It all started when...
From the time I was a little girl, I gravitated to helping and working with those who needed extra assistance. Whether it was a kitten needing cuddling, a lost dog, little kids, those challenged physically or mentally, or the elderly, that is where I tended to be.
My interest and introduction to work overseas began when I was chosen as a foreign exchange student in high school, and I went to India to live with a family there. These many, many years later, we are still in touch, and we visit with each other as often as we can. My Indian "sister's" son's wedding was in Texas a few years back, which brought me and my children to a wonderful three-day, traditional Indian wedding celebration in Austin and Houston!
I entered my college years wanting to be a veterinarian, but, alas, in those days, chemistry and calculus were not my friends, and, so, I went in the direction of English Literature and Fine Art (with a dose of biology on the side). My undergraduate degree ended up in Fine Art, with a focus on Painting and Sculpture, while I continued to take Creative Writing and Neurobiology classes. Later studies took me 'round again, and I completed a Masters of International Affairs (Ohio University), a Masters of Public Health (Johns Hopkins University), and a PhD in Health Communication (University of Maryland).
My adult life has continued to pull me in the directions of the sciences, the arts, and public service. I am pleased to be able to draw on my love of all, as well as an inherited "gift of gab." I have lived and worked throughout the world, on nearly every continent (except Australia and the polar caps), and I incorporate all that I love about these cultures into my work and relationships with others. I have had the opportunity to see and do many things, from working in a City of Light Leprosy Hospital in Yemen, to providing assistance to a child survival program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to designing a community-based coca (not the beverage or the chocolate!) prevention media campaign and communication program in Ecuador.
In the year 2000, I started learning about child sexual abuse (CSA) because of information that came to me via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I dedicated myself to trying to do something substantial about it, given the numbers it affects, the devastation it causes, the discomfort of most everyone - and my knack at designing and implementing difficult programs. There was so little being done about it - something had to be done. I started an organization called Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc., which continues and I run to this day.
I have taken all of what I know and have seen and learned, and I wrap it into full-flung prevention and mitigation programs and inspiring, motivational, and educational talks. I think you will enjoy what I can offer and bring to your group!