I was born in Lansing Michigan and raised in Oakland, California. The harsh realities of living in a poverty-stricken and perilous environment instilled in me a fierce determination that persists to this day. As the adage in Buddhism goes, "Wisdom comes through suffering," and I can attest to having acquired a wealth of knowledge as a result of my tumultuous experiences.
I have survived; low income, divorce, abandonment, loneliness, bullying, anxiety, suicide attempts, drugs all around me, date rape, being molested by my gynecologist, drive by shootings, death, infertility, losing children, getting fired and laid off, being evicted from my home, several car accidents including a roll over, anger and physical abuse from a spouse, broken hearts, discrimination, passed over on 10 promotions, and having all my income stolen from my bank account.
It’s been abundantly clear I have a purpose on this earth and the universe has a plan. I would love an easy life but that doesn’t seem to be what I signed up for. Joe Dispenza talks about the brain and I agree with the research. Life is about adversity and overcoming it, repeat over and over everyday. My experience has been that life presents challenges and I find solutions.
In my professional life, I have spent 27 years leading recruiting teams for multi-billion dollar companies such as Salesforce, ATK, Netflix, and Honeywell. My primary focus has been on security and the national intelligence community, which aligns with my dad's nickname for me: "defender of the weak." I find joy in helping people connect with careers they love while bringing in top talent to positively impact the company.
In 2011 I started my journey to dig in and really change a life, I became a Foster Mom. This lead me to understand that even very young children experience feelings of suicide and fighting to help those suffering.
In 2013, I was able to adopt one of my foster children, which proved to be the greatest and most challenging life-changing event I have ever experienced. Through hundreds of hours of trauma training and trial and error, I learned to start with the basics of safety, sleep, and healthy food before moving on to "normal" childhood development.
The unexpected discovery was that the life that changed the most, was mine.
Today, my son is thriving as an honor student and a member of an AAU basketball team. Although he faces challenges like everyone else, he has the tools to navigate the hardships of life. Basketball helps him re-tune his body and mind to a healthy state during times of depression and hopelessness. Mine is dance, I have been dancing for 47 years and have set a goal to learn all types of dance. So far, I have learned ballet, tap, jazz, belly dancing, hip hop, salsa, merengue, samba, cha-cha, ecstatic, hula, and swing. What do you do that makes you feel your best?
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, canyoneering, skiing, traveling, foodie activities, dance, and yoga, which has been a part of my life long practice for 30 years and has become a way of life for me over the last six years. In Buddhism there is a saying “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” I have found that my thoughts have been the most hurtful experiences in my life. I have spent a lifetime meditating to quiet the mind, stopping the toxic roommate in my head and today what I hear is love, forgiveness and kindness to myself. I am currently taking my yoga instructor certification courses and plan to focus on Yin Yoga and Yoga for Trauma/PTSD and plan to create yoga that incorporates movement, meditation and ending mental suffering.
I believe that joining forces with like-minded individuals can make a difference. My philanthropy passions include; human rights, equality, LGBTQ, safety for all, cancer research, ending suicide and suffering, ending poverty and homelessness, mental health, and stopping human trafficking. Being selected as a member of the Board of Directors for Yellow for Life in 2019 was a great honor for me. Since then, I have been fortunate to work alongside an amazing group of individuals whose brilliant minds and kind hearts inspire me to create and support the community.