What is one of your earliest memories of the power of human connection?
My first memory jumps right to my grandparents. They brought so much love and warmth to my childhood. My brother and I were lucky because they were our primary babysitters during our childhood. One set of grandparents lived on a farm and the other set lived in a very small town. I remember being so excited to go to their house, especially for sleepovers. They also hosted every holiday, which included my extended family. Christmas Eve was always on the farm, and Christmas Day, we’d go to my other grandparents’ house, in town. Both my grandmothers shared with me their passion for baking and cooking which was helpful when you need to feed an expansive family of 20 plus people.
Growing up on a farm in Nebraska can be pretty isolating, especially for my social spirit. I had my friends from school, but not as much of a neighborhood. My cousins became some of the best early human connections. You would find us playing a lot of board games and Mad Libs together in our grandparents' basement. We’ve taken that back up during the pandemic: every other Friday night is now virtual cousin game night.
What values guide your work?
Growing up watching my parents working on the farm, I learned that it was my responsibility to help with chores and babysitting, starting at around age 10. As a result, I have a very strong work ethic that comes from both my parents, which has followed me into my adult life. Both my mom and dad are incredibly hard workers. My dad in his 70s still works 12-hour days. Though my mom’s retired, she’s always working on projects around her home. They also taught me that doing a job honorably is the key to a good night’s rest.
Kindness and respect are important to me, too, as are a deep sense of purpose and a commitment to ongoing mutual learning. I really value the opportunity to feel that my work is of service to the greater good and that I’m experiencing the chance to grow through my contribution to the whole.
What are you working on right now?
I love cooking and I’ve been trying to improve my homemade pizza making skills – getting the texture of the dough just right. I’ve been focusing on Neapolitan-style pizza, complete with homemade sauce. It has been a delicious trial and error process.
In the domain of work, moving from corporate back to the nonprofit world has been a big transition. I’ve spent a lot of my career working for nonprofits and I’m enjoying the move back to a mission-oriented team and workplace.
I’m learning about Einhorn Collaborative’s deeply collaborative strategy and how the elements of the strategy support the change we’re seeking to make in the world. I’m enjoying building relationships with each member of the team and figuring out how I can help strengthen our administrative systems and lead key projects.
I’ve also been working on completing my bachelor’s degree at UMass Amherst. I’ve followed a somewhat untraditional path academically and getting a degree while also working full-time definitely leaves very little time to work on my pizza making skills. But I really appreciate how structured education serves my commitment to continuous learning and makes me a better team member.
How has the experience of the pandemic affected you and your work?
It’s made me think deeply about how I want to spend my time. In the early months of the pandemic, I felt like I wanted to do more for my community and loved ones. When our previously in-office culture shifted to fully remote, half of my responsibilities disappeared. Because I had extra time available, I was able to dive into assisting my colleagues with their research projects, which was a nice new challenge.
On the personal side, I feel like it helped me cultivate a deeper level of empathy and patience, being there for my friends who were having a hard time, even at a distance. I’m leaning into accepting that things are going to be different than they were two years ago, and I’m building new systems and expectations to support that new normal. In a world where every day offers us new expectations and challenges, we’ve had to build new structures to support that uncertainty. I think the experience of the pandemic helped me see that I wanted to feel a deeper connection to making a difference in the world, which is why I’m so thrilled to be joining the Einhorn Collaborative team.
What's giving you joy right now? What are you hopeful about?
My biggest source of joy is seeing live music return. I love going to concerts, even by myself, and it’s so exciting to see that coming back. I see shows as often as I can, sometimes a few nights in one week. Music to me is very therapeutic and grounds me in the present moment.
I’m hopeful that the more we have conversations with each other, the more people want to be part of healing the huge divide we have in our country. When we listen to each other’s stories, there’s almost always some common thread. We might have different points of view on certain subjects, but I’m hopeful about people taking the opportunity to reconnect with others, especially those they might not have connected with before. We’re so much stronger when we’re connected. The beginning of the next chapter of my career at Einhorn Collaborative, with an amazing team of people, is a big source of inspiration, joy, and hope. I really feel like I’ve found my tribe, and I’m so excited and grateful to be here.