What is your role at Hattaway?
Let me explain with an analogy: last month, I had a home renovation idea to convert a small closet between the bathroom and the kitchen from a linen closet into a pantry by moving the door to the opposite side. I could envision that space in its new form and how much more functional it would be. I knew the basics of how to do it, and I also knew I needed some expert advice and specialized tools. So I assessed my resources and capabilities, and united a team of friends around my vision, and with their guidance, we went to work. I had drywall dust in my teeth for days afterwards, and I still need to stain the new shoe molding, but it is a good-looking pantry.
At Hattaway, I am helping shape that vision of a future aspirational reality, looking for the right support to bring it to life, and working through the details as it comes together. Whether it’s a new pantry or a new approach to a fundraising campaign, I believe we do the best work together.
What are you currently working on that you are really passionate about, and why?
A key factor in creating social change is bringing people together across differences. It’s part building relationships and trust, it’s part listening with an open mind, it’s part telling familiar stories from a new perspective. I’m excited as we move forward with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation on our re-envisioning rural life work to hold online gatherings with people already interested in this project and to share stories of rural life today to bring more people along. There are people who don’t really think about rural America now, or even have disparaging, stereotypical views about life outside the city—and we want to create opportunities for them to engage and learn.
What is currently igniting your imagination?
I’m always following the work of journalist Rebecca Solnit, and right now her work at nottoolateclimate.com is giving me hope about the future of our planet. I’m reading Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Andrés Ordorica, and I keep going back to Rumi, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Mary Oliver—these writers inspire me to see and feel more deeply. More specifically, my imagination is ignited by bakers like Claire Saffitz and Christina Tosi who are reimagining the future of pastries and cakes, and inviting home bakers like me to join them. For the month of December, I enjoyed this advent calendar from the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, and while I missed out on the Bonne Maman jam advent calendar, I love these invitations to have a quiet moment and engage a different part of my brain.
What is an essential part of your daily routine?
Coffee then yoga, or yoga then coffee. I like to have both, and to be honest, sometimes coffee comes both before and after yoga. That’s a good morning.
Who or what inspires you?
My dog Coda inspires me with her curiosity, enjoyment of simple pleasures, and attention to the present moment. Mary Oliver says, “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.”