OCCUPATION: Director, Rhode Island Department of Human Services.
BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: South Kingstown.
RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Advocating for state-wide pre-kindergarten, because all kids deserve a shot at a quality early childhood education.
I ENJOY SPENDING MY TIME: In the garden, getting my hands dirty with 4-year-old daughter, Emilia.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Being the mom of Emilia.
I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Ensuring that all Rhode Islanders have an opportunity to achieve their goals — for themselves and for their families.
TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: A trip to Spain.
I ALWAYS CARRY: My phone.
WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: I wanted to help people – which as a kid gave me a career goal of becoming a pediatrician.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE MOST INFLUENCED ME: My parents, my Newport Creamery boss, Mark Blumenbaum, and my NYC colleagues who “raised me” professionally.
FAVORITE AUTHORS: Jonathan Kozol, Linda Castillo, Robert Dugoni.
BOOKS ON MY NIGHT STAND: Emilia’s favorite bedtime stories, “Dragons Love Tacos” and “Goodnight Stories for Rebel G,” and my current novel, “The Woman in Cabin 10," by Ruth Ware.
I AM LISTENING TO: Whatever Spotify suggests.
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: “Wine Country.”
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: "Veep," "Project Runway" and "Top Chef."
FAVORITE RADIO SHOW: The Podcast "Pod Save America."
FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC: I have a wide and eclectic taste in music.
TOP COMFORT FOOD: Anything made of potatoes.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I USE MOSTLY: Facebook - Check out the Rhode Island Department of Human Services' account!
TRAITS I MOST ADMIRE: Honesty, integrity and compassion.
PET PEEVES: Sexism, racism, all other -isms.
FAVORITE QUOTATION: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." –Margaret Mead.
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The beach.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Family and friends.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I’ve never ice skated.
BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: “Instead of worrying about if you can accomplish what’s before you, rely on the fact that you’ve come through every challenge set before you in the past.”
ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: As a working mom, the idea that you can achieve “balance” is a myth. You will likely feel like you are always failing at (at least) one of your roles. Be patient with yourself, do your best, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Ensure all people have the opportunity to make economic progress.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Take a long beach vacation.
I DRIVE A: Blue 2010 Equinox.
I WISH I DROVE A: don’t care 😊
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Snacks for my daughter: apples, chocolate milk, cheese.
IF I COULD INVITE ONE SPECIAL PERSON TO JOIN ME FOR DINNER AND CONVERSATION, I WOULD INVITE: President Barack Obama.
— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro