1. In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you.
I am the Florida Policy Manager for the Surfrider Foundation and I fight for clean water and healthy beaches. Surfrider has eleven chapters in Florida, each run by volunteers who are passionate about protecting their local beaches and waterways. Our chapter leaders organize beach cleanups, monitor local water quality, work with their local governments to reduce plastic pollution, and so much more! As a grassroots organizer and advocate, I help Surfrider members effect change at the federal, state, and local levels.
2. What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
I went to law school in my mid-thirties with a baby, a toddler, and a part-time job. My first year I was an exhausted wreck, and no matter how hard I worked, there were never enough hours in the day to be the student, mom, and employee I wanted to be. Eventually, I dialed back the self-imposed pressure and reminded myself that by following my goals, I was setting a great example for my kids—even if I couldn’t always meet all my expectations.
3. Why did you choose this field? Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are?
I know it sounds cheesy, but I chose this field because I believe that by organizing and working together we can create a better world for future generations. One of my role models is Dr. Sylvia Earle. She a groundbreaking oceanographer and explorer who shattered barriers for women in science and now works to protect Hope Spots—a global network of marine protected areas that are essential to the health of the ocean.
4. What is your legacy? Do you care about leaving a legacy?
Through my work as a grassroots organizer, I teach members of the public how to be effective citizen advocates. I’ve been training and organizing Surfrider members in Florida for nearly nine years now, and my legacy is a group of empowered citizen activists actively participating in their government. I’ve already seen what they can accomplish—they pass local ordinances, influence decisionmakers, protect their beaches and waterways, and, most important, educate and empower others.
5. What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
Meet with your elected officials. Call their office, make an appointment, and share your concerns and vision for your community. A healthy democracy needs informed, active citizen participation. By getting engaged you can help make the world a better place!
6. In less than a minute, without sounding like a used car salesperson, tell us where to find you and what is the next big thing that everyone should be anticipating from you.
The 2021 legislative session is only four months away. We’re thinking about how we can make progress on the big issues impacting the health of Florida’s coasts and waterways—plastic pollution, climate change, and water quality. We’re also thinking about how Covid-19 will impact public participation in the legislative session. It’s a challenge that I hope will lead to innovations and new ideas for increasing citizen engagement.
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