Originally from Chicago, I have called the Bay Area my home for almost 25 years – 20 of them in Oakland. My husband and I live in Montclair, with our two daughters ages 17 and 20. Through my work and volunteer activities, I have always tried to inspire and enable others so that together we...Read more
Originally from Chicago, I have called the Bay Area my home for almost 25 years – 20 of them in Oakland. My husband and I live in Montclair, with our two daughters ages 17 and 20. Through my work and volunteer activities, I have always tried to inspire and enable others so that together we can make a difference in our communities, both locally and globally. I believe that my skills, experience, and passion for social justice could be effective in public service. At the same time I need to learn more about what it takes to develop and execute a successful campaign; that is why I am applying to Emerge.
I am currently the Chief Impact Officer at Fair Trade USA, a not-for-profit, ~$10MM organization seeking to revolutionize how businesses source, consumers buy, and farmers and workers produce and trade, creating true sustainability across global supply chains and improving the lives of farming communities. I am responsible for ensuring Fair Trade works from origin to shelf by providing producers the services they need to access markets and become better business partners; helping business understand the role Fair Trade can play in their sustainability strategies; and engaging consumers so that they understand the difference their everyday purchases can make. I run most of the operations of the company and am responsible for delivering the 80% of our revenue that is earned income. I have led the organization through a three year period of growth and innovation, launching our “Fair Trade for All” vision to more than double the impact of our work.
Before joining Fair Trade USA, I spent twenty years with The Clorox Company in a variety of innovation and brand management roles. As the company’s first Vice President, Innovation, I created and led a group responsible for developing and managing an innovation pipeline to deliver game-changing new products. I led innovation teams with members from product development, supply, sales, marketing and finance in creating new products which generated over half a billion in sales over a year 6 period. These products included GreenWorks from Clorox, the 1st national brand of effective cleaners made from 100% plant based, biodegradable ingredients; and Clorox Bleach Pen, a Business Week Top 25 new product of the year. As Clorox’s first Vice President, Sustainability, I developed a strategy to help Clorox decrease its footprint and cost while using sustainability as a catalyst for growth. I also held numerous strategy and brand management roles at the company.
During my time at Clorox, I was a pioneer in creating flexible work schedules that enabled better work – life balance, particularly for working mothers. In 1994, after the birth of my first child, I negotiated a four day per week schedule, something virtually unheard of for people at my level in this industry. As I progressed into more senior leadership positions, I created opportunities for others to work part-time schedules while still advancing in their careers. I was the first part-time person every promoted to Vice President. In addition, I created the first senior management job-share, where my colleague and I each worked three days per week and together shared a Vice President role. I am proud of this approach as it enabled me to meet my personal and work goals; it created opportunities for others facing the same challenges; and it influenced the culture of the entire Clorox organization.
Beyond work, I have always contributed my time to organizations in which I believe. I served for seven years on the board of LeaderSpring, an Oakland based non-profit that provides leadership development and management training to Bay Area executive directors. I am active in my church community as well, where I helped create our Better World Fund to invest in local and global projects and participated in service trips to Malawi and Viet Nam. I was a Girl Scout Troop leader twice (once for each of my daughters), helping young women learn the leadership skills they will need to thrive in today’s world.
I turned fifty this past summer. Come June I will be an “empty nester”. These milestones are causing me to reflect on “what’s next”. Through the Emerge program, I’m hoping to learn more about both what it takes to be elected to public service and what is required to be a good public servant.