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About the City's Organizers
My Yakima story starts in 2005, when fell in love with its high-desert 'rurban' lifestyle. Allied Arts of Yakima Valley found me soon-after, and I worked in marketing there until 2009, when I became executive director. My love for all the products of the valley has flourished over the years, with amazing time working at Gilbert Cellars from 2011-2016. I'm now at Bale Breaker Brewing Company, delving deeper into the world of hops and brewing. As Alan Kay wrote, "the best way to predict the future is to invent it." I feel fortunate to be part of inventing an exciting future for the Yakima Valley.
I'm a Pacific Northwest native, raised in Yakima. After high school (IKE grad), I attended Gonzaga University (Go Zags!) and graduated with a degree in Journalism. The lights of the big city called me, so off to Seattle I went. I climbed the corporate ladder, did the dot.com boom, worked with shiny exciting ad agencies, and led communications teams at a global company. Then I met my husband. As a young married couple, Seattle was our playground. We loved what it had to offer (but I secretly always missed the Yakima weather!). Then we had two beautiful babies who, of course, became the center of our world. Life started getting much busier – we were both working full-time and made the daily 40+ minute commute…and there was no end in sight. So, after nearly 17 years, we thought, why not change it? Three years ago, Yakima called us back. My husband works at perhaps the best law firm in the state – with offices in Yakima and Seattle. I get to be mom (and I get to consult and write from home, too!). Our kids attend an amazing school, run across the street in their barefeet, swim all summer, ski in the winter, fish, golf, you name it. Life is easy. I love Yakima because it means family, and it means warm, fun friends. It is our dream life, and the best place I can imagine to raise our kids.
I am a fifth generation Yakimaniac on both sides of my family. After receiving my undergraduate degree in the History of Art & Architecture from UC Santa Barbara I continued on to complete my masters degree in Art Business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. Fueled with my love for this place and a motivation to make a difference in my hometown, I moved back to Yakima in the Summer of 2010 and embarked on a new adventure. I have been running the Gilbert Cellars tasting room in historic downtown Yakima ever since. One of the motivating factors for moving home was to create a culture of appreciation for the arts and to bring new and diverse educational experiences to its citizens. One of the ways in which I have been accomplishing this is through the I Heart Yakima project with friends and co-founders Bridget Russel and Jesscia Moskwa.