Month: April 2014

Melanie Hamburger

Melanie Hamburger

Melanie Hamburger is passionate about making philanthropy accessible at any dollar level, and helping women leverage their intellectual and financial resources for social impact. She is an in-demand speaker on the influential role that women now play as majority asset owners in the U.S. At Catalytic Women, Melanie works with a talented team to engage women who are influencing their wealth.

Melanie’s career spans two decades of working with leaders in business and philanthropy, and helping them impact local, regional and global issues. Her expertise spans major gift fundraising for leading nonprofits including The Nature Conservancy, brand management for Procter and Gamble, and corporate finance for Levi Strauss and Co.

Her own children are a reminder of the legacy she wishes to create. Melanie holds a BA cum laude from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She and her family live in Mill Valley, California.

Q: You have significant experience in fundraising and it looks like Catalytic Women is changing the model of fundraising for non-profits – how did you come to be such a connector?  How did Catalytic Women start?  What’s your goal for Catalytic Women?

MH: My background is in fundraising, although I think a big part of what we do is to change how people think about giving.  Women are financial drivers for social impact funding, including philanthropic giving and investment.

I became a connector because I have a great role model in my mother.  She had a huge network of friends and acquaintances.  I remember how she would introduce people.  She’d provide context so they had something to talk about; she’d find common connectors.  She made people feel very comfortable, which is important to me.  It’s simple to make people feel comfortable, but you so rarely see people really smiling and listening.  She was my role model.

Catalytic Women started with my mom as inspiration.  I had the opportunity to care for her after cancer diagnosis, before her death.  We had a tough relationship as I was growing up, but as she came nearer to her death, I got to spend some wonderful time with her.  During this time she lived in Hawaii and her dynamic of connecting turned her house into a gathering place.  People in the community said they never saw a place where everyone was welcome.  Everyone, regardless of culture mixed together and all felt welcome at my mom’s house.  Her inspiration made me think about things that I could do to make women feel welcome and confident within the area of financial giving.

Q: What mistakes do non-profits make in their approach to fundraising?  If you have a message for people seeking funding, what would it be?

MH: The goal for Catalytic Women is to build women’s financial stability and ability to give.  Charitable giving is a positive way to engage women – and not just engage them as legacy donors, but engage them NOW. There is always an opportunity to make an impact.  Small gifts over a lifetime would net millions more dollars into non-profits.  But we have found that women want to be very educated about non-profits before they donate.  Catalytic Women gives women a way to learn more about the work of non-profits,  and to connect to great organizations and with other donors.

Non-profits make two key mistakes in fundraising, which I observed when I was responsible major gifts fundraising for the Nature Conservancy.  The first mistake I saw was that non-profits don’t focus on the wife in couples, although it’s almost always the wife who drives the decision.  The second is that many people forget lower level donors can make an impact. Many nonprofits focus on that “big gift,” yet it’s the steady smaller donations that provide stable, year-to-year financial support for an organization. Balancing major gifts and steady smaller gifts is a difficult line to walk.  Ignoring people who give at lower levels is a very large missed opportunity for organization to engage donors over long term.

Q: What is your passion? How do you find balance?

MH: My passion is helping others cross the divide between I wish and I can.  This passion plays out for me personally in being the kind of person that Does instead of Hopes.  It plays out for me as a mother raising children who are confident but humble.  I’ve learned that the best way to engage is to get out there and make mistakes.  I’ve found incredibly smart, successful people from all walks of life who don’t necessarily know a lot about charitable giving. Legacy gifts are less fun than participating NOW.  My passion is getting people to leap across that divide, that chasm of fear that holds us back from participating fully.

To find balance, I need to cultivate my own eco-system to thrive as a person and professional.  For me, balance is two-fold:

  • Being present in nature, like running with my dog. I make that a priority for health and mental well-being and it gives me time to reflect. I’m a student of Buddhist philosophy and cultivating awareness and being in the moment. Appreciating what we have provides a lot of perspective.
  • Making time for my girlfriends, getting together to see a movie, having a drink, or just catching up.  I get so much satisfaction and delight from spending time with my friends.

Q:  What is the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?

