Tell us a little more about yourself – where are you from, what did you do before you join the Foundation?
I was raised in Europe until age six and then grew up primarily in the US. During college and graduate school, I had the international bug – Spain, Mexico City, London, DC, and New York – all favorite places to call home. After many years of city living, I now reside in Greenwich, CT.
I came to the Foundation from KPMG LLP where I worked as a strategic consultant in sustainable development and philanthropy. My work with foundations, the UN, nonprofits, and business was focused on ways to achieve impact through partnership. Before KPMG, I was lucky enough to work on Capitol Hill and within the US government trying to figure out just the right mix of nonprofit, business, and government engagement to create economic opportunity around the world. Now, I hope to translate these experiences in my new role with the Foundation as we create pathways for students and teachers across the K-12 computer science and maker landscape in the US.
Why did you join the Foundation?
The opportunity to join Infosys Foundation USA was a strike point that I seized to bring me back to my passion for unlocking the potential of youth to achieve academic and professional success. From my first interview, I knew the Foundation team was genuinely committed to investing in underrepresented communities across the US to give students and teachers the practical skills they need to succeed in our increasingly digitalized world. The fact that the Foundation was zero'd in on advancing computer science and maker education for K-12 students and their teachers was a bonus. The purpose-driven commitment of the Foundation directly aligned with my own professional passions to unlock talent and create career pathways for all. The Foundation has made an impressive mark to date. Working closely with my team and our partners, I think we can really bring the mission of the Foundation to bridge the digital divide to even greater heights.
What makes you passionate about the work the Foundation does?
While my career has been primarily internationally-focused, my heart has always been in education - particularly for children living in under-resourced, underrepresented communities. This spark goes all the way back to my high school summers when I volunteered with elementary school children in Bridgeport, CT and has continued throughout my career with the Children’s Aid Society in New York, a model UN program in Washington, DC, and currently my engagement with Wake Forest University and Johns Hopkins alumni networks. They say in life that all good things eventually come around. I've already had that moment since assuming the Executive Director role at the Foundation as one of our grantees, Teach for America, was where I had set my own sights decades ago.
Growing up, who was your role model/mentor?
The respect for teaching and the belief in the capabilities of every student comes from a mix of wonderful teachers in my own educational journey and probably a bit from my mother. She was an educator for most of her life – teaching Russian first and then sixth grade until she retired. Her commitment in the classroom was further matched by a commitment to the community. She was a dedicated volunteer and board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs in CT, spending many evenings working hand-in-hand with children who did not have support at home. Those values equally are embedded in me, and I hope to bring that heart to new Foundation partnerships going forward. The fact that the Foundation recognizes the need to invest in children AND their educators is right on point if we are going to empower the next generation with the digital skills they need to thrive.
Where do you see the Foundation headed in the next few years?
The Foundation is well positioned to have a powerful impact in the coming years. We have a dynamic Board, a passionate and talented team, and a number of unique programs and tools to reach the K-12 community. We will continue to deepen our existing relationships with leading nonprofits who are blazing trails in the computer science and maker space, and leverage the energy of employee volunteers at our Infosys Hubs who are ready to deploy their own talents to help us realize our aspirational ambitions. The digital age requires a laser focus on skill development to prepare the US workforce for jobs of the future. The Foundation is committed to creating dynamic pathways to achieve opportunity for all.