For me, the personal became political very young. I was raised by a never-married-by-choice single-mother, at a time when such circumstances were largely considered unconventional, even radical. Mom came of age in the June Cleaver 1950’s in a small country town and although she never identified herself as an activist, she clearly broke convention.
Every morning I saw her board the subway to work, rain or shine, sick or well, heading into MadMen-esque workplaces where discrimination and jaw-dropping sexual harassment ran rampant, and with little option to quit. In the evenings and on weekends, she wore every other hat imaginable. Besides sole breadwinner, she was housekeeper, plumber, chef, contractor, gardener, host, fashionista, explorer, decorator, degree student, and later homeowner and landlord.
A master juggler and not one for oratory, Mom was the Queen of The Yellow Sticky. One day I found this nugget written on the small sun-colored square: “Daughter, you can achieve anything, just as long as no one stifles you.”
That one stuck.
With this system-bucking indelible in my DNA, my career path in social change was inevitable. A master’s degree in public policy, an internship at the United Nations, years spent analyzing policy and writing speeches for the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, traveling the country on the President’s Advance Team, and a career-turn to corporate communications and marketing executive all prepared me to understand how narrative and the human story wield the power to inspire new ways of thinking and a willingness to act.
Today I speak, write, and make films that push boundaries, raise awareness and inspire change. Through my company, For Impact Productions, I see extraordinary examples of how film and art move audiences from apathy to empathy to social action. In this time of extraordinary shifts, I hope to continue leveraging the moving image and the media and entertainment industry to push past societal and systemic challenges that stifle and inspire real, enduring change for ALL… just as my mother inspired me.