MH: Being a really good parent to my two teenagers.  I’m not a natural mother.  I never babysat as a kid and I was an only child, so I didn’t have experience with kids.  I always wanted to be a mother, but I didn’t have a ton of confidence.  I really struggled with the baby years, when everyone else made it look easy. Now I’ve made changes to carve out time to be present with my teens.  It’s challenging and exciting, difficult and rewarding.  I have an especially close relationship with my daughter and I’m deeply grateful for that.  I’m really present with my son and understand the difficulties in his life.  I’m raising really good human being who are not entitled or spoiled, but want to give back and solve the world’s problems.  My children are my legacy  – raising people who make the world a better place is the gift I give the world.  I treasure this precious time before they go away to college.

Q:  What is one essential ingredient that makes you who you are?

MH:  Fearlessness.  There’s not much in the world that I’m afraid of.  And I believe that the universe is a benevolent place – that if I stumble and fall there will be a net that catches me or there will be a hand that reaches out to me.  That’s so empowering.  I’m not afraid of what could go wrong, because I can manage.  There’s always support when you need it, even though you sometimes have to ask.

Beth Osnes

Beth Osnes

Beth Osnes (PhD, University of Colorado Boulder) is an Assistant Professor of theatre at the University of Colorado Boulder. As cofounder of the former Mothers Acting Up (2002–2011), she toured a program, in partnership with Philanthropiece Foundation, entitled the MOTHER tour, to locations around the world to create a global community of mothers moving from concern to action on behalf of their most passionate concerns. In conjunction with that program, she is developing a methodology that is specific to gender equity in clean energy development, using theatre to include voices of women living in poverty in the planning and implementation of development projects in Panama, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, and the Navajo Nation. She has presented that work at the 2010 World Renewable Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, the 2012 World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver, and the 2012 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio. She also has conducted field research as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia; published books (including Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development) and many articles on women’s vocal empowerment, gender equity in sustainable development, mothering, activism, and the performing arts; and she is featured in the award-winning documentary Mother: Caring for 7 Billion (  You can see some of her amazing current work here: and

Beth is very much a mother who focused on women and women’s participation through informed scholarship activism.  The wisdom she gained through mothering and the challenges that it presents helps her to create situations in which women can participate without pretending they’re not moms.

Q: You work in Energy Access, informing consumers about effects of energy, poverty, and the strain on the Earth, which you explain in this video:

BO: In Boulder, there are so many people doing cutting edge research and innovation around energy.  Energy Access means peoples’ access to resources and what that can mean for their lives.  Since I’m focused on environmental and women’s issues, there is a natural intersection with indoor air pollution, which directly affects so many women and children.

Over one third of the world’s population cooks their food over a three stone fire.  These cooking fires are often indoors as a source of heat, but incomplete combustion causes extreme indoor air pollution.  The levels of pollution in homes cause respiratory illnesses in young children and women.  There is a strong link between childhood pneumonia and other respiratory killers and indoor cooking fires.

Q:  Clearly Mother Earth is a huge theme in your work.  How do you feel most connected to the earth (or Mother)?  Can you tell me about your film Mother: Caring for 7 Billion?  What has surprised you about the process of creating, crafting, and sharing this essential story?

BO: In so many traditions the earth is seen as our mother, the source of nourishment.  Sadly, the way we treat the earth is so similar to the way we treat women – raped, disregarded, used – and it’s part of a dominator mindframe.  We’ve seen that happen to both women and the earth.  The film educates people and says that we can transform into a fuller relationship for everyone – men and women, humans and the earth.  Allowing women to empower themselves creates women as leaders.  They have access to education and then fewer children who are more viable.  That’s the best way to stabilize population is to help women empower themselves.  That’s how we find balance.

Q: You are a theater professor at The University of Colorado Boulder.  What drew you to theater?  What legacy do you hope to leave and how do you shape that legacy?

BO: Theater is at its heart telling a story.  The way that our lives are is a story that somebody wrote; when someone writes a story, usually they get the leading roles.  We are living in a story now that isn’t really authored by women.  The women who get to author have to take on male characteristics.  The process of theater is more important to me that the performance.  I’m using theater as a tool for women to have authorship of reality – over their lives, their community, locally, globally.

Theater is a rehearsal for reality.

 I do this work called Inside the Greenhouse ( and as part of this project, I got to interview Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland.  We were focusing on creative communication about climate change.

She said, “When women lead, it’s different.”

I looked at her, “How is it different when women lead?”

“One [role] is like Margaret Thatcher where you take on the persona of the patriarchy.  But the story that I find more interesting is the other side.  Women leaders tend to make sure that every constituency is taken care of.  They make decisions based on consensus building versus domination.”

