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 ‘50’s in a small country town where the expectation for a woman-right-out-of-high school was marriage and homemaking. Surprisingly, she never self-identified as a hippie or an activist, although she clearly broke convention. She was simply the epitome of GSD, ‘getting shit done,’ no matter the odds.
Every morning, I saw my mother board the subway to her day job, rain or shine. She worked in MadMen-esque workplaces and faced rampant discrimination and jaw-dropping sexual harassment with relatively little option to quit. In the evenings and on weekends, she wore every other hat imaginable: sole breadwinner, housekeeper, plumber, chef, contractor, gardener, host, fashionista, explorer, decorator, degree student, and later homeowner and landlord. All perfectly “normal,” to my young eyes.
With so much to juggle and not one for oratory, Mom was the Queen of The Yellow Sticky. Daily, she would stick a reminder for me around the house. 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.
For me, the personal became political very young. With system-bucking woven into my DNA, my career path in social change was inevitable. Long story short: 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.