1. What drew you to RVC?
So I learned about RVC a couple of years ago, and I thought, “Wow, it’s so cool that an organization does this,” because I’ve always been really interested in the kind of capacity-building side of nonprofit work.
My experience started working with a small CBO (community-based organization) — an all volunteer-led CBO — and it made me really interested in nonprofit management and capacity-building. And so when I found out there was an organization like RVC, who did that work and did it in a way that was really centering communities of color, I was just really excited about it. And I think, beyond that, I was just really attracted to how deeply rooted in its values RVC seemed…this, like, clear sense of self that the organization seems to have. And not like it has all the answers, but that it really knows what its values are and is gonna do the hard work to stay true to those values.
And also the transparency. I think, one of the things that I really love about RVC is the learning out loud that it does. The making mistakes and figuring out new ways of doing things that, you know, oftentimes are really different. And working towards disrupting white supremacy culture…I think that is what really attracted me to RVC. You see the work happening internally to live out those values. And I feel that has created an atmosphere in the culture that really allows everyone to feel very purposeful.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
In my role as a PM (program manager), I have the privilege of getting to work directly with partners. And so I think my favorite part of my job is just being in space with them, hearing about their wins, and then also getting to problem solve with them. I feel like that is something that is just so fulfilling. To me it also feels like such a privilege to be let in to these different organizations and to get to contribute towards their work. And, you know, we have worked with so many partners with lots of different focus areas, and so to get to just play a small role in each of those little worlds is so cool.
I work with Mujer Al Volante (MAV). They help immigrant women get their driver’s license as a way to disrupt the isolation that comes from a variety of factors. And then my other partner is ALA Garifuna Women, and they similarly work to support immigrant women through more, like, wraparound services.
And yeah, I always leave our meetings feeling like, “Oh, that is the spark I’ve been looking for,” you know? This is why I come to work.
3. What does being “rooted in community” mean to you?
I think being rooted in community means listening. It means having the sense of accountability and working in deep relationships with community members, community leaders, with our partners. Um, yeah, I think it’s just really about being in space with one another and doing the work together, you know…sharing the burden.
4. What is your vision for the future?
This is hard because I think there’s so many different futures. And there’s the short-term and the long-term and there’s, like, futures that we probably won’t get to see in our lifetime. But I think my vision is, ideally, a world where nonprofit organizations are not needed anymore. A world where communities are having their needs met, they’re having their voices heard. And they’re thriving, you know?
5. What is your favorite lunch?
This was a hard one because I’m such a foodie.
When I can make lunch, I do, or do leftovers. But when I want to treat myself, my favorite lunch is a turkey sandwich from Columbia City bakery, which is in my neighborhood.
Specifically on their focaccia bread, not on the baguette…that’s very critical.
6. What is the theme song of your life? And why?
“I am Moana” from Moana, and songs from Frozen, too. And the why is that I have two beautiful toddler nieces who are just so incredible. And they’ve given me the excuse to watch all these, you know, really sweet Disney movies like Moana and Frozen.
What I really love about these songs, and is so moving about them is that they’re about realizing that what you’re looking for is inside you. They’re about trusting yourself and your inner voice. And they’re also about how we carry our ancestors with us.
Like specifically in Moana, the character of the grandmother really reminds me of my grandmother who raised me and how I want to make her proud. And so, for me, the songs hit a really deep chord, even though they’re from children’s movies.
7. Who inspires you?
I would say my little sister, to be honest — my little sister Mia. She’s a junior in college and she really inspires me because she’s just so brave. Like, she’s willing to like put herself out there. She played softball in college and she goes to school in Ohio. And they play against other teams from different parts of the country where there’s just a lot of racism. And so she’s experienced racism from other players, like, on the ball fields, and she took it up with the president of the university — she stood up for herself.
She is willing to stand up for herself and her team, and is trying to push for change so that other athletes at her school don’t have to deal with it. And, you know, I’m surrounded by lots of amazing leaders like that in the work that we do. But I think what inspires me the most… well, my sister is just so young, you know? And she’s not at the time in her life where she’s had all of these opportunities or safety nets. She’s just, like, putting it out there and doing the work. And so, that really inspires me, and it makes me feel hopeful about Gen Z; like, I think they’re an awesome generation already. As a millennial, I’m like, I’ll let you lead the way.
8. What is your favorite local business to support?
Yeah, another favorite local business of mine is the Flour Box in Hillman City. I know a lot of people know about their donuts and how they are sought after. I mean, they really are delicious. They have great coffee, but what really makes them my favorite is how they’re just this super sweet and thoughtful family-run business. Like, the owner. She’s always posting about their business and just so open about the hardships of being a small business, and like, always trying to be in conversation with the community.
9. Any closing remarks?
So a couple of weeks ago, I was having a meeting with a partner. And afterwards, you know, I walked out of my home office and talked to my husband, just saying, “I just feel really good right now in a way that I haven’t felt in such a long time. Just like…so joyful, and I don’t know how to describe it.” And it was him who was like, “It’s that you’re feeling purposeful.” And so it was really cool to have someone you love also recognize you that inside of you. I feel that was a moment where it was like: “I made the right choice.” Like, this is where I’m meant to be and I’m really happy to be in this work.
You can find me on Linked In.