You’re a mama, of course! How many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have been blessed with two girls. My oldest, Caroline is 5, and my youngest, Rose is 2.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Annapolis? What made you decide to live here?
I grew up in Arnold and I went to St. Mary’s from 1st through 12th grades, so I consider myself an Annapolitan having grown up in the heart of downtown. My husband and I have built our foundation here in Annapolis, from when we started dating when I lived downtown, we rented in Homewood, then moved to the Broadneck Peninsula 8 years ago. This is where we have planted our roots, traditions, and our village.
What’s your favorite family activity to do in the Annapolis area?
We love taking the kids to the various parks of Anne Arundel County, many right here in Annapolis and Arnold. One of my kids favorite things to do is go downtown to feed the ducks.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Annapolis?
Annapolis is so rich in history, aesthetic, and activities. All seasons bring new opportunities and perspective here. Then the obvious, is that Annapolis is so centrally located. It’s 2 hours east to the beach, 2 hours west to the mountains, 35 minutes north to Baltimore, 45 minutes west to D.C. The accessibility and travelability of our location is key for our family and our work.
What have you learned from your children?
I’m still learning daily but definitely to not sweat the small stuff. The time is just moving so fast and our girls are growing like weeds, appreciating the small things is definitely the most important.
What’s something you love that’s just for you?
Best mom hack that makes your life easier.
If you can, pay for the services where you need help. The money you spend is worth the time you get back in your life for yourself, your spouse, and your family.
Best advice for mom guilt.
Be kind to yourself. You are trying your best!
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
My mom, who is my best friend. She has been through a lot in her life and still is one strong boss babe. (Her mom was too!) She demonstrated what it was to be a strong, classy, caring, fair, and fun mom who can do it all while also throwing down in the kitchen. I hope that my girls look at me the way I look at her.
Name something you hope your children look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama.
I was there, I made it happen, and I never left. I want them to see me and see a boss lady. I want them to know and feel that I can be present but also have a career. I want them to know that you don’t have to choose and you can do both.
Greatest gift about being a mom.
The love that I have for my girls has changed me forever. And truly in ways that I am not sure I even knew about in myself already. Does that make sense? I’ve learned to be selfless and in turn I’ve learned to prioritize myself to be the best mom I can be. The power I have with guiding, loving and supporting two young women into whoever they want to be is indescribable.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Fun Fact: I’m oddly good at shooting double clays and I can recite any and all 1990’s and early 2000’s hip hop/rap songs.
You’re the Assistant Secretary of Customer Experience at the Maryland Department of Health. What is your typical day like? How did you choose your career?
Starts at 6:30am, get the kids dressed, fed and off to school with my husband. Depending on the day, I’m either working from our Baltimore or Annapolis offices or working from home. My meetings start anywhere between 730 a.m. and 8 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m. I work directly with constituents, my colleagues across our agency and other state and federal agencies, as well as health care providers across the state. I manage a vast portfolio of constituent facing services and staff that support and provide resources for public health, behavioral health, and those in the I/DD community. I also serve as the senior operational advisor for the COVID-19 Recovery mission. For more than 12 years, I worked in the private sector, in marketing, sales and public relations. I had the opportunity to campaign with my friend Mike Pantelides for Mayor of Annapolis and we won the election. I then served as Chief of Staff for his administration which exposed me to government work, the crippling bureaucracy to get things done, and the passion for giving back to the people. Ever since I worked in the city of Annapolis, I’ve dedicated my career to streamlining services, cutting through the red tape to provide transparency and access to Marylanders to lifesaving services and resources. Public service is a passion, grueling and gratifying all at once. I’ve learned more about myself, my goals, and my community in the past 10 years of public service than I have in my past 20 in the workforce.
I worked INSANE hours during the height of COVID. My family and I made sacrifices that I’ll never be able to take back BUT somehow, someway, we made it through. Those sacrifices paid off significantly through promotions but also brought a major perspective into what I want and need to prioritize in life. My girls are only going to be this young once. They need me to be present to read in their classroom, to pick them up at the drop of a dime when they’re not feeling well, and to go on that field trip. For me it has allowed me to understand the balance of family and career and what my priorities are as my family will always come first.
How has your community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
It is true what they say, it takes a village. A village and community of physical and emotional support to keep the wheels on and to keep this train moving forward. My husband, my parents, our nanny, our friends, and our school community all play a significant part in each of our lives to make it happen. For that, I am forever grateful.
We love to support local businesses. What are your favorite local places to:
Get coffee: Rise Up Coffee
Go on a date night: Lewnes, Knoxies Table, Vida Taco
Go out for a girls night: Vin 909
Go out to dinner as a family: Boatyard Bar & Grill, The Point Crab House
Get your hair done: Blush Hair Studios
Get your nails done: Bella Luxe in Severna Park
Have fun as a family: Kinder Farm Park
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) provides array of life saving resources, information, and services to support and improve the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and community engagement. MDH is broken down into 5 administrations (Public Health Services, Developmental Disabilities, Maryland Medicaid, Behavioral Health, and the Maryland Hospital System) and 1 executive branch that manages the overall customer experience, budget, policies, communications, and external affairs. You can find more information at health.maryland.gov. You can also follow @mdhealthdept on Instagram.
Photography by @alexhdphoto and @seancolemanhunter