What do you do at CEI?
I facilitate equity and inclusion-based learning and consciousness raising, and assist clients in building skills, strategies and internal capacity to advance and sustain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce and culture.
What did you do prior to CEI?
I have spent most of my professional career working in the non-profit sector with a focus on the environment, education and youth. I worked to improve the educational experience of Oregon K-12 students by spearheading and passing the No Oregon Child Left Inside Act to encourage integration of place-based educational practices with emphasis on connection to local community and the natural world.
I launched a consulting business in 2012 and worked independently before joining CEI, continuing to advance environmental and educational initiatives with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion largely in association with the Center for Diversity & the Environment, Multicultural Collaborative and Showing Up for Racial Justice. Similar to my work with CEI, I facilitated conversations, trainings, relationship building and organizational development in equity, diversity and inclusion, prioritizing projects at the intersection of education, environment and racial justice.
Why do you do this work?
I grew up in suburban New Jersey in a racially, ethnically, economically, religiously diverse town. Although people were “different” we didn’t talk about what this meant and how our lived experiences were not the same. We also didn’t talk about what that meant for my family and how my immigrant Jewish ancestors changed their last names to assimilate into “American” culture in attempt to escape anti-Semitism. The paradox of my ancestors’ understanding of persecution coupled with their collusion with a system based on a racial hierarchy of oppression is complex and personal.
I question the cost of our societal arrangement that threatens any of us because of who we are. To have to so narrowly define our identity leaves little room for us to live with, appreciate and benefit from all the ways we are unique.
What do you believe?
As an environmentalist, I believe that everything is connected and that systems thrive when everything within a system is able to contribute. As a sports psychologist, I believe in the strength of teams and that we are only at our best when everyone on our team has what they need to succeed. I also believe that we have a lot to learn from each other and that each of us has a role to play in our collective liberation and co-creation of a new society grounded in abundance, acceptance and love.
What is a question that guides your work?
“Why [fill in the blank]?” This keeps me curious and reminds me of Ruth King’s mindfulness practice that “Life is not personal, permanent, or perfect.”
“In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the kind of genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed.” Anne Braden, Civil Rights Activist, Journalist & Educator