Where did you grow up?
I was born in Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic although we are both called Dominicans) in the West Indies. I came to the U.S. to join my mom, stepfather, and siblings (3 sisters and 1 brother) in Dover, Delaware at 15. I spent a short time in high school there and then college and then I moved to Brooklyn NY. I started graduate school in NYC but after having my first child I realized my PhD could wait and motherhood was more important. I don't regret it. I lived in Brooklyn until 2000 and then Iater I moved back to Delaware but this time in the North near Wilmington. My second daughter came in 2000. I went back to work and graduate school when my daughters went to school since I could no longer stay home and talk to the dogs all day. It was hard raising kids, working fulltime, and going back to school but it was rewarding, and I don't regret it. I am what I am today because of my struggles. I later moved to the Washington DC area and took on a job as a Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance for Sabin Vaccine Institute. After a few years I took on a similar role in Cambridge MA at Novartis and then I finally moved to Philadelphia to my new home with my husband Florian and we went from a family of three (3) to 8 (6 children). I love Philadelphia and enjoy city life. I like to walk everywhere if the weather is good. I currently work for Merck and Co. Inc. as a Director of Global Labeling.
How do you most love to spend your time?
I love to spend my time traveling, working, running, cooking, reading, social dancing, skiing, and learning new languages. I enjoy the theatre, opera, museums but now most of this is on hold because of the pandemic. I spend time volunteering in the community as well. This is very important to me because I think one should always contribute to the community in some way. I have a passion for health literacy so I spend time volunteering and learning as much as I can in that space. It is especially important to me as Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting people at greatest risk of low health literacy: age 65+, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and low socioeconomic status.
What kind of impression do you make on people when you meet them?
People always tell me that I inspire them. It is good to inspire others and maybe that’s why I gravitate to people and not to dogs or cats even though I enjoy them, but I am very social. I like human connections and I feel a void when it is lacking like now during this pandemic.
Do you have rituals? Can you describe them?
I like to have a homemade latte and yogurt parfait after my runs in the morning. I don't like to change it unless I race that day since my stomach goes through abuse when I race and then it typically can't handle this type of food.
It is a ritual for me because I make it (or rather my loving husband makes it for me) the same with the same ingredients every day. Coffee is made using Julius Meinl coffee from Austria. Beans are freshly ground and put into a French coffee press. Milk is frothed with a Breville induction milk frother. I like a light latte even though I love coffee I can't stand it strong. My yoghurt parfait consists of a sour organic European yogurt with fresh organic strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and a little coconut and ginger granola. I am not a happy girl when I don't have my usual breakfast, but I can adapt on the days when I don't have something in the ingredients. I can't skip breakfast because I burn a lot of calories running. I can be a bit queasy if I don't have anything to eat after running.