My family moved around a lot as I grew up, so I’m not particularly rooted anywhere. I’m “from” where I currently live in California, but I can say that my nonprofit roots definitely come from Minnesota. I started my nonprofit career more than 15 years ago as a community organizer in Minneapolis. Eventually, I became the Executive Director of a community organization where I had the opportunity to work with individuals, organizations, universities & colleges, and government partners committed to human rights, youth leadership, arts, and education. We designed programs to meet the needs of our diverse community. I was inspired by the creativity and spirit of my community and then by my own son, Gabriel, who was born in 2001. Then, in 2010, I moved to California. With Gabe and my two cats in tow, we jumped into our new lives and I jumped into the Bay Area nonprofit scene. As a nonprofit consultant, I learned a lot about the sector: the key players, and the strengths and weaknesses of such a segmented region. My experiences, passions, and inspirations led me to Citizen Schools serendipitously.
In early 2015, while working with an education organization in Redwood City, I met with Steven Rothstein, Citizen Schools’ former CEO, to learn about Citizen Schools and how we could partner. Later in December, I attended Citizen Schools’ WOW! event at William Sheppard Middle School in San Jose. I was so impressed with the students and volunteers, that I decided to look at the website to see how I could be involved. One thing led to another, and I joined the team in early February of 2016! I’m thrilled to be part of such a dedicated, mission-driven organization and team. I see so much opportunity to strengthen and expand our relationships, engage more people in our work, and continue to innovate and grow. We all know that there is great wealth in the Bay Area: money, resources, and ideas. There’s also much competition among nonprofits, and between nonprofits and businesses. There’s also a lot of drive (and I’m not talking about traffic!). Drive to innovate. Drive to collaborate. Drive to improve the conditions in underserved communities. Our region is split between the haves and the have nots. Our mission is to bridge that gap. Our challenge and our opportunity is to take the wealth and drive and have the greatest impact on the young people we serve.