Me and my boat

About me

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I have an obsession.

I prefer to call it a "passion" though, because obsession sounds so... stalkery.

My passion is high end sailing. During the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race, I was working for Securitron, an ASSA ABLOY Group company, and had the unenviable task of figuring out a way to convince die-hard NASCAR and NFL fans, living in Nevada, to be interested in a yacht race that didn't even come within 2,000 miles of us. I found the hook in the story of fellow ASSA ABLOY Group employees in Africa. In AIDS-ravaged areas, funerals were (and still are) a common occurrence. Weekly, ASSA ABLOY Group employees attended funerals of their coworkers, and to show their solidarity, they would wear the ASSA ABLOY Racing Team shirts all Group employees were given. My coworkers were shocked that the race that they took so lightly was being used as a rallying point for people who had lost so many. Our interest spread, and we began to take the race much more seriously, and learned about our far-flung partners.

Some time after we made that connection, I was named "Assistant to the North American Champion" for the ASSA ABLOY Racing Team. I spent the time leading up to the North American stopovers being a cheerleader, following the race around the world from my desk, while arranging housing, events and other activities in the two North American ports for over 300 people from around the world. When I got to Miami, I lived in the Hyatt for three weeks. Up every morning, walking down Biscayne Boulevard to the race venue, which at that time was behind the basketball arena. Full day of running around like a crazy person (The chef's baby daughter needs a playpen? OK. I need to find a Swedish-speaking babysitter? OK. Two dozen Easter baskets for the crew's kids? Bring it on.) followed by festivities at night.

When ASSA ABLOY arrived, in first place, in the middle of the night, it was like rock stars showed up. Stinky, sweaty, scroungy looking men piled off our beautiful boat and onto a stage. They hugged their families and drank cocktails out of coconuts. Shortest night ever for those of us who had to go back the next day to meet & greet the throngs of people who showed up at the Race Village. I got to work closely with some of the crew, and picked up a little Swedish, although I evidently speak it with a Kiwi accent. I brushed up on my French, took a sail on the twin boat, and spent time on South Beach in dive bars with sailors from all over the world (much to my mother's horror I suppose). I worked three weeks straight, 16- to 20-hour days, with one afternoon off. I washed my clothes in the sink in my room, nearly wore through a pair of sport sandals, and lost 20lbs. It was the best time of my professional life.

I have spent the ensuing years trying to get back on with a syndicate, or with the Race itself. I came close last time, when Anna Bernsten contacted me to assist her with Team Alvimedica. Unfortunately, she left the syndicate before my contract was set, and so I watched the race from Kansas, where I lived at the time.

Since Kansas isn't really a hotbed of world class ocean sail yacht racing, I had to fall back on my other passions- sustainability, and saving the planet.

During my tenure as Program Coordinator for KU Recycling, my team and I processed over 80,000 pounds of material a month. Organizing the department involved balancing student employees and their schedules, a fleet of vehicles, a warehouse full of recycling equipment, and over one hundred campus buildings. We participated in special events like Recyclemania, Homecoming, and KU Basketball games, and we created and presented programs including "What's the One Thing?" which educated the campus community about single use plastics and their alternatives.

After KU Recycling, I continued my foray into environmental topics and concerns. I'm currently a senior, and while my degree is "Bachelor of General Studies" due to program availability, I am pursuing an Environmental Studies emphasis. Classes have included Environmental Ethics, Unusual Weather, Global Environmental Literature, Scientific Principals of Environmental Studies, and Oceanography, to name a few. I am an ambassador for the 5 Gyres Institute, and have taken courses through both the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Open University of the Netherlands.

I will make your boat go faster.