvement: Community involvement has a been a staple in my life from a very young age. As a child, I volunteered at local library and community theater, among others. As a young adult, I was committed to many volunteer opportunities in conservation, environmental stewardship, and helping people struggling with poverty. I organized many food and clothing drives, tree plantings, and Earth Day activities. I also worked to mentor and coach other students as an academic tutor, volleyball coach, and teen role model for programs such as DARE.
Into my college years, I continued my activism and volunteer work around environmental issues and others such as persons living with AIDS. After graduating college, I became a Peace Corps volunteer serving in northern Cameroon doing environmental education and agroforestry. I extended my service into a third year to work on ecotourism and national park management work. This experience catapulted me towards attending Vermont Law School who's motto is "Law for the community, law for the world."
I've carried that VLS mindset into my current community involvement work in Vermont. I serve as the acting President for the Returned Peace Corps Association. In Vermont, I have volunteered for environmental, disaster relief/emergency planning organizations, as well as those that decrease stigma around mental health issues. I am committed to Vermont issues and its people, and I look forward to continued involvement in my community.