I am a former licensed social worker and executive director. I am intimately aware that white leaders and white-led companies need to adapt and evolve. I also understand that we are all holding so much and struggling behind the scenes, so I balance my processing sessions and speaking engagements with love and accountability. This is what I live for. This is why I founded In the Area Productions.
Why I do
Many white people feel stuck, defensive, and daunted with making meaningful antiracist changes. I’ve certainly been there. It should not be the burden of our Black, Indigenous, and POC colleagues to help us work through these issues.
During my time leading Seattle Works (a civic organization where people connect to causes and to each other through a wide range of volunteer service, leadership training, and meet-up experiences) my team and I evolved a white-founded, white-led organization into one where power was shifted to a BIPOC-led staff and board, leadership was distributed, and employees from all backgrounds could bring their full, authentic selves to work.
Morale improved. Retention improved. Representation improved. And business got way better.
This transformation helped me understand, viscerally, what is possible.
Systemic bias is embedded into nearly every system in this country, especially the workplace. To truly change harmful systems, we need actively antiracist leaders and workplaces. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option — in particular, white leaders and white-led companies need to adapt and evolve. Those who don’t will struggle recruiting and retaining talent, risk becoming irrelevant, and cause harm.
Workplaces that are rooted in antiracism, trust, and love thrive. They are joyful, liberatory spaces where everyone can be their authentic self and do their best work.
My background and experiences
I love sharing my story and learning from others. I have delivered keynote remarks at numerous galas, including at a benefit concert featuring Grammy Award winning musician Ben Harper and at University of Notre Dame’s annual “Making a Living Making a Difference” event. I spoke at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon when my nonprofit was recognized as the region’s Outstanding Philanthropic Organization and at the Global Engagement Summit at Northwestern University. I have delivered remarks at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; spoke on a national panel about “Building Better Nonprofits” with Food Recovery Network; at the Women of Color in Philanthropy & Fundraising national Allies in Action kickoff event; and have been a featured speaker for multiple events hosted by Seattle Arts & Culture for Anti-Racism (SACA).
As a trainer I have facilitated sessions throughout the country. I have led trainings for hundreds of Microsoft employees at the company’s world headquarters, as well as dozens more corporate trainings at companies that include, Facebook (now Meta), Bristol Myers Squibb, and Premera Blue Cross. I have trained hundreds of National Service members on human-centered approaches to direct service, and for years, I have facilitated white caucus meetups to support white people on their anti-oppression journeys.
I am a former wedding DJ, have been to Namibia three times, and I play and coach basketball. I’ve called Portland, Chicago, and Seattle home. And I think love is the most important thing in the world.