"I’m a fourth-generation New Mexican born in Albuquerque. My family's story here began in the 1890s when my great-grandfather immigrated from Italy to open taverns along First Street. As the city went through two population booms, my grandparents and parents opened their own businesses in the Heights and poured their hearts into this community.
After graduating from St. Pius, I went to the Midwest for college and spent 20 years in Chicago learning to raise funding for bold expansions of arts nonprofits.
New Mexico, however, called me back. Our sun, our mountains, our bosque, our people. Nothing else is this. I moved home with my husband and son in 2016, finding my hometown full of unexpected gifts and a few stubborn challenges.
The first year home was sidelined by my breast cancer diagnosis. Several months of treatment made me a proud survivor with a sharpened sense of purpose.
In the time since, I've launched a thriving business helping nonprofits expand their work -- and served as the volunteer leader of the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. Fed up by Congress' lack of action, we organized thousands of actions across the state to pass two landmark bills for gun safety in the Roundhouse that many said were impossible. We also helped elect dozens of candidates committed to ending all forms of gun violence, and we built community partnerships that are saving lives right now.
My family, career, and advocacy work have taught me three things:
How to make a big idea real with energy, strategy, and focus
Grit and resilience succeed every time
It's only worth doing if it improves the quality of life for everybody