Truth be told, I’m a creative being. I am grateful for the exceptional professional life I have had over thirty years. But in the end, in my heart, I am an artist and a writer. My creative gifts were nurtured from birth in a small house in Oak Ridge, New Jersey. My father was pastor of a Lutheran church and my mother stayed at home with me and my sister, encouraging our self-expression and free spirits. My mother taught me how to sew, garden, cook and conceive everything from oil paintings to mini sculptures made out of toilet paper.
My sister and I grew up in quintessential Americana, with a big maple tree in the front yard and breezy white curtains that swayed in the summer. Life as the minister’s family is very unique and often more challenging that is apparent. There weren’t a lot of trappings, but our family was built on love, loyalty, and support.
After high school, I joined the West Point class of 1991. It took everything I had to learn the miliary discipline, academics, and skills to become a soldier, but I graduated in ’91 and then promptly broke my leg at Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA on jump #4. During the same summer, my beloved father was diagnosed with ALS. We lost him two year later. I think of him every day.
Once I left the Army, I went into business, earned my MBA at University of Michigan Business School in Marketing and Corporate Strategy, and worked briefly for the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C. At the same time I was painting, sculpting, and starting to write more seriously. Life should have been good. But this is where things took a tough turn.
For years I had struggled to manage a carefully hidden secret. By 2002, my eating disorder was out of control and my life was overwhelmingly dominated by the addictive behavior of bulimia. My mother and sister strongly suggested that I move home to Connecticut to focus on getting well. At the age of 33, I moved into my mother’s house and put all of my energy and attention into treatment for eight long months at the Renfrew Center in Wilton, CT. This was and remains the hardest thing I have ever overcome or accomplished. I wrote a memoir about the experience, “Whatever the Cost: One Woman’s Battle to Find Peace with Her Body,” which was published later, in 2011, by Quiet Waters Publications. (For more information about eating disorders and how you can help, go to https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/).
In 2003, with treatment completed and my life back together, I was hired by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, where I remained for an amazing and successful twelve years, working both in Marketing and Internal Communications. The time included an 18-month assignment in Germany at the corporate headquarters to work on a breakthrough drug in women’s health.
In 2015 I completed my Leadership Coaching certification at Columbia University in New York City and decided to try entrepreneurship. I started my own consulting and coaching practice. Fast forward and now I am the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at a wonderful agency, Ability Beyond, which serves and cares for people with disabilities. I keep a small leadership coaching practice on the side.
And what are my hopes and dreams now? To get back to my painting and sculpting! In the future, I’d love to support causes like The Water Project, an incredible organization that builds wells in Africa. Maybe I’ll breed and raise service dogs. And I definitely want to see more of the world. Most importantly, I want to make a contribution in some way, whether large or small … to think about what life is really about, and how we find meaning despite its complexity.
And so now I am the author of this blog.
(I’ve attached a pdf of my professional bio if you are interested). View Professional Bio PDF