What is your job title?
Contributing Correspondent at Today, Editor-at-Large for Southern Living, Author, Still a teacher-at-heart, and most importantly, Mom to Mila and Poppy.
What are three words you would use to best describe yourself?
Passionate, loving, driven.
How have your children inspired you in your career?
My daughters have shown me the importance of compassion and giving back more than ever. I want to show girls that they can be strong, capable, and know that they can do anything they put their minds to.
Now that you are a mother of two girls, how do you carve out "me time" and balance your impressive career with family life?
Exercise is so important, it allows me to reset. I cherish time with my husband Henry and the girls, so I’m okay with downtime being family time. However, if I can make time for a long walk, run, or sneak in a spin class, I feel so much more relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards. I also love a good dinner out! Have to find the balance, right?
What is your favorite family activity in NYC ?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time outdoors. Some of my happiest memories were just discovering the beauty of the natural world around us on hikes, or at our family ranch. Since my kids are growing up in a city, we try to be outdoors as much as we can. We go on walks and visit our local park in downtown Manhattan. We also love a good, family dance party! There's really so much we love to do in New York--Mila was fascinated by the Museum of Natural History.
What are your favorite classes that you have enrolled your children in to date? What made these classes so special and beneficial to your girls' development?
Dance with Miss Rachel, Super Duper Soccer, and Elite Gymnastics. All of these activities have allowed my girls to meet friends in our neighborhood and explore what could be passions--or possibly, more likely, fun habits!
What has been your most memorable family vacation and why?
Taking our girls to visit my grandparents in Maine. It means the world to me that my daughters get to meet their great-grandparents in their nineties. Those are memories they will never forget.
What values do you hope to instill in your girls?
Kindness, curiosity, and compassion. Recently, I went to a parent teacher conference for Mila (I didn't realize they had parent-teacher conferences in preschool!) and her teacher said she’s very empathetic. When somebody is sad, she’s sad, and when others are happy, Mila is happy. I burst into tears because as a mother you worry all the time about what you’re exposing your children to and how it will shape their character. I know at a certain point kids grow up and form their own opinions and forge their own paths and you can only hope that empathy will guide their interactions with others. So, when I heard that kindness is inherent in Mila’s disposition, it was such a compliment to her and a proud moment for me.
What inspires you most about UNICEF's work?
As a mom, I know that all mothers want the same thing for their children—they want them to grow up happy and healthy. Yet, due to conflict, displacement and poverty, millions of families around the world are struggling to survive without access to essential services like clean water, adequate nutrition, healthcare and lifesaving vaccines. As a result, children are sick from preventable and treatable causes, missing out on school, and at risk of losing their futures. So, after college I moved to Latin America to intern with UNICEF, an organization that has worked to save, improve and protect the lives of children and families around the world for over 70 years. During my time with UNICEF, I met some of the most inspirational women in my life – young mothers, who in the face of terrible adversity, were determined to improve their situation and give their kids the best possible start in life. I was able to see UNICEF’s work firsthand; These women were working to create a nurturing and protective family environment where their children could grow and thrive.
What is UNICEF NextGen? How did you get involved in this cause?
UNICEF Next Generation is a group of young leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm toward supporting UNICEF’s lifesaving work. Members study issues that affect children around the world and choose UNICEF projects to support through education, advocacy, skill sharing/remote volunteering and fundraising. Through their activities, NextGen members mobilize their networks and inspire their generations to take action on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children.
When I returned from South America, I wanted to continue my involvement with UNICEF, and share the incredible stories of these children and their families with my network and peers. At the time, Casey Rotter was doing important research on UNICEF’s donor trends. She found that the majority of UNICEF supporters were in their sixties, yet we both knew so many people who had been involved with UNICEF from a young age, and who wanted to find a way to feel connected to a global cause. As a result, we co-founded UNICEF Next Generation, and the community has continued to grow nationally (to about 700 members), with global contingencies in London, Paris, Sweden, and more! Anyone who is interested in joining us, please visit www.unicefusa.org/nextgen. We have an incredible global family that supports each other, UNICEF and children throughout the world.