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Impact

Gen Y and Z are leading a new wave of consumer decision-making and purpose-driven work. Inclusivity, equality, social impact and environmental stewardship are all on the ever-growing checklist of what makes an organization or brand relevant in our quickly changing world. Over the past 15 years I have studied the movement of people and ideas, the ways that globalization has shifted culture and how development has both leveled the playing field and widened the gap. Interconnectivity is at the heart of my work. No choice we make exists without a story of what came before, and what will come after. It’s messy and complex, but it’s beautiful, too. Every choice we make matters.

My work has taken me around the world and across sectors ranging from nonprofits and education to branding and global fashion companies. I have witnessed deep poverty and corruption, as well as human flourishing and profound beauty in countries that fall high up and low down on the ‘development index.’ Certain elements remain steadfast in my approach to social impact: human relationships and dignity are everything. We must take time to understand history and the complexities at play. We need more creative approaches to the world’s most pressing issues. We have the potential to humanize people and tragedy through storytelling and cause marketing, to turn on empathy and invoke engagement.

I help people and companies understand how to use creativity in order to make a difference.

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Travel + Culture

I will never take my mobility for granted, nor my senses. I’m not a great tourist because I often don’t visit the grand sites on first go-around. I want to linger, eat, sip, watch, wander, get lost. I look at the colors, textures and palettes, smell the aromas and listen to the intonation of voices as they banter and barter. I spend time in the quiet places of worship and the noisy bustle of markets, barber shops and on the library steps. I talk to people without noticing time, listen, ask questions. I look in the eyes of strangers and remember that we are all more the same than different. I tell stories about the human experience. I use my education and experience to engage with cultural competence and awareness.

I have had the privilege of leading expeditions and documenting life in some of the world’s most remote corners, as well as photographing people in some of our most well-loved cities. From the Great Plains of North America to the Coptic Churches of Ethiopia to the Hutongs of Beijing, there is magic everywhere. Over the years I have been humbled again and again by the way strangers can open up to one another and for the access I have been granted. Because of my particular adoration for the unknown I shoot primarily 35mm and 120mm film on a Hasselblad and a Canon I’ve owned for over 20 years. Analog is not always a popular choice for this era of immediacy but my truest talent lies in slowing life down enough to really choose when to shoot the trigger.

I use storytelling to celebrate humanity and foster empathy and engagement.

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Education

Eros, the ancient Greek principle of passion and connection, was believed to be fundamental for self-realization and learning in the beginnings of democratic society. When we are ‘turned on’ and engaged we learn best. This philosophy of education has been largely switched off in modern pedagogy, much to our detriment. My own educational values are rooted in Plato, Rousseau, Steiner, Emilia, Montessori and Dewey, and paired with 21st century skills: experiential learning, relevance, cultural competency and sustained relationships. I believe that nurturing creativity in our youth will help equip them with the kind of problem solving and soft skills we need now more than ever.

I have worked as an experiential educator for refugee and immigrant populations, and as an instructor and course director for Where There Be Dragons, the famed gap year organization that took Malia Obama on her semester abroad. As a scholar of globalization my lessons and curriculum often integrate complex themes such as development, social inclusivity, the movement of people, ideas and trends, social justice and interconnectivity. I have given talks in schools and classrooms, and in remote caves and mountaintops, on these themes and others. In the digital information era, I seek new ways of connecting big ideas in ways that can be not only understood, but integrated.

I find ways to teach and learn that are relevant to the world we are living in and help build confidence in the next generation.