It was really cool for me to hear that perspective.  Women are essential to leadership and authoring the next chapters of global culture.

I’m in theater is because we need to take all these tools from theater so that women can step into authorship.  Somebody needs to write the story.  If we can use theater to get women to step into that authorship role, those qualities will carry over into life and leadership.

Q: How do you make time for yourself?  What gives you balance?

BO:  I don’t have balance.  I’m a little bit of a crazy person.  I don’t know how to settle down, but kids help me.  I have an understanding husband and that helps.

We use every family vacation to go do projects – once my daughter asked to “go on a vacation where we don’t help people.”  Because I’m a mom, I’ve had to show up with my kids in tow, without asking for forgiveness.  When I show up as a mother, I have a calling card that’s immediately identifiable; I am accepted in a real way when I show up with my humanity.

Q: What is something that the world should know?  Maybe the best piece of advice that you ever received or the message you have for others.

BO: I think the thing I learn the most from Mothers Acting Up is that the only way we make progress is by focusing on our shared values and working from there.  There are so many things that divide us, let’s form unlikely communities around our shared values.  If we start there we can resolve issues in a constructive way than if we start from our difference.

The challenges that the world faces are global.  We are all connected now.  The earth has forced us into a community – and that’s a huge opportunity to start with what unites us.

Q:  Who is someone who touched your life deeply?  What’s the story?

BO: My mom.  She was a fierce advocate.  She would use her voice and challenge authority when she felt threatened.  Once when I was a kid I was accused of shoplifting (I didn’t).  The clerk brought me to the owner, Mr. Evan’s, sat me in his office, and they yelled at me for an hour.  I told my mom and she marched me to Mr. Evan’s and she used her voice fearlessly.  It made a big impression on me to be spoken for and defended so bravely.  I feel like I’m still trying to channel that to teach people how to use their own voice.

Q:  What is the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?

BO: The most rewarding moments, other than being a mother and in a family, are when I’m in community with women and helping them be expressive.  Those are my peak moments on the planet.

Meghan Lewis

Meghan Lewis

Meghan Lewis is a trapeze instructor with Club Med and has traveled the globe.  We went to high school together (SASHS) in tiny Shippensburg, PA and it was interesting to catch up with her after so many years.

Q: You literally ran away to join the circus tell me about that.

ML: I didn’t start out with a plan to run away and join the circus, but it just sort of happened.  To sum it all up, I went to college and first job out of school I went to Club Med resorts to work as a receptionist.  At Club Med (CM) they are very open to you trying new things and learning new things.  I got bored with reception and then tried one of the back office positions, transportation manager.  It was fun, I liked the job, but then I saw all the other people working outside all day and that looked even more inviting.

My roommate from my first season had me try water skiing for the first time my first week at CM and I loved it so much that the waterski team asked me to be in the waterski shows with them.  So, I asked if I could learn how to drive the boats and become a waterski instructor.  They sent me to get a boat license and next season I was teaching waterski!  I loved being outside all day, but in that village waterski was only open in the summer, so I went back to transportation manager in the winters.

Then I was sent to another village, as a transportation manager, that did not have waterskiing and I still wanted to be outside.  So, I looked around the village and circus was the next thing that jumped out at me!  I spoke to e circus manager and told him I was interested in trying it out and he said anyone can work circus if hey really want to, you just have to want it.  So, I started training with them and once I become strong enough they let me perform a number or two in the shows and then when it came time to change seasons I said this is definitely what I want to do as my job daily.  Lots of hard, physical work, but I loved it.

They moved me over to the circus team and there was no looking back after that.  I don’t know exact dates, but it was probably sometime in 2007 that I started working circus.  I stayed with CM for 3 years changing villages every year and then left to go to another resort where I worked doing circus also for a year.  After that I tried a summer camp in the US working a trapeze rig and living as a counselor for ten eight year old girls!

Eventually, I came to this circus school in Oakland, CA where I have been for the past two years.  When I say circus and talk about circus there are obviously lots of different disciplines and things that people think of when they hear circus.  I mainly work on a flying trapeze rig.  At CM and the other resort, we would hold class in the morning for kids and in the afternoon for adults on the flying trapeze.  We would also perform at least twice a week.  One flying trapeze show and one indoor show.  When I say indoor, it was all the static apparatuses, like single trapeze, hoop, silks, double trapeze, and also some ground things like hand balancing, mini trampoline and juggling.  Now, at the school I am teaching at I mainly teach flying trapeze, but I also have a few classes of aerial.  It’s a fun job.  Here at the school there are regular classes every week that have regular students in then, but also people that come for the first time and also lots of groups, like birthday parties or business team building.

