Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Watertown, WI
When you were in middle school, did you have any posters hanging in your room?
I had a Michael Jordan poster of him dunking with Lakers’ players Michael Cooper and Kurt Rambis in the background. Pretty classic one from a sports fan perspective.
Long walk on the beach, downhill skiing, or going to the opera?
These days a long walk on a beach, although I had a history in my younger years doing a lot of skiing in Summit County Colorado.
What qualities make a neighborhood feel inviting?
Ones that have everyday stores and services close by
Ones that are comfortable and attractive
Places with residents that care deeply about the neighborhood
Safe and friendly streets
Neighborhoods with gathering places for people to meet and talk
How did you get into your profession?
I got into Riverworks and community development in Milwaukee through the Peace Corps and an awesome program at UWM’s Center for Economic Development that recruits Returning Peace Corps Volunteers – their MIED Fellowship. Great transition from doing community development in rural Ecuador for over two years to being able to get my Masters degree at UWM while gaining valuable experience on the ground with Riverworks in Harambee and Riverwest.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
It’s when everything you put in moves an outcome we’re trying to achieve in community development in the right direction. And just as important for me, and a necessity for our work to achieve success, it’s all the strong community relationships that you develop. I’m very grateful for the diversity of professional relationships I’ve been able to develop, ones I feel have led to friendships with like-minded people who care about our community that will last a really long time.
What countries have you visited?
I’ve lived in Ecuador through the Peace Corps and visited Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Holland, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, the British Virgin Islands, and I’m heading to Cuba in April.
What is your favorite sports team?
I’m an avid sports fan, and a tortured one having grown up in Wisconsin with parents from Illinois and a diehard sports fan of a dad: Fighting Illinois basketball and football, Chicago Bears (ugh), and the one that’s been good to me, the St. Louis Cardinals. On a positive note for my fellow Milwaukee friends is that I’m a Bucks fan.
Mozart, The Beatles or Young Thug?
How about Nirvana?