In the Easy Chair with Jennifer Fusco

In the Easy Chair with Jennifer Fusco

AGE: 47

OCCUPATION: Executive Director of The Westerly Land Trust. 

RESIDENCE: Westerly.


RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Learning all the intricacies of running The Westerly Land Trust.

I ENJOY SPENDING MY TIME: Walking in the woods with my dog Sully, working in my gardens, and cooking for family and friends — all the better if it is something freshly-picked.

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Producing the land trust’s annual Farm Dinner. It is so gratifying to have an event where people enjoy local foods, meet their farmers, and make a true connection to the land that feeds us.  And (shameless plug) this year will be on Saturday Sept. 8 at Avondale Farm Preserve — visit for info and tickets!

I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Being kind, authentic, and generous … and for my dark sense of humor.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: Cage Diving with Great White Sharks, either off South Africa or Guadalupe Island.

ALWAYS IN MY POCKET(BOOK): A pouch of salt … and Italian superstition.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: A shark researcher and marine biologist.

PERSON WHO HAS INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: I’ve been influenced by so many people, but if I had to pick just one, it would have to be my father, Ed Miguel, who faces adversity with courage, strength, and a giant smile. His road of recovery from a stroke 12 years ago is nothing short of a miracle, and I attribute that to his perseverance and positive attitude. And of course my mom’s strength of character is the jet fuel in his engine.   

FAVORITE AUTHORS: Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston.

BOOKS ON MY NIGHT STAND: “Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss, The Power of the Spoken Word by Florence Scovel Shinn, and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (this last one will be on my nightstand for about the next decade because it is thick!)            

I AM LISTENING TO: The Hamilton soundtrack.

FAVORITE MOVIE: Jaws, filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, my second most favorite place in the world.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Peaky Blinders.”

FAVORITE SONG: “#41,” by Dave Matthews Band.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Anything in season. Right now, it’s BLTs, with the ‘L’ and the ‘T’ from the garden, eaten over the sink.  When the weather is cold, my mother’s chicken cacciatore and my brother David’s meatballs and homemade pasta.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I USE MOSTLY: Instagram — show me your vacations, pets, kids, and landscapes and I’m happy.  

TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: The ability to make a gracious toast and a compelling speech.

PET PEEVE: People who litter. Seriously, who do they think is going to pick that stuff up?  

FAVORITE QUOTATION: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” —Winston Churchill. I also really like when people mix up their quotes, like “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it…”

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: Our natural spaces — parks, trails, open space. And there’s nothing like a peaceful morning paddle (SUP) on one of our salt ponds.  

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Making my husband Jay laugh … usually at me.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I’m petrified of frisbees — I’ll walk a mile around a harmless frisbee game, convinced I’m going to get decapitated by one.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: Anything my sister Karen tells me. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet.  

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: “You should ask Karen.”  

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD:  I wouldn’t want to rule the world — you’d have to listen to way too much complaining.   

I DRIVE A: Navy blue 2014 Audi Q5.  

I WISH I DROVE A: Vintage Willys truck, preferably red, with buckets of fresh flowers in the back.

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Call my mother and start planning trips.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Probiotics, the makings for a good salad, and at least 75 different condiments.

IF I COULD INVITE ONE SPECIAL PERSON TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER AND CONVERSATION, I WOULD INVITE: My maternal grandmother, Jenny. She would have to cook the dinner and we could talk and cook together. I’d do anything to replicate her Sunday dinners.  

IF I COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM THE PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE, I WOULD INVITE: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson so I could be “in the room where it happened.”  Sorry, Burr.

Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro


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