It started with a dragon!
One of my favorite books as a child was There Is a Dragon in My Bed, a French book with English translations and the phonetic breakdown for each French word. I read it profusely and carried it around until the outside cover was tattered and torn.
That little book was just the first of many experiences that sparked a global life for me.
I’ve spent my entire life being different and learning to live and work with people who are different from me.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I learned to become resilient and adaptive to my environment, qualities I was able to flex and grow when I traveled abroad for the first time, on a school trip to Spain. It was, by far, the most transformative life experience I’ve ever had.
Traveling to another country and living in a different cultural context not only changed how I saw the world, but also myself. Renowned anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher, Edward T. Hall could not have been more right when he said:
Culture hides much more than it reveals, and strangely enough what it hides, it hides most effectively from its own participants. Years of study have convinced me that the real job is not to understand foreign culture but to understand our own.
The more I’ve learned about myself and my own cultural identity, the more effective I’ve been when interacting with people who are different from me. And I’ve learned so much from people who are older or younger than me, or from other parts of the world, or who have a different faith or ability than me. My life has been enriched by learning more about others and how they experience the world.
This has not only made me a better person, but also a better leader. I’ve been able to build diverse teams, foster cultures of inclusion, and leverage different talents and abilities to help my teams reach our goals and achieve our vision.
My international career began in Seoul, South Korea, where the lessons came quickly, some more challenging than others. This is when the resilience I had be honing all my life became a critical asset. My time there was eventful, educational, and motivated me to gain a deeper understanding of culture and how they differ around the world.
When I returned to the US, I continued to teach and train, and began to design and deliver cultural exchange programs for students, teachers, and business professionals. I was able to work with people from all over the world to develop the language and life skills they needed to achieve their global goals.
After 10 years in international education, mentoring others and building strong teams, I pursued a degree in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This was an opportunity to reinforce my personal and professional experiences and become better equipped to help people and organizations not only understand difference, but learn to embrace it.
In 2006, I launched my consulting business working as Leadership and Organizational Excellence coach, trainer, and strategist, and a champion for intercultural and multi-generational teams. During my 20 years of experience in education and nonprofit leadership to build training programs that work, and have helped teams and leaders from diverse sectors, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, New Mexico Federal Executive Board, HRMA-NM, United Way, YWCA, the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute, Meharry Medical College, George Washington University, Young Professionals of Albuquerque, and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
I have a Masters degree in Leadership and Training, and I am a Certified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®), the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence.
What else do you need to know?
– I gave a TEDx talk in 2015 that was so-beloved I was asked to become Curator for the 2016 TEDxABQ Women’s’ Event.
– The US State Department funded me to hold my flagship leadership development program, Real Leadership Live, in Sao Paulo, Brazil TWICE!
– I was a mentor for young entrepreneurs two years in a row at the SXSW V2V conference, AND host my own annual ‘speed mentoring’ event.
– I’m a volunteer junkie! I’ve been a long time volunteer with CISV International and now serve on the Board for SIETAR Europa. I also sat on the YWCA NM Board for six years and have founded several grassroots projects including WeCycle, an initiative to ensure that all menstruating people have access to menstrual care products.
And just in case:
– It’s pronounced “Tuh-mar-uh” (Not “Tam-ruh”).
– I’ve traveled to 26 countries, lived abroad in Spain, France, South Korea, Canada, and now Ireland.
– My favorite city in the world is Paris.
– If I wasn’t the doing work in leadership, I’d totally be a Chef. (I love a good meal. Except I’d never NOT be a coach and trainer.)