NYU mentors and memories:
I feel very fortunate that when I was at NYU, I got to know Ellen Schall. I consider her such an important mentor and a terrific leader. I actually met with her recently—she continues to inspire me, and as someone who was herself a city commissioner, she’s somebody that I can go back to and continue to learn from. I also think about someone like Ingrid Gould Ellen, who is so knowledgeable about New York City government and history. Finding those connections and learning to partner with entities that will help expand your vision—all of that was front and center at NYU. And when I look back on my time as a student, I miss having the time to sit and revel in the intellectual sphere—to read out of intellectual curiosity and delve into subjects that I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to explore. As you would imagine, my days now are very busy, and what I get to read is very much dictated by what’s going on in my job.
Pride and resilience:
After my first role with parks, I ran the Prospect Park Alliance for seven years, before I got my current job. It was important to me to be able to work right in my community and give back to something that really supported my family. With three kids, Prospect Park was a big reason we moved to Park Slope! I ended up navigating the Prospect Park Alliance through the pandemic, which was an incredibly challenging time to lead a nonprofit. Our budget was cut in half and we didn’t know how we were going to survive. We went through layoffs and furloughs and all kinds of really difficult situations, and from that experience, I feel very strongly that it is in those moments that you really test yourself as a leader, and you test the health and mettle of an organization. I’m pleased to say that we not only survived, we thrived. It showed the perseverance of the team we had built, and the community and the board really rallied around us. We got through it in a way that enhanced the strength and the viability of the organization, and I’m proud of that.