“Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.”
Leonard da Vinci
My Life Purpose
My passion and life's work over the past 30 years has been to foster global understanding, build bridges across divides and support women to step into leadership. These for me are the keys to building healthy communities and societies and supporting women to realize their full potential. I am an advocate for advancing women’s leadership and feminine wisdom, knowing that the feminine qualities of partnership, collaboration, intuition, nurturing and long-term thinking are essential for our collective wellbeing. My work has been guided by my purpose and my passion. As a social entrepreneur, I have started organizations and projects to advance dialogue, accountability and social change. As a peacebuilder and cross cultural advocate, I have worked to transform apartheid in South Africa, build bridges of understanding between citizens of the US and Russia during the Cold War, and between Muslim, Arab and Western women in today’s divided world. As a women’s leadership advocate, I have mentored, trained and coached women to step into political, community and organizational leadership. As an author I have written about the wisdom and skills that women bring that enhance organizations and societies and build cohesion and inclusiveness. I have highlighted courageous people on the frontlines who changed lives. As an educator, I have taught the principles and tools of peacebuilding in everyday life. As a non-profit leader I’ve led organizations that support and advocate for women, advance cross cultural understanding and build bridges. Most recently as CEO of Peace X Peace, an international women’s peacebuilding and leadership organization, our network of 30,000 women in 125 countries raises women’s voices and provides a platform for women to be catalysts for social change.
My work rests on several spiritual principles: that we are all interconnected, that we individually and collectively make a difference, that it’s time to “be the change we want to see”, and that it is important for each of us to bring our unique gifts forward. The world needs the best of what each of us can offer.
Family is core in my life. I'm very grateful for my partnership with my husband Carl of 43 years – we met playing tennis in Sydney, Australia and still play
tennis together. We’ve traveled and journeyed far and wide and shared so much together. Our son Julian is 24 years old and works as a junior partner in a successful real estate firm in Washington DC. He shares our love for travel and has worked on projects in Bali, Indonesia, El Salvador, Mexico, South Africa and Hong Kong. Carl and I adopted Ariel in 2002 who is now 28 years old, married, a mother, and working with children with special needs. Both Julian and Ariel have enormous potential and I am excited to see where life takes them. I am also grateful for my German family with whom I lived for a year as a exchange student, and with whom I’m still very close.
I am grateful for my wide circle of friends in many cities and countries, and for the diversity of extraordinary
experiences and people I have encountered on my life's path. I have benefited from each one.
I have a B.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters’ degree in Sociology with an emphasis in intercultural communication from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. I also studied for one year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and lived as an exchange student for one year in Germany. I have remained close with my wonderful German family for over 40 years.
I was awarded two fellowships to Europe by both the European Commission and the German government for my work in European regional cooperation. I also received a Rotary Peace Fellowship for a 3 month peace and conflict certification course in Bangkok, Thailand, and a Juno Women’s Leadership Fellowship at Omega Institute. I have travelled widely in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and Latin America, the Middle East and North America and benefited enormously from my many cross cultural experiences and friends on many continents.