1.) You were raised in England. What was your transition like when you moved to the US?
I was actually born in LA so the culture shock was actually more intense when I moved to England as a 9 year old valley girl. My mom decided I was going to follow in her footsteps and sent me to an all-girls equestrian boarding school in the country side. Our uniform was brown and yellow. We wore brown knee-high socks, and boater hats that looked like a lot like this—see below. For better or for worse, my mom was all for what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger experiences.
2.) You’re a biking extraordinaire. Tell us about your favorite trails/biking adventures.
So I’m not exactly the biking extraordinaire that I used to be. Okay, I’m not at all anymore, BUT I still have a bike, and I just got a nice new pump that I plan on using very soon.
To answer your question, my favorite biking adventures were on my way into work when I worked at AIPAC (pre-moving to the suburbs where I now drive an SUV to work, 5 minutes away). Me and a couple coworkers would wake up before sunrise, head out to Bethesda, take the C&O trail into the city, and straight into work. Biking through the woods, next to the river as the sun was coming up… um, yeah. Best commute ever.
A specific “adventure” also happened to be on our way to work, when my friend decided to bike on the C&O canal, which had frozen over that night. The trouble was, we didn’t exactly know how thick the ice was. Okay, so we survived and there ended up being very little “adventure”, but it was probably the most scared I’ve ever been on a bike.
I did! This year (just last week), AIPAC’s Policy Conference exceeded a record-breaking 10,000 attendees. That’s over 10,000 kosher chickens in one night, not to mention a lot of Jews. The crowd couldn’t all fit in the main hall, so AIPAC had no choice but to create an additional banquet that occurred simultaneously, and at times, in “live-sync” with the Gala Banquet.
Personally, I was able to combine my love for an organization I owe so much of my life to, and my other love for producing events in my new role at VIVA Creative (a “global experiential communications” agency that specializes in, well, just about anything creative). It was hands down the highlight of my professional career to date.
4.) You’re leading the Birthright alumni leadership mission trip this summer. What will you be doing?
The incredible thing about co-chairing this year’s 2nd Annual Birthright Leadership Mission (with Jeremy Rosen!) is that we’re doing pretty much all of my favorite activities and programming from last year, and so much more that is going to be new for me—not to mention that I have 25 awesome new people I will get to know.
Personal highlight from last year, and one that we will be revisiting: Zohar Raviv and Forsan Hussein. Not only the best of friends; they are two unbelievably inspirational people in their own right. Zohar is the Educational Director of Taglit-Birthight Israel; and Forsan is the first Muslim to stand at the head of the YMCA—an organization founded to put Christian principles into practice, located in a Jewish State.
We will also be going to an army base camp, working with high-risk youths, visiting an Ethiopian Absorption Center, the Taub Center, “Present-Tense”, and so much more… but knowing that I still have another question left, I should probably move on and respect our readers’ attention span.
5.) When you’re not at a Jewish event, where can we find you?
Talking to my dad on the phone (we probably talk at least 3 times a day); geeking out on my computer making videos (“birthdays, weddings, funerals… film for every occasion”); or slappin’ the bass at Malcolm X drum circle on Sunday afternoons. For any readers that haven’t yet been, do yourselves a favor and go.