Hello, and welcome!
So glad that you've stopped by. Since you're here, you're likely wondering who I am, why I do this work, what prepared me, and maybe a little more about the path that got me to where I am today. Mine isn't a straight road; I wasn't that kid who knew exactly - or even REMOTELY - what I wanted to be. But I'm so glad for the path that has brought me to today.
Below is a little about my journey. I look forward to talking with you and answering any questions you may have. Book an intro call here.
Why work with me?
experience that spans industries and disciplines,
an educational foundation in industrial-organizational psychology, and
a diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging lens rooted deeply in my experiences working and volunteering in community.
The Rest of the Story...
As I try to write an opening line, the GenXer in me can't stop hearing Steve Perry singing Journey in my ear..."Just a small-town girl... living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train going anywhere." That was me; I grew up in a small town in far northern Wisconsin and spent most of my teen years doing everything I could to build out my resume so I could get a ticket out into the great big world. It all seemed so far away in those days before the internet, where school was an hour bus ride away, there was one almost-rock station, and only one or two tv channels (three on a REALLY good weather day!). I had the opportunity of summer visits with generous relatives in California and Colorado, and these experiences only whetted my appetite for more. I worked every summer, at least two jobs and sometimes three, to build my experience and, of course, make some money to support my dreams. Eventually, I became so impatient waiting that I decided to spend my high school senior year as a Rotary exchange student! That year in Brazil was one of the most formative of my life, and Rotary Clubs who supported me (Eagle River, WI, and Sertãozinho, SP) and four amazing families who hosted me cannot begin to know how grateful I am, and how much I owe to, that experience. And, of course, my mom for supporting her restless 16-year-old in such a big, and I am sure terrifying, adventure.
Fascinated by human behavior, I obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. Not ready for grad school, I spent several years working across industries looking for my niche. Throughout these organizations, it stood out to me that I was regularly seeing the same issues rear their heads, regardless of the industry, and I decided I wanted to better prepare myself to be in a position to address those issues. So I went back to school and got my master's degree in Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
I loved what I was learning in that program so much (thanks to Dr. Steve Jex and Dr. Gary Adams), including being completely enamored after taking an Aging in Work course with the incredible Dr. Susan McFadden, I decided to continue my studies and pursued doctoral work in I/O and Industrial Gerontology, the study of aging at work, at The University Akron in Akron, Ohio. Working with the incomparable Dr. Harvey Sterns, I completed a graduate certificate in Gerontology. Somewhat unfortunately, while I completed the four years of coursework and comprehensive exams, I am also forever ABD (all-but-dissertation). My dissertation work was based on a project at Creative Action LLC where I was a Program Director and Senior Research Associate building a virtual bio-psycho-social aging training program for the federal prison system, which we tested in multiple states. Unfortunately, some of the data I needed to answer my primary questions was not included when our content was transferred online (gah!). It wasn't fixable after the fact, and a subsequent series of major life crises got in the way of me re-working what I did have into something else. And still, I include it because that training and experience have also significantly shaped who I am today.
I was immensely fortunate to spend over a decade working in, for, and alongside local communities and community leaders, mostly in Akron, specifically work that often required taking the lead from communities marginalized by our society. The community gifted me incredible grace and guidance, particularly the Black women who helped me learn from the sometimes painful mistakes I made as a white woman doing this work. These years further opened my heart and mind to different ways of doing the work, in ways that influence me well beyond all that my formal experiences up to that point could. This hands-on anti-poverty, anti-racism, health equity, and social determinants of health-driven work changed me and my lens in immeasurable ways. I have far too many teachers in the community than I could ever begin to acknowledge and do justice. The very least I can do for all those who played a part in my unlearning and relearning is to continue to be open, find ways to do better, and help others along similar journeys.
Other Experience & Credentials
I am a coach, consultant, mentor, educator, connector, and advocate with experience in industries from lending and manufacturing to health care and higher education.
My experience includes working with individuals from all levels of organizations, from customer service to leadership.
It also includes leading multidisciplinary teams, building strong community relationships, building partnerships among entities from academia to private and non-profit organizations, project and program management, grant management, and more.
I have planned curricula, organized events and conferences, taught courses, and created educational and community engagement opportunities, all in person and virtually.
Courses taught include Intro Psychology, Developmental Psych, Psych of Adulthood and Aging for the Psychology Department, and Social Welfare Policy in a School of Social Work for graduate and undergraduate students.
I have been a certified trainer for Bridges Out of Poverty and Bridges to Health and Healthcare..
I am trained in and have experience co-facilitating multiple models of dialogue circles, including Everyday Democracy and deliberative dialogue, particularly around race.
I am a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory® (idiinventory.com) and I use this tool as a baseline and progress tool in my coaching and consulting work.
I completed a local community leadership program, and was a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for our local Federally Qualified Health Center, chairing multiple committees for over five years.
My greatest rewards and accolades have come from the communities I serve, my students, and my colleagues over the years, including a "S-hero Health Hero" award from the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and "Diversity" and "Community Engagement" awards from The University of Akron.
Today I'm back home in Wisconsin, where I volunteer for and serve on the Board and multiple committees of a local diversity education and outreach organization. I look forward to continuing to build relationships and engage in my "new" community here in Appleton, Wisconsin, after having been in Ohio for the last 19 years.