Diversity & inclusion has been a consistent theme throughout my life. As someone who was adopted from Sri Lanka, grew up in The Netherlands and now resides in the United States, I am often told I am a walking diversity story. And it’s true that my own experience inspired my passion and deep appreciation for the human need to simultaneously be unique and to belong. It’s therefore no coincidence that my educational and professional journey have been an expression of who I am.
I have my Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands, hold a Master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have certificates in Executive Leadership and Strategic HR Leadership from Cornell University. I’ve always brought a strong D&I lens to all my previous roles, whether I was teaching high-school media and social studies, facilitating college-level Women’s Health classes at UW-Madison, or managing strategic projects at the Wisconsin Women’s Network. When I moved to Washington D.C. in 2011, I conducted research at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and was a New Leader with the Center for Progressive Leadership and the National Council for Women’s Organizations in Washington D.C. I’ve also had the privilege to be a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute| Pipeline and a delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.
Over six years ago, I joined Cook Ross Inc., a Diversity & Inclusion consulting firm, as the Learning & Development Lead. Currently a Senior Consultant at the company, I’m responsible for a varied portfolio of internal responsibilities and high-level strategic external clients. Working with numerous US-based and global organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, healthcare and educational institutions, government and nonprofits over the years, allowed me to gain broad and deep experience and expertise in D&I leadership and strategy. Moreover, it’s given me an even stronger passion and commitment to strengthen and innovate this work in our communities and organizations.
Raised in a multi-cultural home with strong ties to both Cuba and Israel, I grew up passionate about social justice, community building, and global affairs. I openly identify as a member of the LBGTQ community and am committed to using the many privileges and opportunities in my life to foster equity for others. Growing up, mis abuelos modeled an intentional orientation to engage the world whereby a meaningful life is defined by both idealism in a greater good and collective actions to realize that good.
I therefore view my professional and personal endeavors as an extension of my values. I deeply appreciate the opportunities that
have allowed me to grow while serving others, including interning at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Cuba desk of
the Washington Office on Latin America, the Racial Justice Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Atlantic Philanthropies.
As a way to provide direct service to my home community, I serve on the Board of Shepherd’s Table, a Silver Spring-based organization that
provides basic, essential services to vulnerable community members, particularly those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
For the past four years, I have worked at Cook Ross, a diversity & inclusion consulting firm, holding various roles including Project Manager, Chief of Staff, and Client Success Manager. My experience with Cook Ross reinforces the trajectory my life has taken thus far, providing a platform through which to engage in conversations about difference and a foundation from which to chart a new path towards greater inclusion and equity in society.
I’ve always been curious about what makes each of us unique, and how in all aspects of our world - home, work, community - we can see that uniqueness as an asset rather than a challenge.
My first substantial intercultural experience was studying in South India during my time at Bates College. While living with a host family and studying the Tamil language, I conducted an ethnographic research project on the negative impacts of economic development projects on agricultural villages. I returned to the region a year later to mentor other American students living in India for the first time, and it was through that experience that I became interested in developing and facilitating cultural competency learning experiences.
I went on to serve on Cook Ross Inc.’ Learning & Innovation team, where I managed CultureVision, an online platform for healthcare professionals to easily access information that aids them in providing culturally relevant patient care. Consulting for hospitals and healthcare organizations of many sizes and types solidified my passion for healthcare justice and using patient-centered care as a way to reduce pervasive health disparities. I also served as an instructional design lead for a varied group of US-based and global organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits seeking to create or improve diversity and inclusion initiatives.
In 2016, I moved from Washington, DC to Oakland, CA with my partner Mischa and our rabbit Oliver. I am now working for The Mosaic Company as a consultant to energy companies who seek to increase the effectiveness of their Learning & Development function. I also make ceramics and bake bread (while pursuing a more just and equitable world).