Anne, you should try a class!  There is a school in DC and you should make a small road trip to try it out so you have a better understanding of what I’m talking about!

Q: You’ve traveled extensively through your work with Club Med, what have you learned from your travels?

ML: I love to travel!  That was the best part of working for CM for so long!  I traveled to both resorts in the US, Colorado and Florida, Bahamas, Australia, Israel, Turks and Caicos, Thailand, and three places in Mexico, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Ixtapa.  I think it’s important that when you go to new places you try out new things and see locals and not just the resort.  I would always take advantage of the excursions the resort had to offer, but also look into other adventures that I could do on my days off.  I also learned that there are always going to be travel advisories, but lots of times they are very general.  When I lived in Mexico we had lots of guests that would cancel reservations because of travel advisories to Mexico.  Yes, there were issues going on in northern Mexico, but that was nowhere close to where we were, but yet people still cancelled vacations because of that.  I would just say look more into the advisories instead of just hearing, “don’t travel to Mexico.”  And that goes for all advisories.  I believe some people are very nervous to travel outside the US because of one or two bad stories, travelers just need to do their research on where they are going; that’s my advice.

Q: We grew up in the same small town – how did that shape who you are?  If you could give the elementary kids from Shippensburg one piece of advice, what would it be?

ML: I think growing up in a small town shaped me because of all the friends and family that I grew up with.  I feel like every kid hates their town when they are young and always wants more and thinks something else is better.  I know I did and I always wanted to leave my small town for something different.  I did leave and I did see lots of other places and now when I come back to Shippensburg I have a greater appreciation for it.  I feel like every place I went was just another small town with different people and different activities and attractions.  The best part of where you live are the people you make connections with.

My piece of advice would be to travel and see other places and try to learn another language so you can communicate with a handful of other people.

Q: What inspires you?  Where do you find your greatest joy?

ML: What inspires me is knowing that there is always going to be another adventure out there and there is always going to be something that scares me that I need to overcome in that adventure.

My greatest joy is my family and friends.  I have always lived so far away from my family, but they are always there when I need them and they are always just a phone call away.  I have friends all over the world now, so it’s nice to keep in touch with them and know that when I travel there is always going to be someone to go visit and catch up with.

Adrian Manygoats

Adrian Manygoats

Ya’at’eeh! Adrian Manygoats is a Women & Gender Studies major at Northern Arizona University, with a minor in Applied Indigenous Studies. Her personal mission is to empower indigenous women to ‘lead by example’ and do meaningful work that will benefit future generations. She is Naakaii Dine’é, born for Naasht’ezhí Tábaahí and was born and raised on the Navajo Nation.  She intends to continue to work there to create opportunities for others and to be a good role model for those who are following in her footsteps.

Q:  Your personal mission is to empower indigenous women to ‘lead by example’ and do meaningful work that will benefit future generations.  How do you do that?

AM: My approach has been to give women a voice through the Navajo Women’s Energy Project.  I encourage women to speak up about the issues on the Navajo Nation that concern them, and I do it in a way that is in line with Navajo culture. I remind people that, traditionally, women have always had a voice in things that directly affect their families and communities.  Therefore, it’s not radical or out-of-line to join the conversation about energy disparity and negligence. As a group, we work to find creative solutions that will not just affect us in our lifetime, but solutions that will expand into the future so our children and grandchildren will benefit. As for ‘leading by example,’ that methodology is something that can start at home with women making efforts to teach their children about culture, history and social responsibility.  To lead by example is to show those around you what is possible without having to say a word. It’s a way of carrying oneself through the world, and that’s something that speaks volumes across all boundaries.

Q: How has being a member of the Navajo Nation shaped your life?  What do you feel in your bones that you are aware that others might not feel?

