OCCUPATION: Executive Director of La Grua Center in Stonington Borough, a nonprofit cultural arts center that presents concerts, lectures, and art exhibitions.
RESIDENCE: Old Lyme.
BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Kingsville, Ohio (about 60 miles east of Cleveland and 40 miles west of Erie, Pennsylvania.
RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: At work, I’m writing thank-you letters to all the good folks who supported La Grua Center’s Summer Soiree and working on next year’s budget. On the home front, I’m helping produce a film adaptation of Susan Wilson’s "One Good Dog" and getting ready for a vacation!
I ENJOY SPENDING MY TIME: I’m a news junkie so I’m always reading about current events and politics. I also love watching movies and TV, especially Ohio State football in the fall.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Learning to fly and getting my pilot’s license – which is sadly not current.
I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Having done my small part in advancing the cause of arts and culture wherever I’ve lived and worked.
TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: Travel to Ireland, Italy (Florence and Tuscany), and seeing more of our great national parks.
I ALWAYS CARRY: A purse that is too damn heavy but I can’t seem to lighten the load (contact lens wearers will sympathize).
WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: A teacher.
MY HEROES/HEROINES ARE: I especially admire artists who have used their celebrity to do good in the world – Paul Newman and Meryl Streep come quickly to mind since they both have Connecticut connections.
FAVORITE AUTHORS: Barbara Kingsolver, Nora Ephron, Jane Austen, Michael Connelly (the Harry Bosch series), Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Connie Schultz, Frank Rich.
BOOKS ON MY NIGHT STAND: "Rise Up! Broadway and American Society from Angels in America to Hamilton," by Chris Jones; "Howard Stern Comes Again," by Howard Stern (a wonderful compilation of his long-form interviews with prominent figures); "Finding Mrs. Ford," by Deborah Goodrich Royce (probably many in the Sun’s readership are reading this - could hardly put it down!); "Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History;" and "Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War" by Nathaniel Philbrick.
I AM LISTENING TO: I’m still mired in the 70’s - James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John, John Denver, and the Eagles; also the "Hamilton" cast album.
FAVORITE MOVIES: "Bull Durham;" "Top Gun:" "Postcards from the Edge;" "Terms of Endearment;" "Casablanca;" " Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid;" "The Philadelphia Story;" "Pride and Prejudice" (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle;) "You’ve Got Mail and "Lonesome Dove."
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: "VEEP;" "NCIS;" "Madame Secretary;" "The Crown;" "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Grey’s Anatomy."
FAVORITE RADIO SHOW: "The Howard Stern Show" and NPR’s "Fresh Air with Terry Gross."
FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC: Rock/pop/folk.
TOP COMFORT FOOD: Cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES I USE MOSTLY: I’m sorry to say I’m fairly addicted to Facebook, but I rationalize that it’s part of my daily news scan because I read a lot of newspaper and magazine articles on Facebook as well as articles about arts and culture.
TRAITS I MOST ADMIRE: Honesty, kindness, persistence, and a sense of humor.
PET PEEVES: Poor spelling and punctuation (I’ve been called a member of the “comma police.")
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 richness of our region’s arts and culture.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Talking to my best friend Dianne at least once a week. She lives in Ohio and we’ve been best friends since seventh grade.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I’m a three-time TV game show loser – "Debt," "Win Ben Stein’s Money" (I didn’t), and of course, "Jeopardy."
BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: Be where you are.
ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: Life is short.
IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Ensure that all women everywhere would have access to safe, legal, and affordable reproductive health care.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Since I’m assuming a take-home win of at least $300 million after taxes so I’m keeping $20 million for my family, my closest friends and myself, and will give the rest away to my favorite arts and cultural organizations throughout the country, as well as to my alma mater, the Yale School of Drama, and Planned Parenthood. No creating a foundation – I’m giving it all away in one year.
I DRIVE A: 2015 Bright blue Ford Escape.
I WISH I DROVE A: Fully restored 1966 navy blue Mustang convertible.
ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Eggs, bacon, butter, cheese, beef and/or chicken, lemons, limes, ketchup, mayo, filtered water, wine, and beer.
IF I COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY WITH A GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM THE PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE, I WOULD INVITE: In no particular order, my party of 16 would include people I admire from the worlds of the arts, politics, aviation, and philanthropy, including the aforementioned Paul Newman and Meryl Streep; Hillary Clinton; Emma Thompson; Don Henley; Chuck Yeager; Barack Obama; Queen Elizabeth II; Oprah Winfrey; Neil Armstrong; Sam Shepard; Mike Nichols; Melinda Gates; Molly Ivins and Al Franken.
— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro