Why are you a strategist for good?
“It’s in my blood. My grandmother went door to door in her small Filipino town to promote family planning long before it was considered acceptable. And I deeply believe everyone deserves a chance at a good life. I’ve seen the effects of poverty, been denied reproductive health care, and know people who are broke because of medical bills. But I’ve also witnessed the power of second chances, seen health care when it works, and met people who are the first in their family to go to college. There is so much potential in this world — how could I not use my talents to advance it?”
What good have you done that you’re proudest of?
“I could rattle off a bunch of stuff: winning a campaign to protect access to abortion, starting a conversation about play on the front page of The New York Times, and so on. But it’s one-on-one impact that makes my heart swell with pride. The former gang member I media trained who rocked an interview on preventing violence. The nurse volunteer who had such an amazing time encouraging teens to go into health that he couldn’t stop calling to help more. The client whose handwritten letter thanked me for being his master’s program in communications. The impact starts small, but spirals into something bigger and even more beautiful.”
Who is your intellectual crush?
“Brené Brown. She researches vulnerability: how it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change — and also the feeling that terrifies us, so we suppress it to our detriment. Her research says it’s OK to put ourselves out there and take risks to make a big impact. That it’s better to know failure than be a timid soul that knows neither victory nor defeat. She reminds me to be bold in the quest for social change, and in life.”
What are people surprised to learn about you?
“In 2013, my husband and I sold everything, left our home, and traveled Latin America with just two backpacks and our 15-year-old dog, Holly. We weren’t the first people to ever do this, but people were surprised we brought our dog. I can tell you all about how to import and export domestic animals across borders, and how to negotiate with officials in Spanish when something inevitably goes wrong.”
What’s your superpower?
“I can see the future. Not like those trend-spotters who anticipate the next big thing. I can take an idea and figure out how to make it real. What will it look like in real life? What do we need? What steps do we take? And then leading people there, to where they’ve never been, because I can see it clearly.”
AUDIO: What inspires wonder in you?
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
San Francisco SPCA
The California Wellness Foundation