AM: As a member of the Navajo Nation, I feel that my identity was shaped from a young age to be resilient and accepting to change. The climate is harsh, the people are sometimes harsh, and our history as a people has been harsh. One can either grow to be ashamed and run from the past, or one can make a conscious decision to stand tall and move forward with a sense of pride in being given this life, because the truth is that our people have been a part of an agenda of assimilation and genocide for more than 500 years, so the fact that we are still here with able bodies and able minds is a testament to the strength of our People. I was not spared from discomfort, pain, shame and ridicule through my life. I’ve been through some pretty rough times, and I know I’ve contributed to some of the sharper edges of Rez life, but I haven’t let those experiences take away my optimism or sense of self-respect. Every year that I grow older I learn a new lesson about who I am, and that makes me so grateful to be born Navajo, and to be able to connect with people who come from similar cultures of rich, but tragic history. What I feel in my bones… what I am aware of that others might not feel… is that there is always hope for a better future regardless of how painful the present may be. And, I think, regardless of how ugly and oppressed we may appear to be on statistics sheets and news reports, I still believe that the Navajo people are a great people that have a lot to offer the world.

Q:  What brings you the greatest joy?  Is there a moment in your life that is a peak moment?

AM: I know this is cliché to say, but what brings me the greatest joy is being presented with a challenge that seems like an impossibility and then plowing through it and watching it become a possibility. I love the feeling of success, especially when the people around me doubted it could ever be. I like showing people what is possible by refusing to give up.

A peak moment in my life has yet to be seen. I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential yet and I’m fine with that. I have a long life ahead of me, so if I can raise my kids to be good, strong people who have a deep love for themselves, their people, the land and their family, maybe then I will feel that I’ve reached the peak of my life. They are just children now though, and they haven’t been tested by Life yet. But, I hope and pray every day that when life slams them down, they will have the power inside them to get back up again and keep moving forward.

Q:  What is your message for the world?  What does the world need to know?

AM: My message to the world? Wow… that’s heady. I suppose my message to the world is to love the weirdos and misfits in your life because they were created that way for a good reason.  Society has created these norms for behavior that aren’t at all extraordinary or game-changing, and it’s unfair to those who cannot conform because they see the world differently and interact with it uniquely. I was fortunate to have a mom and grandma who saw the value of my mind and my spirit to see past my imperfections and strangeness. They never tried to put me in a box and normalize me, instead they showed me love, acceptance and discipline.  I think that’s what we need to be teaching all the children of the world. LOVE. ACCEPTANCE. DISCIPLINE.  It seems simple, but too many children grown up without those three basic things in their lives and it’s unfortunate because those are the things that form respect, integrity and duty.

Lisa Dorfman


Photographer, Heather Talbert

Photographer, Heather Talbert

Lisa Dorfman, The Running Nutritionist®, is an expert in her field- Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, Diplomat of The American Psychotherapy Association; Certified- ISAK certified anthropometrist, USAT&F & USA Triathlon coach & Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (FAND).  Personal nutritionist for dozens of professional athletes, including those in the NFL, MLB, PGA, USTA, US Boxing, USA Taekwondo, Lisa was the team nutritionist for the US Olympic & Paralympic Sailing Teams for Beijing, 2008 & has nutritionally coached & educated thousands of student athletes, coaches & parents on strategies for achieving optimal health in the classroom, in sport & in life.

Since 1983, Lisa has built a diverse portfolio including: a clinical career in over 15 hospitals & medical centers; corporate programs at numerous Fortune 500 & major financial, law public & private institutions; consultant with the Federal Correctional System, Metro-Dade Police, US Department of Customs, and for The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); as a culinary dietitian working with chefs and staff worldwide at Sandals Resorts, Ritz Carlton, Doral Saturnia, and Bitter End Resorts in the BVI  & as an educator as former Director of the University of Miami Graduate Program in Nutrition for Health & Human Performance/Professor -Department of Kinesiology & Sports Sciences , Johnson and Wales University & Miami Dade Culinary Institute.

Lisa is the author of eight books, including her latest, Performance Nutrition for Football Athletes ( ); several book chapters, former Nutrition Editor for SoBeFit Magazine & is a columnist for Miami Sports Magazine.  She has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN and the NBC, CBS & ABC affiliates and has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Runners World,  Marie Claire, O,  Glamour, Vegetarian Times &  Shape magazines.

As a competitive runner and triathlete who has competed in more than 34 marathons (PR 2:52:32), IronmanUSA Lake Placid, dozens of half marathons and 1/2 ironmans, & hundreds of running and multisport races,  Lisa competed for the United States on Team USA at the ’04 World Long Distance Duathlon Championships in Frederica, Denmark . Lisa resides in Miami, Florida with her husband and 3 children.

