If you weren't working in research, what else would you be doing?
Volunteering. I think volunteering is so critical in society these days—not only to get good deeds done that wouldn't otherwise get done, but also to just regularly experience selflessness and immerse yourself in some of the ugly, raw parts of your community that you don't see every day. After grad school, I had signed up for the Peace Corps, and I was assigned to business development in Sub-Saharan Africa. I couldn't wait to spend two full years helping people who needed it. But the summer before I was supposed to leave was the summer of some major federal budget cuts, and my assignment was delayed indefinitely.
So, I had to move on. Fortuitously, that was when I found Bovitz, but that desire to serve in a big way has always lingered inside me. I've led a normal but privileged life, and I believe that along with that comes a moral responsibility to help those who haven't. I still volunteer regularly in my community now, but I'm always wanting to do more.
Tell me about one of your first jobs.
When I was in high school and college, I worked at Chuck E. Cheese's. And I loved it. Part of that is because I just love working; I also had a job at a grocery store at the time, and between the two, I worked seven days a week—while in school—because I just couldn't get enough. I loved all the different jobs at CEC—ringing up orders, fixing games, giving kids prizes, cutting up stuff for the salad bar, hosting parties, cleaning tables, making cotton candy—whatever it was, I wanted to do it. The best days were weekends when I would be hosting 5 or 6 parties, running around non-stop to execute them flawlessly—all with my co-workers doing the same thing, with the same level of hard work, determination, and excellence. It was so fun, and it was a bonding experience. To this day, some of my best friends are people I worked with at Chuck E.'s.
The guys who ran the place were amazing, too. They were so focused on customer service. They would keep notepads in the back office with all kinds of facts about our customers—who just had a baby, and whose son just went off to college and where, and who always likes their pizza cooked a certain way. We had so many regular and loyal customers because of that. It was incredible—you couldn't help but also adopt that dedication to excellent customer service, even just as a regular employee. I mean, I had families who would request me year after year to host their kids' birthday parties. That is something special. And yes, of course, sometimes I was Chuck E. But even that was a blast—you had the perfect excuse to dance around and be silly and do whatever you wanted. That place was so much fun, all the time.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by a lot of things, but mostly people. I like watching and hearing people just be human. I like witnessing them process thoughts and emotions—speak and feel what's true for themselves. Those kinds of basic experiences remind me of both the uniqueness that's in each of us, and the sheer humanness that's in all of us. I just love that constant reminder that, while we have so much to share with each other and learn from each other, we can also always relate to each other on a basic human level. I have so much respect and admiration for the uniqueness of people.
Tell me about one of your favorite people in the world.
My husband, John, is my favorite person in the world. He's just amazing. He is so incredibly sweet and loving, and he's very genuine in how he expresses himself in those ways. I think that's rare and it's beautiful and it makes our relationship completely raw and real and endlessly giving. My mom always told me that you should be with someone who brings out the best in you, and John does that and then some. He makes me want to be a better person. I learn so much from him all the time—how to be more relaxed and go with the flow, how to be more spontaneous and adventurous, how to be more patient and forgiving. Just by being himself, he shows me all the good that can come from getting out of my own way sometimes. I feel extremely lucky every day to have him in my life.
Why is being people-first important to you?
I live for growth—growth with meaning. And I measure that by things that matter to me—skills learned, miles ran, smiles caused. I think companies should constantly get better, too. Not measured by dollars earned, but by problems solved. The money will come—but it's a sad, hollow way to define success. So, I'm here to help people and organizations find meaning, create value, grow, and become better versions of themselves.
What's your favorite type of research project to work on?
It's hard to choose, but my favorite, favorite, favorite projects are both qual and quant. Those two sides can do so much to complement and explain each other, and I very much operate in both realms; I have the super emotional, creative, storytelling side to me, and I have the analytical, mathematical, logical side to me. When I marry those is when I feel that I can tell the best, most complete story. I'm also a big triangulator when it comes to analysis, so I love having multiple points, some qual and some quant, to support the same idea. That makes me feel really good about believing in what I'm seeing and saying and sharing about what is true out there in the world.
What's one thing you love about working at Bovitz?
I'm going to cheat here because my one thing is kind of everything. In my life, I prize this feeling that all is right in the world. There are just some moments in life when everything feels perfect. It might not look perfect on paper, but it feels perfect, complete with all of its flaws. It's this feeling that all of these different pieces of your life have aligned in some way that just fits and feels right. And that idea, that feeling, is what Bovitz is for me. Between the work, the people, the culture, and the way we operate—Bovitz is all of those pieces magically coming together in a way that just feels so right for me.
The foundation of many of those pieces is the people. And these are my people—these are people who I have real relationships with, who I admire on so many levels, who I'm just so completely comfortable with and genuinely care about and want the best for. To have that at a company where you also love the work and you truly believe in what you're doing and what you stand for—that's unbeatable. It sounds so big, but it's truly how I feel. Bovitz is where I belong. And I'm forever grateful.
Tell me about some of your colleagues.
Jenny is my rock here. I don't know what I would do without her. She's always there for me for any type of emotion I'm feeling. If I'm down and need someone to commiserate with, if I'm inspired and need someone to create with, if I'm stuck and need someone to problem-solve with, if I'm successful and need someone to celebrate with—she's perfect for all of those things. I'm so grateful for her friendship, both inside and outside of work.
And then there's Manoj. For probably the first year that I worked here, Manoj was an enigma. He was rarely in the office, always off working on some cool projects, always too cool for skool. But somehow, in time, we became pretty inseparable. Together, we've traveled to a million places, spent hours talking about everything under the sun, done countless workouts, spent time with each other's families, gotten tattoos, and gone through every rental car fiasco imaginable. We've cried, we've fought, we've laughed, we've learned; we've done a lot of life together, and I can't get enough of that. I think we respect, admire, and love each other in a profoundly deep way.
And Carey—Carey is the man, always has been and always will be. He's a quintessential onion—so many layers. And they're all great.
What's something that people are surprised to learn about you?
I have these silly pet names for people that I love. I just can't help it—when someone is so endearing to me, I revert back to some kind of basic female instinct and want to call them all these cutesy things like Pumpkin and Muffin and Bunny and Buttons. It's like those are the only words I can think of to try to express just how sweet and precious and loveable I find that person. They just gush out of me with this sticky sugariness that I can't help. I do this to my husband and my dog all the time, and I have to catch myself when I want to do the same to friends or co-workers. But all it really means is that I want to take care of you and give you the world.
Tell me one thing on your bucket list.
To go hiking in every national park in the U.S.. I absolutely love being in nature; it's my happy place. It gives me a totally different perspective on the world and on life. Nature is just there; nobody made that, and that's just incredible to me—that something so utterly amazing can just exist on its own. It's so incredibly humbling. Like, who am I? I'm just this little person, and this majestic mountain, or desert, or sky is so much more amazing than I could ever be. I love that feeling.
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