I am a sincere person with a desire to be helpful when people are struggling. I feel driven to improve as a person and to bring out the best in others. I believe our human capacity to care is our best compass for the life we want and the change we want to see in the world.
I grew up as a white male with people of every race and religion in Southern California. My capable parents gave me love and confidence. Opportunities to be educated and physically healthy were always available. Church community taught me about Love, though it didn’t answer all my questions.
I never thought much about that until I started traveling overseas. Something about travel made me curious. I studied in Ecuador during college, then volunteered in Guatemala and Nicaragua after graduation. I was deeply impacted by generous strangers who became friends, who face unbelievable hardships I’ve never had to worry about.
What struck me then and still drives me now are two realizations:
- Everything I see about the world–the sum of my experiences, knowledge and imagination–is just one tiny piece of a much bigger picture. I want to see more.
- I was born with remarkable privileges. And seeking to understand the amazing people on the outside of my worldview has given me insights and incredible joy. I want others to experience that.
Later I volunteered for a health clinic in Malawi, mentored homeless teenagers at a shelter in Hollywood, and studied social conflict in grad school. I lived in northern Iraq for twenty months with families fleeing violence during the war. I led advocacy initiatives in DC to help policymakers perceive the experience of people on the receiving end of their decisions. I taught myself filmmaking because sights and sounds are so good at transporting us into someone else’s world.
My biggest joy is being a husband and new father. Megan and I have a beautiful son, Striver, with a complex heart condition that has set us on a different path. Words can’t express how happy we are that’s he’s ours. I’ve had an incredibly fortunate life, filled with love and opportunities that just aren’t the norm across geography and history. It’s a privilege to be able to travel and experience other worldviews. Finding wisdom and joy outside my own perspective has deeply shaped who I am and what I want to do with the short time I get to be alive.
My professional mission is to use every creative means to help people who are different misunderstand each other less. I’ve done this by managing development and reconciliation projects in the Middle East and Latin America, counseling families of runaway teenagers, teaching classes, helping peacemakers from overseas meet face to face with U.S. officials in Washington, and sharing amazing stories through film and video. I also try to practice it in my daily life, seeking to be conscious of my own blind spots in the way I think about others. Easier said than done.
Currently I work in Los Angeles as a Producer for independent and commercial film and video projects. I’m also working on a passion side hustle: an online docu-series I created about an incredible Iraqi family building a new life in the US www.fatewemake.com.
Adding to my skill sets in crossing cultures, language, peacebuilding and systemic change, working in film and video has opened the way for me to be a part of reducing social animosities at a large scale. With the explosion of tech innovations in communications, every day there are more ways for people to see into each other’s world. I look forward to working together with other creative and determined minds to tackle harmful misperceptions and narratives.
MAJOR SKILL SETS
FILM/VIDEO PRODUCTION AND IMPACT
- Knowledge production from concept to impact: development, funding, shoot and crew coordination, editing, creative/story, digital distribution and audience impact strategy.
- Experience producing short and long-form content for independent projects, companies, campaigns and non-profits.
- Edit with Adobe CC (Pr/Ae/Ps/Ai).
- Current projects: When We Were Apollo, Fate We Make, The Human Expansion Co.
LANGUAGE & CULTURAL FLUENCY
- Fluent spoken Iraqi Arabic and Spanish.
- 4 years living and working in the Middle East and Latin America. Lived entirely with families uprooted by war for twenty months in Northern Iraq.
- Natural ability and love for connecting with people across cultures, building relationships and making things happen.
- Able to thrive in complex and insecure environments.
- 10 years of hands-on development, conflict resolution and human rights work in the US and overseas at the community and policy levels.
- Master’s of Arts in International Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute at Notre Dame University. 6 months of field research with Israeli and Palestinian peacebuilders in Jerusalem.
- Provide lectures and seminars in peacebuilding theory and practice for students, diplomats and community leaders.
- 5 years managing advocacy initiatives in Washington for 3P Human Security and the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the largest US network of organizations and universities working in peacebuilding around the world.
- Knowledge of US government structure and policy process.
- Extensive experience crafting policy messaging and impact strategy, working through coalitions, facilitating group processes, public speaking and organizing events.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT & STRATEGY
- 10 years project management experience in non-profits and film/video productions in the US and overseas.
- Experience managing teams, budgets and deadlines. Utilize management tools like Basecamp, Slack, Trello, Google Drive and MS Office.
- Big thinker with creative vision and attention to detail. Knowledge of strategic planning, learning and evaluation, and reporting.
What matters to me is striving to be my best self and creating opportunities for greater empathy in the world. I feel bad when people give their energy to hating others who seem different because I believe a big part of it is misperception. Our amazing minds have a strong need for life to make sense. And because each of us can only see a small fraction of everything there is to view, we fill in the blind spots with speculation. We suffer for all sorts of complicated reasons based on the ways we’ve been hurt, how we interpret those events, and whether our needs are met. It’s hard to sort through complex feelings to figure out what’s really bothering us. Who has energy for that? It’s easier to grab a simplified explanation nearby, which might mean over-applying blame to a group of people we don’t fully understand.
Suffering sucks. Avoiding bad feelings is part of what drives us to do what we do every day. It certainly drives me to make life choices that feed my self image as a good person, whether that’s correct or not. What’s important to me is not resigning myself to the thought that I can’t become better, or that suffering is inevitable so why bother. I see so many ways that pain experienced by a large social group or as individuals is actually not necessary–if only we could SEE MORE of the picture. Humans are incredible beings. We have advanced and developed in so many ways because we first thought we could, then figured out how. That’s what I want to do with human empathy. I believe we can grow our ability to see more than just our own point of view and act in ways that are less harmful to each other. I am spending my life figuring out how.