September 02, 2011

What we do

When our family decided to pursue a life with the Foreign Service, many people asked us why we we had decided to join the Foreign Service and what we would be doing.  Here's a great article that sums up some of the what:

 In these challenging times, it's good to know where a very small percentage of your tax dollars are going.

And here's my Statement of Intent from when I took my Oral Assessment to become a Foreign Service Officer.  It explains some of the why:

I have always served my community - I was a Girl Scout in elementary and middle school, a Ticktocker in middle and high school, and a Resident Advisor in college.  After college I joined the Junior League and served on many of their boards and advisory committees.  The business that I created, while a for-profit business, had at the core of its mission a commitment to nurturing and growing local communities.  

This commitment to serving my community has enriched my life in many ways, and the rewards I have reaped have far exceeded the efforts that I have made. Through my service I have had amazing experiences, met amazing people, and have learned so many things.  I’ve had the opportunity to travel to places I never would have gone (Washington DC, Boise, Fort Worth, and Fresno), meet people from all walks of life (politicians, laborers, CEO’s, chefs, scientists, artists, and schizophrenics, and have acquired skills (public speaking, community organizing, and conflict resolution)  that never would have occurred to me to pursue.  I love new experiences and take advantage of any opportunity to obtain new knowledge and gain new skills.

With all of the these experiences, I’ve realized that what I do best, and what I love to do most, is to create and facilitate community.  Building bridges of understanding between disparate groups really rocks my world.  I have learned that the more you can bring people together in safe and comfortable ways, the more they begin to see each other and dispel the myths about each other that create fear and misunderstanding.  Breaking down those barriers and watching that understanding and comradeship grow is one of the most rewarding and wonderful things to see.  This ability is my gift and one that I have utilized a great deal in the various communities / populations I’ve experienced.  It is something that I will continue to do all my life.

The Foreign Service is all about service to one’s community, and the Public Diplomacy Cone is about building those bridges of understanding between the United States and every other country and culture.  The United States is an amazing country with such wonderful principles and ideals.  As a country, we continually debate the best ways to adhere to those principles and while at times those endless debates can be tiresome, they are a wonderful example of the process of trying to be the best we can be.  I want to continue building community by facilitating the awareness and understanding of that process with other countries.

I have two children and, like all parents, want them to be safe as they navigate life.  I believe that my children will only be truly safe when all other children are safe too.  This belief has formed many of the choices I’ve made for our family, such as attending public school (where I use my skills to enrich the school), working within the neighborhood helping to build a sense of  “community,” and volunteering on local boards.

This belief plays out on a global scale.  My children, my family, my community and my country will only be safe when all children, families, communities and countries are safe.  I will continue to use the gifts I’ve been given to make that happen.  The Foreign Service is the best place for me to maximize my skills in service to my family, community and country.


  1. I like what you wrote for your OA intent statement. I'll have to dig mine out. Recife looks awesome!