Happiness, knowledge, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour…
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
The Practice. If you look closely at the photo, I am with my tai chi family in the space between, the empty center. The practice of Tai Chi has brought me to my knees these last few years and rooted me to "this place and this hour". I have rebuilt my life's work and fortified my personal life force within and through this deeply contemplative practice. My story begins with a naive, idealistic, yet noble ambition; I was going to save lives, and maybe the world.
Pattern Hunting. The world was always showing me patterns from the time I can remember. I could viscerally feel connections between the material and spiritual worlds. What does one do with that? I could not narrow down to one field of study, so chose the interdisciplinary field of Communication Studies, and proceeded to get two degrees. At first saving children from television and mass media was the motivator; saving the innocent from manufactured realities with too much power and a tentacular force driven by technology that had the potential to run away with itself. Was the medium the message or the message the medium? Questions still entirely relevant today with AI becoming our new techno mantra. By graduate school it was about harmonizing human and non-human beings. Growing up I spent every summer in the hills and woods of the Berkshires and along the oceans' edges. I was never inside until I was forced back into my wooden school chair each September. A good share of my childhood was spent thinking the smell of leaded gasoline was delicious while sitting in line on even number days to fuel the family car during the first energy crisis. Capitalism was wielding its sword across the globe and I could only see injustices mounting. As a very young child I bore witness to the grief over the assassinations of so many civil rights leaders. I wanted to save lives and the planet, as well as generate peace and love for all beings. I couldn't separate me from them. I now understand that I am an empath and took it all in personally. I kept reading and studying. My master's thesis at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication was the first academic work to document top down, bottom up collaborative community-based processes to support Federal Wild & Scenic River designation.
Teaching and Learning. I am a teacher and a student. With three decades studying and working in environmental communications as a cultural translator and story teller, my most recent work is in higher education where I am committed to mentoring students on contemplative practices and community-connected learning. After grad school I spent time as a journalist learning to write, report and shape stories. I have been the "client" working inside government and the non-profit management world, and I continue to be the "consultant" offering up strategic communication strategies to build coalitions and design stakeholder processes to shape public policy and design programs. I have produced 100's of publications, white papers and market research studies, as well as multi-media reports and events for dozens of private and public sector clients including government, NGO, higher ed and non-profits. Dubbed an "intrepreneur," I have been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America and others for my work. In Seattle I was part of the fastest growing women-owned public affairs consulting firm from its inception. In Vermont I served on a Cross-Cutting Technical Work Group of the Governor's Climate Change Commission in 2006-2007. Prior to Climate Change becoming the most pressing and urgent problem on the planet, I co-chaired an international communications working group on Acid Rain for the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference. My teaching includes college courses on social marketing, sustainability, as well as the Senior Practicum in the Environmental Studies Program at Middlebury College. I currently co-teach The Perennial Turn in Ag and Culture and teach my own course Approaching Sustainability from the Roots both in the Environmental Studies Program. I also work with the New Perennials Project at Middlebury College.
Service to Community. One of my guiding principles is to be of service to my community. I am on the Board of Directors at the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op where I chair the Communications Committee and serve on the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee. Along with studying and practicing Tai Chi Chuan and Chinese Theory and Philosophy, I take nature photos with just a smart phone, read, write, saunter and sea kayak. My place is New England where I live on the lands of the Abenaki and Mohicans
If you want more, check out my full cv/resume.
Where does your story begin? Where is it today? What guides you?
Let's explore you together.