Thank you for visiting my colourful corner of the web and for taking the time to learn
about who I am.
Diversity and culture are integral to who I am as a person and the work that I do.
Born in Los Angeles to a white mother of German, Polish, Lithuanian and Hungarian Jew descent and a Black and Cherokee father, I have intimate knowledge of what it means to have a diverse cultural background. We moved to Ibiza, Spain when I was seven and lived there for almost 11 years. A few months before my 18th birthday, my family moved to Vancouver Island, BC. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to live in Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Sechelt, Prince Edward Island, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta and now Halifax.
My identity as a Black-Cherokee-Jew who self-identifies as culturally Spanish, American and after 32 years in Canada, definitely Canadian, gives me a unique view of the world and how diversity, or lack of it, can impact our lives.
Diversity and difference have been a driving force behind my career. I spent many years working with people with mental/physical disabilities and mental health/addiction challenges in downtown Vancouver. There was no “typical” person that I worked with, the people I supported came from all parts of the world and walks of life. Understanding diversity and the role it plays in a person’s life meant I was able to connect with them in meaningful ways.
I also have a background in journalism and during the years I worked as a reporter in Central Alberta and on the Sunshine Coast I had the very great privilege working closely with First Nations communities. My experience with their cultures influences my perspectives on time, trust and what it means to be First Nations in Canada.
In every place I have lived and worked what is apparent and important is that the best discussions around diversity, difference and similarity come from a place of curiosity, interest, respect, engagement and having fun. I believe the average person wants to have positive and respectful interactions with the people they work with or encounter and would be horrified to find out that some of their comments and jokes hurt others deeply.
Exploring and understanding diversity and culture in all its many forms should be fun, interesting and is a vital part of making all our conversations with each other more respectful and meaningful. My experience and background combine to give me the skills and perspective needed to help lead people towards understanding their differences so they can embrace their similarities.