Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I work with women entrepreneurs and executives who want to help others by giving back to their community but are having trouble figuring out what to do or how to do it. Through my Changemaker program, I help you turn your big, world-changing idea into action and impact!
Whether you want to design a project to combat bullying, launch a social enterprise to help fight climate change or start a business incubator program for refugees, I will help you create a life-changing and world-changing project.
Before starting my own business, I raised over $20 million for philanthropic causes and designed and managed social change programs in the US, Latin America, Central Asia and Africa. My writings on philanthropy, nonprofits and social enterprise have been published in Forbes, Skoll World Forum and HuffPost.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to build an army of ordinary, extraordinary women who are playing a pivotal part in making communities around the world healthy, safer and more just. My goal is to help you help as many people as possible.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
I secured funding for and started a design center for women in Afghanistan to help them bring their handcrafted products to market.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
I've never run a business before so it's a steep learning curve. I mean, I'm really confident that I can help my clients make change in their lives and the lives of others, but when it comes to Quickbooks... ugh!
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
I created an interview series called Ordinary, Extraordinary Changemakers that documents ordinary people making extraordinary change in their communities. My hope is that people are inspired by the stories and decide to launch their own changemaking initiative. I love interviewing my guests and learn so much from each and everyone of them.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
It has been a winding path, for sure! I started out in the fashion industry, moved to the nonprofit sector, lived and sold jewelry on the beach in Costa Rica, worked for a Swiss investment bank, found my way back to the nonprofit sector and then landed in the social enterprise world. So when I was thinking about starting my own business, I took stock of my experience, skills and strengths and knew I had something unique to share with people. Over the years, so many women have said to me, "someday I want to give back, someday I want to do something to help others." The day after the 2016 presidential election, I knew that the US and the world needed people to step up, now more than ever, and I knew it was time for me to help women stop saying "someday" and start saying "WOW! Look what I did! Look at that kid/woman/animal that I helped!"
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
My logo includes a bonsai tree. I hope that when I retire, many years from now, the people I have helped and the people they have helped because of my program will take up so many branches that I won't be able to fit it on the 16 foot wall in my living room.
Who are your role models?
My role models are the women I tell the stories of in my Ordinary, Extraordinary Changemaker series. They are women who are often filled with self doubt and have insanely busy lives, but they are using their voices to speak up for what they believe in and work to make a better world.
What is your morning ritual?
We have two exchange students this year so I have instantly become a mom. So, I drive them to school, walk my two dogs, do a bit of yoga stretching and meditate. Then I get to work!
What is your favorite social media site? Why?
Facebook. I love the combination of images and text. And I get to keep track of what my mom who lives far away is up to :-)
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I remembering hearing about Ellevate when I was working for nonprofit organizations in New York around 2009. There weren't a lot of formal networks just for women at that time and I remembering thinking what a great idea it was. I recently became a member and I can't wait to meet other women who are working to make our world a place we all want to live.