After a long career as a high school social studies teacher in Flagstaff, Arizona, I switched gears and went back to graduate school for a masters’ degree in urban planning. A job with the City of Aspen materialized and we moved to the RFV in June of 2016.
What was your most interesting or unusual job?
I worked at a small, family-owned hardware store for a few years when I was in high school. Beyond seeing how a small business operated, the job as store clerk taught me all kinds of things about plumbing, electrical, construction materials, etc. It was an incredible learning opportunity that later in life saved me thousands of dollars in home improvement bills – because I could do the work myself.
Why did you apply to be in RFL?
Participation in the RFL Academy has become part of the culture in my office at the City of Aspen. When it was initially described to me – it seemed like a great opportunity to network in the RFV, and a chance to pick up some new personal and professional tools as I entered a second career.
How has RFL impacted your life?
It forced me to re-evaluate how I communicate, how I respond to challenging situations at home and at work, and how I listen (or didn’t listen) to people. Most importantly, it gave some confidence to be more involved, more active, and to take a stand on the things that matter to me.
What is your definition of success?
Lying in bed at night and feeling good about how the day was spent. Do I feel solid about the conversations and interactions I had? Was I able to contribute to a solution, or did I help someone out. Was I thoughtful? Was I creative? Was I kind?
What are you most proud of in the last year?
In my previous career as a teacher, I was an expert. In my new career, I am just beginning – but in the last year, I have become more proficient, more fluent, more useful. The learning process has required me to be patient with myself.
What do regret not doing in the last year?
Not spending a single night sleeping outdoors. Really weak sauce on my part. I just realized this and it makes me pretty sad.
What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
Alpine ski touring.
What’s the best advice you ever heard?
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
What would you say to someone contemplating applying for RFL?
If you have the time and you are open to be challenged, I could not recommend it more fully.