National Program Director
Q: You spent several years in the Middle East working with women and young people in a post-Isis environment. How did that experience change your perspective on life and the work you now do?
First, my time working and living in Iraq and other places in the Middle East was the most rewarding and humbling experience. I had the honor to work with women and young people who experienced some of the worst sides of humanity, but at the end of the day, they still wanted to stand up and be part of a process to help rebuild the social and political fabric of their country. And second and perhaps most importantly, that experience showed me that there is always hope and opportunity to connect across divisions on a very human level despite our deep differences and mistrust. Even in the aftermath of conflict, and violent conflict for that matter, most people are willing and want to live and work side-by-side with their neighbors to build a better future. I’m an eternal optimist – with a splash of realism – but these experiences solidified my view that we can build a united society; it just takes time and a lot of patience and compassion.
Q: You have a lot of interesting hobbies–hiking, playing board games, and even parachuting out of airplanes! What do you find most appealing about these, and why do you think it’s important to pursue your passions both on and off the professional stage?
I think I am drawn to these types of activities because it requires putting trust in and cooperating with others (especially the kinds of games I like to play, like Dungeons and Dragons, a newfound interest!). We cannot move forward as a society, whether with friends and family or colleagues and neighbors if we cannot trust and find ways to work together.
Q: What made you decide to join the One America Movement team?
I’d been working in international democracy and governance for nearly a decade. While I still deeply believe and think that type of work is essential, a part of me started to reflect inwardly. I decided to join the One America Movement because, like many Americans, over the last few years, I’ve seen how the toxic and damaging vitriol has divided American society and how that has prevented us from being able to work together, solve problems, and advance as a society. The One America Movement has presented me with a unique space and opportunity to be part of a solution to build a more united American society.