Who am I?
Though London is where I have lived for over 11 years, The Runyon Project’s name is inspired by the hiking trail behind my home away from home at the base of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. It's an ambition of mine to see urban environments embrace the natural world and be places we don't need to escape from to connect with nature. Urban spaces have the potential to be powerhouses of the circular, shared and eco-centric economy. There is no separation between wellness and the natural world. They are interdependent, and this is the space where I love to work, study, connect and explore.
The Runyon Project is my outlet to live creatively, with curiosity, to learn and to be of service.
I have had a long and fulfilling professional life across the for-profit world of private equity and the non-profit NGO sectors. However, I made a wise choice in 2014 - I bravely walked away from the extraordinary campaigning organisation, Avaaz, to experiment with an entirely new way of working. To slow down and design my life and work around how I wanted to feel each day - creative, mindful, healthy, inspired, helpful, grateful, curious - what followed was astonishing.
How you live each day is how you live your life.
My efficiency, effectiveness, manifestations, and creativity became more effortless, which emerged through my business supporting conscious brands and as a volunteer in the refugee sector. My days are still guided by how I want to feel in each moment and it comes very naturally: cycling, a creative work project, a walk in my local park, further education, films, my son, the wonders of living in London, the refugees I volunteer with, music, books, friends, or simply a great buzz off green tea – these are easily accessible to me. I have finally achieved work/life harmony.
You are what you love.
Social Impact is also important to me. Close to my heart, I have spent nearly 30 years working with refugees. Getting my masters in refugee studies and community development in London and working with so many fascinating and inspiring people from around the world have been amongst the highlights of my life. Of course, the reality is that these opportunities, mainly each person along the way, have given me so much more in return. There is a lot of talk about self-care in the wellness world. Equally important is care for others. Often times an hour with my refugee bike buddy will do far more than a bath of bubbles or gongs.
Beyond that, you’ll also often find me on Instagram and getting behind campaigns that aim for a more radical, reciprocal and human approach to our environment, urban landscape, equality, and wellness. On the side, I'm quietly finishing post-graduate work in Ecopsychology.
Professionally, I have nearly 30 years of experience and demonstrated success in fundraising, event management, membership growth, operations, executive support and working virtually with teams around the globe. It’s amazing how relevant and impactful these experiences continue to be in all aspects of my work as a virtual assistant.
- MA, Refugee Studies and Community Development // University East London UK
- Post Graduate Diploma, International Humanitarian Psychosocial Consultation // University East London UK
- Post Graduate Certificate, Ecopsychology // Pacifica Graduate Institute
- Certificate, Systems Theory: Systems View of life with Fritjof Capra (Capra course Alumni Network)
- BA, Major: English Literature; Minor: Psychology // Indiana University USA
The Refugee Bike Project, Permablitz, The Migration Foundation, International Rescue Committee, British Red Cross, International Study Abroad, Refugee Transitions, and The Phoenix Women's Group for Asylum Seekers.
Avaaz – 42-million-member global campaigning organisation – London/Global/Virtual
Provided virtual and online global campaign and operations support in a fast-paced mission-driven environment dedicated to narrowing the gap between the world we live in and the world most everyone wants.
British Future – Think tank – London UK
Alongside a small brilliant team, I helped launch a think tank focused on integration, migration and opportunity that was recently awarded think tank to watch in 2015 by Prospect; managed a hugely successful launch event to a packed house; chaired a panel discussion on migrant re-settlement at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics; and all while leading its operations, governance, HR and executive support functions.
Texas Pacific Group – Private equity firm – London & San Francisco
Worked in the demanding and fast-paced environment of private equity, providing international high-level support to some truly brilliant Managing Directors in the US, UK and across Asia. Expenses, visas, international travel, presentations, board meetings, international events, correspondence, email and diary management – straight-up executive level support with a positive can-do attitude.
California Pacific Medical Centre – San Francisco
Worked in the executive office of this major medical centre supporting the CFO, Board and Finance committee as well as the CEO and COO. In this highly charged environment, I was the face and voice between the CFO and executive office to the doctors, nurses and department heads.
The Health Museum – Cleveland
Trail-blazing museum focused on promoting health and well-being, I increased membership and individual donations year on year; managed the Museum’s most successful fundraising event in its 50-plus year history netting US$150,000; implemented and managed a new highly sophisticated donor database; and wrote grant proposals to fund a variety of projects and exhibits. I also managed volunteers and headed donor and member cultivation.
Indiana Arts Commission – Indianapolis
Government grant-making agency to support the arts where I designed and contributed to its quarterly newsletter; advised grant applicants on funding opportunities and applications; and provided board and executive support.