I am inspired by friends and colleagues around the world who care about empowering people and communities for purposeful, mindful, and sustainable social good. From volunteering to voting, non-profit organizations have played an important role in my professional and personal spheres.

I grew up in a family where community participation, neighborhood involvement, and civic engagement mattered as much as academic achievement. One of the most important values in our home was to connect with something larger than yourself, and to follow your passion in life towards meaningful and purposeful actions. My parents also encouraged me to learn about, discuss, and speak out on social issues that concerned me; and to build relationships with people from different backgrounds and perspectives.

As a university student, I met young people from Central and Eastern Europe before the revolutions of 1989. I admired their passion and optimism as they committed themselves to helping their home countries transition from old regimes to new democracies. Five years after the Velvet Revolution, I travelled to Europe for the first time. The Czech Republic and Poland were among the first places I visited. The people and communities throughout the CEE region continue to hold a special place in my thoughts and actions.