Meet our new Executive Director!
What life experience do you bring to your work in settlement houses?
I grew up in poverty and experienced the challenge of advancing out of a difficult economic situation. I know firsthand that although there is opportunity for people in a broad sense, the ability to capitalize on that opportunity is not possible without a collective set of interventions. It is not merely about personal intellect or ambition. This is the function of the settlement house: to provide those interventions and make the community a better place for everybody.
Is there one person in your life who has inspired you more than any other?
I would have to say my mother. She was like so many people, particularly women, who, through life circumstances, found themselves caring for her own children as well as the larger community. She had such a presence. She personified the notion of having hope for people when they could not have hope for themselves. Under her influence, we grew up with a sense of personal responsibility as well as civic responsibility. That has informed my work and life philosophy.
What are you looking forward to about being back in New York?
I haven’t lived in New York since 1987! I grew up in the housing projects in Brooklyn not ever knowing or believing that I could live anywhere else, much less the Upper West Side of Manhattan. So I am looking forward to experiencing the fullness of New York City. I think New Yorkers often take for granted the benefits of being of this city and what New York is in the context of the country. People here have such love and loyalty for their city. I’m really looking forward to the adventure of being here again so many years later.
How do you hope to lead Goddard Riverside?
I believe that the work we do is not dependent on one person. The preamble of our constitution begins with “We the people…”. I hope to lead the organization to uphold the belief that it is only through our collective effort that we will have a fair and just society where everyone can reach their fullest potential.