I’m a non-practicing attorney and founder of a nonprofit that works to elect women to office. I’ve worked on political campaigns. I’d say I’m a social entrepreneur and activist.
My husband and I met at a big law firm, where we were both regularly working until 3 a.m. After I got pregnant I said, “We can’t keep doing this.” That was tough for him; he thought of me as this professional woman. He never expected me to want to take time off. Then he got used to me being home, taking on all the logistical and emotional stuff. So when I wanted to go back to work, that was hard, too. It’s an ongoing balancing act.
I have a master’s in public policy. I’ve always been interested in political issues. In school I founded student groups, created fundraisers. I was always turning thoughts into action. I was a little lost after I had my kids. I missed being able to complete something and have someone say, “Good job.”
I felt pressure to make money in the past—both from my husband and from my own internal sense of what makes you a worthwhile human being. It’s how I was raised. My parents are both doctors, and there was this unstated pressure to achieve. If you achieved something worthy but weren’t making a lot of money, that was okay. Mainly, it was about not being “just” a stay-at-home mom. That would be throwing away my education, in their view.
My mom was a pioneer. She refused to learn to type, to ensure that no one could make her do it. She didn’t change her last name. She was in one of the earliest coed classes at Stanford. So she was like, I did all this for you—don’t take us back.
There is a tension between entrepreneurialism and getting stuff done. At the law firm, I was very productive, but it was stifling. At my non-profit, there are fewer external deadlines, so it can feel at times like there is less urgency. Working on a political campaign was a good balance between the two.
I worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, handling logistics for the Manhattan field office. I did it for cynical reasons initially—I needed the experience. But then I began to see Trump as almost an existential threat. After he got the nomination, I just thought, I’ve got to do something. It helped, in the aftermath, to know I had done everything I could.
I definitely plan to run for office. I have ideas about things I think need to be better, so I need to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve struggled before, thinking I’m not qualified, not experienced enough. But working on campaigns and seeing candidates up close helped me realize I have more than enough qualifications. And it’s time.
Interviewed on January 24, 2018