So you want to know more about me?
Great! I want to know about you too! I'll start.
Just the facts:
(Note: there's a longer, narrative version below too)
- I am a trainer with experience doing both in-person and virtual trainings, a facilitator, a manager of campaigns teams, a corporate and rapid-response campaigner, and a graphic designer and photographer.
- I live in Philadelphia, in the eastern US.
- In reverse-chronological order, I've worked with:
- UltraViolet, an American online campaigning organization fighting sexism, as a Senior Campaign Director where I oversaw work around women's economic security;
- SumOfUs, an international corporate campaigning organization, as a Campaign and Training Director (plus a few other titles), where I helped build and support a campaign team of dozens;
- Training for Change, an organization that provides trainings for activist groups around the world, as a Training Coordinator;
- Health GAP, a US-based global AIDS advocacy organization, as a Campaign Director, where I managed grassroots campaigns across the US.
- A few other small things here and there otherwise.
- I serve on the Boards of two amazing organizations, Earth Quaker Action Team, a Philly environmental justice organization, and Campaign Academy, a London-based campaigner training outfit.
- I have a BS in Public Health from George Washington University in DC, and a dual Web Design and Development Certificate from University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
- I volunteer with an organization called Canine Companions for Independence. My husband and I raise and foster future service dogs, like the one here.
And here's the longer version of my story:
I grew up in Charlotte, NC, a city full of racism that I didn't learn how to see until I was older. That, right there, is what it means to be privileged.
I went to college in DC, at George Washington University. I studied public health, mostly so I could use my extracurricular activity -- organizing and campaigning around HIV/AIDS -- to get class credit. After college, I moved to Philadelphia, and dug into local activism with ACT UP, a volunteer group that uses direct action to push leaders to fight AIDS.
It was there that I saw super clearly that I needed to learn about racism, and my privilege as a white person, if I was going to stick with being an activist. After making one too many of what I've come to know are microaggressions, a group of ACT UP members of color asked me to take a break from the group. It was painful. But I got some support from friends, went to a workshop called Whites Confronting Racism, and started the long process towards unlearning what the world had taught me about oppression.
That was 10 years ago. It's taken me a long time to be able to tell this story without reopening wounds, but I am including it here because I want you to know, as you consider getting in touch with me, that I know what it feels like to fail.
And I know what it feels like to succeed, too. At SumOfUs, I got to help to build an international team of 35 people that centered anti-oppression and racial justice as fundamental parts of our culture and campaigns. We did this because we knew that as an organization challenging corporate power, we would only succeed if we hired and retained a staff that had a wide range of experiences with the global economic system.
But with diversity came challenges. It's easy to work with people who are all like you, but it takes intentionality to build a multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-cultural, international team.
As a senior leader, I had to work to build trust and safety for staff to feel like they could speak up when frustrated, and had to show I was listening and changing based on the feedback. I lead the Rising Voices Fellowship that trained people who've experienced marginalization on the basis of race or ethnicity in online campaigning. I helped to build an equity analysis into hiring, on-boarding, evaluation, retreats, check-ins, and more.
And when I left in late 2015, we weren't done (you can never be "done" creating a culture that works for all staff), but we'd opened up challenging conversations -- led by people of color and others who experienced marginalization, who were committed to staying and working together to shift the organization's culture and practices even further.
This is the work I want to be doing, and it's the work I think all organizations need to consider if they truly want to work towards justice.
If you're interested in telling me about you, your organization, and how you think we can work together to create a culture at your organization where staff can thrive, drop me a line!