[ Director, Founder ]
Growing up in New Jersey, I thought that Asian food consisted solely of canned Chow Mein. I would have never guessed then that I would be spending some of the best years of my life in a rough fishing city along the coast of eastern Japan! My life started in Zimbabwe, Africa, with seasons in New Jersey, Indiana, Washington D.C. and California. But I’ve now lived the longest period of my life in Japan, the later years here in Ishinomaki.
I met Eric while we were both studying at Fuller Seminary, and remain forever thankful for finding a wonderful man willing to join our visions together. Along the way we’ve adopted four amazing children – two by accident! – and have loved sharing our home with friends from all over. Somehow between Los Angeles and Japan I managed to finish my PhD in Intercultural/Leadership studies, but it’s in real life with my family and at the Nozomi Project where I need – and learn! - the most wisdom. Starting the Nozomi Project with a wonderful team has been one of the hardest and most exhilarating challenges of my life. On the side I love making unique cakes for family birthdays; outings along the beautiful Miyagi coast; traveling with family and friends, and learning how to cook Asian recipes that taste a whole lot better than canned Chow Mein!
The best piece of advice I give others wanting to start something new is the maxim that got me through our first year of trying to create a social enterprise in a disaster zone: "Do the right next thing." I remember so often during those early Nozomi days being overwhelmed by the number of tasks that needed to be done. This simple phrase helped guide me through those complex times.
When I think about the years since we started the Nozomi Project, it has been amazing to see how God has brought people with a variety of experiences to meet the needs we have had at the Nozomi Project. So many volunteers from all over have helped in so many ways; so many amazing customers have spread the word literally around the world! We appreciate how so many have stepped forward to help us create a thriving and beautiful business. I'm thankful for my husband Eric and other Be One teammates who do so many behind-the-scene crucial things to help us keep going. And I remain amazed at the courage and beauty of these remarkable Nozomi women, who daily model hope and dignity as we walk and grow together.