How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been philanthropic, but after my children were grown and entered college, I found myself with more free time. I took this time to immerse myself into causes I am passionate about – animals, individuals with special needs, and the arts.
What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I don’t work for a living, I work on making the world a better place for those in need.
How do you define success?
Success to me is when I hear we raised enough money to send the Special Olympic Athletes from Miami-Dade to nationals to compete. Success is seeing that pup I took from Miami Dade Animal Shelter (MDAS) get released from the hospital, her hair grown back, and finding out she has found her forever home. Success is knowing a talented young artist will have a scholarship from our fundraising efforts and be able to follow their dreams and inspire us all with their work. Success is good health, love, and lots of laughter in my life.
What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Some of the most rewarding things? I think I just mentioned some them in my definition of success. Walk In Style For The Animals and the community response to this event has been extremely rewarding. Hearing that something I am doing is inspiring others is an incredibly rewarding feeling. But outside of those, seeing my sons grow into the amazing men they are now has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I am extremely proud of them and who they have become.
What have been some of the hiccups (mistakes) along the way and what have you learned from them?
I have learned that you must get things in writing, not everyone values commitment as you do. That was a lesson I sadly had to learn the hard way. The most important lesson – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I would love to take Walk In Style For The Animals nationwide to be able to reach even more animals in need. I am a huge animal lover. Animals do not have a voice, we must be their voice and advocate on their behalf. Educating people on spaying and neutering their pets so we can get the pet population under control and have less animals in our shelters is a longtime wish. Euthanasia of healthy animals in shelters due to overpopulation and a lack of funding and resources is truly heartbreaking.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am honestly inspired everyday by people. The world has so much negativity as of late, anytime I hear or read about a heroic fireman dying fighting a fire, a soldier killed in the line of duty, a woman rescuing dogs from certain death in China, a boy with special needs who started his own company making socks – this is all incredibly inspiring. This is probably the most inspiring to me actually – ordinary, everyday people doing their part to make the world a safer and better place or overcoming challenge and accomplishing things no one thought they could. These are truly inspiring people.
What makes you truly, genuinely happy?
Happiness to me is waking up to wet puppy noses on my cheek, spending time in nature, being with my family, laughter with friends, and knowing something I did today made a difference to someone’s life.
What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
Don’t do what you think is expected of you – follow your dreams and do what makes you happy! When you do things that make you happy, everything else falls into place. Let go of what is not meant for you, so you can make room for what is.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
I think it is assumed that I don’t work. While I don’t have a “job”, I work harder for the causes I am passionate about that I ever did when in the workplace. My schedule is always full and I am always working on something – oftentimes a few things at once.
Any words of inspiration or your favorite quote?
“You can’t go deep when you are swimming in a shallow pool.”