Lisa’s dedication, passion & enthusiasm regarding fitness fuel for health, sport & life is evident by the respect & appreciation of colleagues, coaches, athletes, students & parents worldwide.

Q: What don’t you do?!  You’re a triathlete, author, The Running Nutritionist™; have appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN and the NBC, CBS & ABC affiliates and has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Runners World, Marie Claire, O, Glamour, Vegetarian Times & Shape magazines.  Tell me about juggling your busy life.

LD:  When I was in my teens and I was the same then as I am now – I did everything—sports, student council, performance—and I am still the same way, juggling all kinds of really cool projects.  It’s not difficult for me for balance it all because the things I do are unique enough that compartmentalization is easy.

While I’m known globally as The Running Nutritionist® and I do run a lot, I’m not just as an athlete! I’m a mom, spouse, nutritionist, & a friend. But, I don’t say yes to everything, I say yes to the things I really feel passionately about.  I carefully select clients, projects, friends & experiences so that I can curate a meaningful life.

Right now, my primary role is as CEO of Food Fitness International, Inc. managing my 30 year consulting business (  I divide my time as a performance nutrition coach, professional counselor, continuing my education & training as a Reiki practitioner, Integrative & Functional Medical Practitioner at the University of Miami Medical School’s ICAMP program. Especially with grown children, I have time to juggle all this.

After the earthquake, I went to Haiti and sweated doing some grounded, meaningful work.

Q: What does grounded and meaningful mean to you?

LD: No make-up!  It means one outfit and however long it takes me to help, assist, & heal others in pain.  I’ve been a member of the international mental health relief team for the American Red Cross for several years now.  Meaningful work means using the skills and blessings I’ve had to help individuals who would never have access otherwise.  It is the meaningful conversations I’ve had with women who have been abused and taken refuge in shelters or the real conversations with real people who have experienced disasters.  It’s really who I am – If I won the lottery, I’d prefer to do this full-time.  I don’t need the glitz; the meaningful work is the most beautiful thing in the whole world.

Q: How do you make time for yourself?  What gives you balance?

LD:  I’m so about balance.  If I didn’t have balance in my life, I’d be kind of crazy, I think.  5:00-7:00am has always been my time.  I don’t do email or cell during those hours.  When the kids were young, I had a sitter come in during that time so that I would peacefully be able to train.  Those are my exercise hours.

I also set aside time for prayer, Bible study, contemplation, acupuncture, and massage.  These services contribute to my balance and well-being and keep me connected.  Even if you’re doing meaningful work, you need to stay connected to what’s going on inside.  What you feel on the outside may conflict with the inside, so we need to keep them in sync, otherwise there’s discord.

When the kids were young, they were my priority.  In recent years, it’s been paying more attention to my husband.  We’ve been together 34 years, married 32 – and that requires attention!  We lucked upon finding each other and our marriage has been very natural, even though it has gone through ebbs and flows.

I live far away from my family, so when my mom died two years ago, that piece of my life and my father required more attention.  I’m so glad that I’ve been able to give it to him.

Q:  What inspires you?  What connects you to other people in a meaningful way?

LD:  What inspires me is a big question!  It’s a loaded question.   What inspires me to keep doing what I do professionally is that I get emails, thank you’s, and feedback from students and clients. I was at University of Miami as a professor, director, and sports nutritionist.  Students would tell me “you inspired me so much.” Giving students direction is inspirational to me. The impact that I was able to make on thousands of students and student athletes is one of the reasons I enjoyed my role and U of M.  I make a difference and that inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing professionally.

Personally, what inspires me are really old people who have aged gracefully and have such rich lives.  Living in south Florida, I have a chance to meet so many people who have aged well.  And I’m getting there!  I want to be that old person who inspires others.  I was at a meeting with Stephen Covey (Author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and had us write our obituary.  I want my obituary to say that I made a difference in people’s lives.  And that inspires me to keep doing what I do.  Making a difference in people’s lives inspires me most.

Q: What is something that the world should know?  Maybe the best piece of advice that you ever received or the message you have for others.

LD:  I think the world should know that people need to be fed.  Whether that’s nutritionally or emotionally or intellectually.  People need food to function – that’s apparent when you go to a country that’s starving.  People need to be fed emotionally – held, loved, acknowledged.  People need to be fed intellectually – to have the opportunity to be intellectually challenged.  That lasts longer than most things in this lifetime.  We need to globally find a way that all people are fed.