Hopefully, you’ve gotten a good sense of my career from my formal biography but it can be hard to get an understanding of how I came to do this work from a professional biography. To that end, I’ve described below some of the reasons I am working in this field.
I grew up in Washington D.C. with my younger brother and sister and went to my local public school, John Eaton, until 5th grade. When I was 11, we moved to Pittsburgh for my father’s work. Although I certainly had the occasional problem with my friends in Washington, being the new kid in 6th grade at an all girls school (where I had to wear a green and white striped uniform) proved to be very challenging. That’s where I truly had my first “mean girl” experiences. The next year my parents returned the family to Washington and I attended the Maret School until graduation. I went to Occidental College in Los Angeles, a small liberal arts school where I majored in political science. Oxy was a great environment for me. I met incredibly smart, down to earth people who taught me much more than what I learned in my classes.
After graduation I came back to Washington D.C. with my then-boyfriend/future husband because I couldn’t find a job in California. I had also just gotten my first degree black belt in Karate, and when I returned home I was asked if I would teach a group of high school girls self-defense. I thought, why not? I immediately loved the work. I loved seeing what teaching girls how to take care of their bodies did to their self-confidence.
But teaching girls brought up a lot of questions for me. Why were girls so quick to doubt their abilities and where did boys fit into these issues? Here comes the truly miraculous part: For some reason, there were schools who let me (a then-23 year old with almost no teaching experience) work with their students. For the next 8 years I worked in the DC-area in private schools, public schools, teen parent homes—anywhere teens were—and developed a curriculum called Owning Up™ that I now teach to educators all over the world. It’s truly amazing how it has turned out.
In 2012 I moved from Washington D.C. to Boulder, Colorado with my husband and two sons. My boys are now in 5th and 7th grade so I experience many of the same parenting challenges that I write about. Though my work is hard and I can be overwhelmed by the difficulties people share with me, I am tremendously grateful that I have the privilege to do what I love and feel appreciated for my efforts.