I’m a geek in Seattle (by way of So Cal and Berkeley), an idealist who harbors a sincere hope that technology can make the world a better place. Between full-time job and full-time kids, I don’t really have the luxury of any consistent hobbies these days, but when I can steal some time away I enjoy writing, taking photos, cycling, doing yoga, tinkering with new tech, and hiking. I was once an avid traveler, but the small kids keep me on a short leash.
Travel & Volunteering
Over the years, I’ve used every vacation day I could muster to gallivant around the globe with a backpack and a camera. I was fortunate to take the ultimate gallivant in 2009-2010 with my husband — a 12-month sabbatical, during which we volunteered in India, Thailand, and Uganda. My volunteering was focused on building organizational capacity, both for technical orgs developing software to help the poor (ICT4D), as well as non-technical NGO staff, who wanted to learn about project management, fundraising, financial forecasting, public speaking, and web design. The trip was eye-opening for me, and ultimately compelled me to consider a new career direction more aligned with the projects I contributed to while traveling.
The backpacks have been getting a bit dusty these days, however, as we have our hands full taking care of two little ones, who joined us in the summers of 2011 and 2013. In fact, our travel blog has mostly been transformed into a kid blog, as we attempt to spend our copious “free time” documenting their adventures.
I spend my working hours as Software Development Manager for the open-source MOTECH platform, an mHealth server developed by the Grameen Foundation. I feel intensely fortunate to have the opportunity to put my tech skills to work helping improve health outcomes for the poor. Many implementations of MOTECH are focused on maternal-child health in Africa and South Asia, a cause with which any mother can doubtless identify.
Previously, I spent 8 years as a Program Manager at Microsoft, working on Windows Presentation Foundation and then Exchange. I credit my years there with having taught me not only how to build enterprise-quality software, but how to systematically break any problem down into its constituent parts and drive each one of them to completion (in priority order, of course). Any of us who have spent time in the PM role love to believe our skills are universal, and nowhere did that hit home for me more than in rural Thailand, where I helped a group of Burmese refugees develop a project plan for a new school for Burmese activist women.