I have been a leader in the movement to help cities become more healthy, equitable and sustainable for over a decade. My values are shaped by my life experiences, which have brought me to communities as diverse as rural Minnesota towns and rapidly modernizing African cities. I have a gift for bringing people together to get things done.
As your City Council Member, I will draw on my Minnesota roots and international experiences, passion for healthy cities, and my personal resiliency to ensure our neighborhoods become an even more vibrant and unique place to live within a thriving city.
Minnesota Roots, International Experience
After growing up in the Twin Cities, I attended the University of Minnesota. Traveling to study Spanish in Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba during a time of rapid globalization, I saw the need to actively support equity in communities facing growth and change. After college, I moved to New York City with no job, but with a dream to make a difference in communities around the world.
I worked my way up from an unpaid internship to serve as the Communications Director for the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, headquartered in NYC with staff around the world.Through my work at ITDP, I saw how transportation options and improved mobility made a huge impact on people's day-to-day lives. I then earned a Master of City Planning degree from UC Berkeley and worked as an urban designer for the City of San Francisco. There, I led a public dialogue and design effort to improve public space in the vibrant and growing Mission District. Many of our recommendations, including a night market, parklets and improved bicycling infrastructure, have now been implemented.
Creating Healthy and Safe Places in Minneapolis and Statewide
Returning home to Minneapolis, my husband Ryan and I bought a home in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood and joined the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association. Professionally, I have worked for several years to revitalize the state's Safe Routes to School program, improving safety and health for children across the state. In my free time, I founded the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and worked with other volunteer leaders to build an organization that has hosted six Open Streets events and helped bring about infrastructure improvements including a new median to improve safety at a Midtown Greenway crossing. As the Ward 10 representative on the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), I have successfully increased citizen participation in decisions about Minneapolis streets and made the case for implementing bicycle improvements as part of street construction projects at little cost.
A little over two years ago, Ryan and I were happily expecting our first baby. Our lives changed forever when I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 12 weeks into my pregnancy. Determined to fight cancer and protect my growing baby, I worked with my doctors to craft a plan that would give me the best chance of beating cancer and our baby the best chance at a healthy, normal life. After a challenging seven months that included surgery and chemotherapy, our daughter Alice was born perfectly healthy. Now an energetic toddler, Alice keeps me and Ryan focused on what is truly important in life. We are so grateful to be expecting our second baby girl this fall.
I am now healthy and cancer-free and have become a passionate advocate for research, prevention and access to health care. I have shared my story many times, one-on-one with women newly diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy and to more than eight million people on a broadcast of the Nightly News, in the hopes that it can help other women. I emerged from this experience ready, more than ever, to give back to the beautiful City I'm proud to call home.