Senior Program Development Director, Child Development Centers, Sacramento, CA
Who or what inspires you?
My Grandma inspires me. She was a teacher for many years and believed in John Dewey’s learning theories. I would spend my school breaks, afternoons, and sometimes my mornings with her before school and she always had fun things for me to do. And lo and behold I always learned something too. But, she inspires me in more ways than just her teaching style. She has a true love of life. I remember when she was still teaching, and she was getting a new principal, she went out and got a cool, spiky hairstyle because she didn’t want him to think she was old. I don’t think anybody could accuse her of being old. She completed her first 5K three years ago, walks to Starbucks daily, grows some of the best tasting tomatoes, and travels the world at the age of 88.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
The person who had the most impact on me was the opposite of a mentor, I like to call him a de-mentor. (Haha, get it? A dementor. Harry Potter nerd in the house!) My high school guidance counselor called me into his office one day to ask why I was taking so many college prep classes. (Duh, because I wanted to go to college.) He suggested that maybe instead I focus on more useful stuff like going to hairdresser school or joining the Army. I spent the next 9 years proving him wrong. I graduated high school, finished college in 4 years, and completed a master’s degree. As it turns out, spite is a very big motivator. My grandma always said the best way to get me to do something was to tell me I couldn’t do it, I guess she was right… it worked.
Are there any embarrassing teaching moments you’re willing to share?
In college, I was asked to teach a Jr. Chefs class for 3-5 year-olds. For our first class meeting, we were going to make a fruit salad. I had individual knives and cutting boards and enough fruit for each child to have one of everything… and I had a giant salad bowl for us to mix the fruit together. This was my big mistake. What I didn’t plan on was each preschooler “taste testing” each piece of fruit before adding it to the communal bowl of salad. The fruit salad quickly became a gross germ salad. Thankfully, I had the leftover fruit salad from the previous class of 6-10 years who didn’t do quality assurance checks on each slice of fruit. While they were cleaning up I did a quick switcheroo and we enjoyed the previously made salad. Next time, each preschooler got their OWN salad bowl too.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Humility. Be prepared to admit when you make mistakes. They are going to happen, so own them.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
I don’t have Netflix. Instead, I’m waiting patiently for the next season of Sherlock.
Why are you a part of the BOOST Leadership Team?
The BOOST Conference has been critical to my development as a professional, and I’m honored to give back so that others can also have an amazing experience.
For breakfast, I had a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread with some homemade jam and a protein shake in my coffee.