As told to Emily Kestel and Jami Milne. Portrait by Jami Milne.

Who is the woman that you most admire?

Harriet Tubman. She is a woman who lived love. It was love that drove her to go back to risk her life to keep moving forward. It was love that made her persist in her fight for freedom, even when she and her family were free. To have that type of selflessness and persistence in love is quite admirable.

What inspires you in life?

My kids. They have allowed me to see life anew, especially because I gave birth later in life. I was almost 40 when I had my second. They keep you young. They keep me curious.

What was the hardest compromise you’ve had to make on the road to achieving success?

Juggling motherhood. By the time I became a mother, I was a partner at a large international law firm, and had been practicing for many, many years. I had to ask myself, which was more important: another win for a client, or raising humans? I chose the latter, and I’m happy about that choice. 

What are you most confident about?

My insistence on an ability to persist.

How and when do you feel most true to who you are?

It would be on those random moments when the family is gathered and I’m telling them some story about something that I’ve read or seen or heard about that inspires them or ignites some new idea in them in some way. I try to make it happen at least once a week. 

I recently told my sons a story about two brothers that I had read about who had made a promise to each other when they were young to name their firstborn child after each other. And those brothers’ children are now grown and have a similar connectedness that their fathers have. 

My boys looked at one another, and started thinking of derivations of their own names that they could give their children depending on how those kids identify. Now, what was amazing to me about the conversation was just the love and respect that they convey to one another. But the fact that this 11-year-old and 8-year-old were talking about how their kids identify, right? Those moments give me hope. They’re little glimmers that all of the things we’ve talked about are sticking, and let me see the change in that next generation.

What gives you hope?

Seeing and reading about humans in really dire situations, persisting, gives me hope. I think about the mothers who walked across Ukraine to a western border to get their kids out. I think about those women in Iran who are continuing to protest. I think about the women in our community who are riding the bus to drop a kid off and then ride the bus to go to work and then studying at night. It tells me that that love is still a driving force and that love will prevail.

This story is part of a collection of 10 stories produced by Ballet Des Moines and Fearless as part of its “SHE” series. To read all of the other stories, visit this link.