Scroll down for a Q&A with me!
I am a leadership coach and facilitator, organization development specialist, LMSW and social experimentrice dedicated to re-imagining what’s possible for us as individuals, organizations and as a society. Over the last 20 years, I’ve assisted hundreds of individuals — from CEO’s to activists, artists to non-profit professionals, social entrepreneurs and many others — to develop their leadership, access their talents, manifest their ideas and goals and find fulfilling work. I also advise a wide range of organizations — from nonprofits to foundations, corporations, startups, small businesses and more — on how to tap into their greatest potential and increase their impact. Toward that end, I facilitate staff retreats, game-changing conversations, workshops and conflict mediation. I also provide coaching and advising to leadership fellowships including Young People for the American Way, the Wexner Foundation, the Schusterman Foundation and the Roddenberry Foundation. In addition, I lead a wide variety of groups helping individuals incubate ideas and contribute to the social good. My work has led organizations to unleash their team’s power and strengths, create inspiring cultures, transform conflict and staffing challenges, and maximize performance.
I have a deep background in community organizing and advocacy on behalf of a wide range of groups including women and young people. I’ve also been a management consultant at such organizations as the Support Center for Nonprofit Management and Ashoka. My writing has appeared in numerous publications including Frontline Feminism and I’ve been featured as an expert in The Washington Post, Working Mother magazine, Super Girls Speak Out and in the Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers. I am co-author with Lauren B. Weinstein in collaboration with Hannah Schaeffer of Change Your Job, Change Your Life: The Job Search Guide for the Socially Minded and Self-Aware, coming in 2019.
As an artist and activist I created The Love Letters Project in 2013, the first of what I call “social installations” — events, processes, and art that shine a light on critical social issues and invite participants to deepen their connection with themselves and others. In July of 2014, I co-created The Freedom Project, a public dialogue about what it meant to be free on the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. And in 2004, I self-published a book, On Rendering Heartbreak Obsolete and created a multi-disciplinary installation, Home Is Where the Heart Is, comprised of a selection of my poems assembled with personal objects to create a commentary on the myth of the “happy” American home.
I have an MSW from Smith College and a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University. I trained in mediation with the New York Peace Institute, in nonviolent communication with Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, and I am certified in the Interpersonal Leadership Styles inventory. Additionally, I’ve had a meditation practice for almost 20 years, have lived on an ashram in Colorado and have taken regular sabbaticals to travel the world, visiting more than 40 countries.
“Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
What motivates you most in your work? Watching people transform how they see themselves and expand their contributions to the world is profoundly gratifying. I’ve repeatedly seen that we benefit immensely from using all our “colors,” that is, more fully accessing all of our “good stuff” while learning how to repurpose our “shadow side” — fears, resistance, etc. Most fundamentally, I’m driven by the desire to increase people’s sense of true freedom, expanding their knowledge of who they are and how they can share themselves with others in meaningful ways.
What’s your biggest strength? I’m deeply curious and (I think) adept at seeing the many layers and depth that we all have. I have a knack for translating these insights into highly customized, practical and energizing ideas for forward motion. Feel free to tap me for ideas, I love to share them! I also create inspiring, productive and safe spaces for individuals and organizations to grow and reach their full potential.
How do you define “experimentrice?” I made that word up! It’s a feminized version of “experimenter.” I love to “get into the laboratory” with clients and make discoveries together. I also love to reimagine our possibilities for living and working as individuals, organizations and a society through a modality I created called cultural therapy and my social installations. Check out my Reimagine That! blog and upcoming podcast for more on this.
Who is your ideal client? Individuals and organizations who would really like to understand themselves and others, more fully tap into their their unique value and make their one-of-a-kind impacts on the world. I love to work with people who understand that real change and growth takes time and are excited to build a relationship that facilitates their development in powerful ways.
You identify as an introvert. How does that impact your work and life? It’s had a big impact, particularly in recent years as our culture has become more and more extroverted. I’ve learned to take the time and space I need to be most fully available to myself and others. I like to step back and observe the world closely. This expands my knowledge of the individual and cultural psyche and fuels my work. I’m equally energized working with introverts, extroverts and ambiverts (people who are equally introverted and extroverted) because each orientation offers a universe of fascination and possibility.
You talk a lot about vulnerabilities. What’s one of yours? Fear of flying. Oy vey! Being 30,000 feet up in the sky traveling at 700 mph is incredibly scary to me. Still, I’ve managed to travel to dozens of countries. My fear has provided a great opportunity to tap into my commitment to doing what it takes to live my passion and to developing meditation and other centering techniques.
Who is your most surprising friend? James Baldwin. For real! No matter that I never met him or that he passed away over 30 years ago. I feel like I know him. He was so ahead of his time. His commentary is as pertinent today as ever. He asks us to go higher, to expect more from ourselves, to connect more deeply with our head and heart and take responsibility for our “shadow side.” He never stopped creating, ideating and bringing his full self to the table.
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled? Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina. It felt like going to the moon for this aerophobe! One day, I hope to visit South Africa, New Zealand and many other places. I also count inner travel — I’ve been around my inner world many times and touched down in the far reaches of both joy and loss. I’ve explored some real turbulence and peace, and mined those experiences to further know myself and connect more deeply with others.
What’s your favorite quote? See above: it’s all about Rilke! My favorite book is Letters to a Young Poet, where my favorite quote resides.