9 years ago, I moved to Colorado Springs from Carlsbad, CA. I am a true Californian, and I used to have blonde hair and blue eyes. Now? Its more of a chocolate moose brown, with silver colored tinsel.
All joking aside… The one question I am asked the most is… What qualifies me to do this job?
Well… At a very young age (11 to be exact), I was swimming at the YMCA and a talent scout was looking for “disabled swimmers.” Apparently, I fit the bill. For the next 6 years I would begin a life in the eye of the public. I appeared on shows such as Fantasy Island, The Baxters and Diff’rent Strokes. I’m sure you’re thinking “how does this relate to serving on city council?” Very simple. It was then that I learned how to relate to so many people in this world. It was during this time that I mastered the art of positive and constructive communication.
The next job that prepared me for my work life was working at The PennySaver. I must give a lot of credit to this company, as they literally raised me over a span of about 11 years. I developed my work ethic and learned to work within budgets and I had really developed a good sense of communication with the businesses I managed advertising for. I was good at my job, and I liked it.
Next I went to work for a non-profit organization you may have heard of; Canine Companions for Independence. This was my baptism into the world of non-profit. I learned how to train dogs for the disabled, and I learned how to raise funds to support the program. I loved this job, but I had a gypsie spirit and wanted to have my own organization – and did.
Spoke N Paws Assistance Dogs/ Train Rite lasted 8 years. I had a $495,000 operating budget, paid staff, kennels and over 800 volunteers. Not only did we raise and train dogs to help those with physical disabilities, but we maintained a very philanthropic presence in our community. Every year we managed the first (which was also the last) water station at the San Diego marathon. In one day we had multiple shifts of hundreds of volunteers giving out water to exhausted runners. We started at 4 AM and stopped after the last cup was picked up which was typically around 3 PM.
While running the non-profit I also sat on the board of directors for all 8 years. Let me just say, I missed a lot of sleep, a lot of weekends, and a lot of holidays. But it was by far the most rewarding job I have ever done. I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and dig into something I believe in. I believe in this city, and I will give every moment of my waking hours to preserve its beauty, and work within the confines of this land to accommodate the citizens who live here.