From the playground of Beaver Run Elementary to the halls of James M. Bennett High School, I am a daughter of the Eastern Shore. I am a proud product of "Summer Fun at SBT" and helping watermen clear crab traps before the sun came up. We grew up understanding the value of hard work and the worth of character. I have proudly taken these Eastern Shore values in development projects across the world.
I left the comfort of our community here on the shore for the first time when I went to college at the University of Delaware. God blessed me with the opportunity to work as the Parent Center Coordinator for Brandywine School District in Wilmington, DE. It was there that I grew to understand the struggles school teachers and administrators face in an effort to manage regulations that make it harder for them to teach their students in a disciplined and productive learning environment. I conducted court-ordered parenting classes to address truancy and help parents access resources that help them become more engaged in their child's education.
I went on to develop programs for economies across the globe with stakeholders like UNDP, UNESCO, WHO and other agencies at the table. It was there that I saw what works and what doesn't. What works are projects that have strong roots—roots that come from communities like ours. And communities that understand the pleasure of putting in an honest day's work and the power of community.
We advised legislators around the world on how to create legislation that supports economic growth while avoiding legislation that destroys it. We did away with backroom wheeling and dealing by bringing every stakeholder to the table to play an active role in determining what happens in their community. Most importantly, we allowed the local cultures, traditions and character take front stage in defining the way that their community moved forward.
After returning to the Eastern Shore, I felt compelled to serve the needs of my community. Using the principles of economic development that I had practiced over the years, my partner and I resurrected Pemberton Coffeehouse from the graveyard of our community and brought it back to life. Not only is it open, it is thriving and contributing to economic development on the Eastern Shore by mentoring new businesses and promoting local farmers, artists, artisans and small scale manufacturing. I can make these principles work for the Eastern Shore at Pemberton and I'm confident I can make them work in Annapolis!