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doers’ profiles


ANCESTRAL HOME: Uganda. “Everyone in my family except my mother and my siblings still lives there.”

CHILDHOOD HOME: Muncie, Indiana

CURRENT ADDRESS: Atlanta, Georgia

OCCUPATION: Interim vice president of development for Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights, scheduled to open in 2013. The center will not only commemorate the contributions of Georgians to the American Civil Rights movement but also host activities to educate visitors and online guests about past and contemporary civil and human rights issues.

WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED ABOUT FUNDRAISING: That we need to spend more time listening than talking. “Whether people are giving a hundred dollars or a million, our approach needs to be that we are cultivating a long-term relationship, not conducting a one-time transaction.”

WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED ABOUT HISTORY: How great the impact of the Civil Rights movement really was. “We learn so much about the leaders, but it’s amazing to hear the stories of the people who were at the marches, and who were writing letters and encouraging voters. I am inspired by those nameless mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers who faced water hoses, dogs, and real threats of lynchings in the hope that someday they would be able to drink from the same water fountain as someone else and walk through the front door of a restaurant.”

WHY SHE LOVES HER JOB: “It combines my talentósalesówith my passion for creating peace and understanding in the world.”

MOOD BOOSTER: The Dave Matthews Band

GUILTY PLEASURE: Reality shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta and Jilted? (about women and their commitment-phobic boyfriends)

ENDURING JOY: “My sons Baina, sixteen, and Kusiima, six months; my daughter Kahinju, ten; and my beloved, David Patterson, whom I am preparing to marry soon.”

DEFINING TRAITS: Open-minded but hard-headed; committed but fun-loving. Strives to see the best in people. And draws hope for the future from watching her children “make beautiful discoveries, give love to strangers, ask questions about the world, laugh at others’ jokes to make them feel better, and, most of all, abide in gratitude for what they have.”

HER EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (child development); M.B.A., Ball State University


Photo: Marco Garcia


HOME: Kaneohe, Hawaii

WHERE THE HEART IS: With the world’s oceans. “I grew up by the ocean on Long Island Sound, catching crabs on our jetty every day and releasing them every night. I went to graduate school at Scripps on San Diego’s La Jolla Cove, and now I live on Kaneohe Bay. The ocean for me has always evoked ‘home.’ ”

PROFESSION: Marine biologist and conservation biologist; currently a research scientist with the Smithsonian Institution

MISSION: Preserving coral ecosystems. “They are the rainforest of our oceans. They remove CO2 from the atmosphere, provide natural storm barriers for coastlines, serve as nurseries for marine life, and could someday yield pharmaceuticals. But they are threatened by climate change, pollution, and destructive practices such as dynamite fishing. Unless we take action now, they may cease to exist within the next fifty to a hundred years.”

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT: Creating the world’s first frozen repository for coral. “We must continue to add more cells and materials, but if we were to lose our reefs, then these banks could be used to reseed them.”

MAJOR HEADACHE: Funding. “People have a hard time grasping how urgent it is to save coral ecosystems. The result is a lack of money. I have spent most of my personal savings just to keep my laboratory running.”

LAST BOOK READ: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the final installment in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy starring Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant computer hacker.

ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY: Being a backup singer for a band

DEFINING TRAITS: A sense of humor that has grown sharper with age. A love for the natural world that fills her life both on the job and off it. “I relax by walking on the beach with my dog and my wonderful husband, Ned. Or I snorkel or dive, which is great for animal watching.”

IDEA OF PARADISE: The Indonesian island of Sulawesi. “I recently came back from a five-day diving trip there, and its coral reef is now my favorite in the world.”

HER EDUCATION: B.A., M.S., Tufts (biology); Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego (marine biology)

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