What office or team do you work for and what is your key responsibility?
I serve as the Fisheries Chief Learning Officer and work in the Human Capital Management Office. I’m responsible for setting the learning and development strategy for NOAA Fisheries. I lead the Fisheries Learning Council, which has representatives across our 20 offices, and manage a portfolio of professional development programs.
Where did you grow up? Is there anything about your childhood or where you grew up that influenced your career path?
I grew up in Middlebury, Vermont. I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid and collected mosquito bites and poison ivy as rites of passage each summer. I had some amazing Spanish teachers in middle and high school and a close friend with whom I practiced Spanish outside of class. My love of languages sent me on a winding path from language learner to a language teacher and then to leadership roles supporting employee learning and development.
What is your educational background?
In undergrad, I studied anthropology, which was fueled by my love of languages and learning about other cultures. I later lived in central Mexico for 4 years, where I taught English at a university. My teaching was really dry at first, but I learned so much from my Mexican colleagues about how to make lessons relevant and engaging. That experience inspired me to return to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in language teaching.
What do you like to do outside of work (e.g., a hobby, craft, community organization, travel, etc.)?
I like to spend as much time outside as possible. I enjoy running, biking, hiking, backpacking, and stand-up paddleboarding. I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon last fall. I also like baking and made some pretty cute rainbow cupcakes for Pride one year.
Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today?
The book Quiet by Susan Cain has had a profound impact on my personal and professional life. Cain highlights the contributions that introverts have made in the workplace and challenges the notion that introverts like myself cannot be strong public speakers. It inspired me to submit proposals to present at professional conferences—which I delivered after a lot of preparation and rehearsal—and to take on leadership roles that challenged me to speak up in meetings with little preparation time.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
To me, Pride Month is about visibility and celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ community. It’s a time I get together with my queer friends to celebrate that part of our identities. It also serves as a pause button to learn about our history, express gratitude for those members of the LGBTQ community who paved the way for where we are now, and acknowledge that there is still more work to be done.