When you first meet Isadora, you instantly notice her elegant demeanor. Start talking to her and you quickly realize that the Yale graduate's sophistication expands far beyond both her looks and book smarts. We meet at A Baked Joint –quite possibly one of the coziest local coffee shops in D.C.– to discuss her background in art history, her take on the Millennial generation and, of course, how the themes of vulnerability, fear, love, etc. have shaped her life. See, I have always admired those who seem as though they have everything all together in their life and the way they make it look so effortless. Yet, I have come to understand the reality that beyond the surface of every individual lies great challenges and moments of inner turmoil.
What makes Isadora unique is not that she has "everything together" neatly packaged in a box with a bow. To place such a burden of perfection on anyone is to disable them. Instead, what makes her unique is her inner strength to always pull herself together with both a touch of grace and a sense of adventure. Thank you Isadora for letting Millennial Nomaad roam with you and have a look into your private thoughts.
Occupation: DC Community Director at IVY :: The Social University
The key to happiness is: Always seeing the glass as half full and surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh
In three words, I would describe myself as: compassionate, extroverted, fun-loving
I dream of: a world where empathy and kindness rule
Success to me means: being someone who others trust and rely on
Define curiosity: the inclination to approach the unknown
To be brilliant is to be: a problem solver; someone who sees what others can’t (or won’t)
MN: You mention majoring in Art History and being fascinated by how an art exhibit can represent the collective expression of a generation. What comes to mind when you think of how our Millennial generation chooses to express itself?
II: Social media. With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, everyone has an equal platform through which they can quickly and easily express themselves. It’s really quite incredible. You want to know how this generation feels about a world leader or a new policy? Take a look at any newsfeed and you can see it in real time. We can craft long Facebook posts, re-tweet statements we agree with or share irreverent memes to express dissatisfaction. It’s all just a few clicks away.
I think our generation feels as though it must express itself. We feel as though each individual has a duty to share their thoughts with their network. With all the platforms we have, it feels irresponsible to remain silent.
MN: What themes and values do you think Millennials represent and how might this be different than or similar to previous generations?
II: Millennials have grown up in a world where anything and everything is accessible. If we want to know something, we look it up in a search engine. In turn, I think it makes us value transparency and believe in accountability to a greater extent. If we want something done or brought to us, it’s as easy as downloading an app. This makes us impatient with lack of progress or the inability to affect large-scale change.
Perhaps more than ever, Millennials have the opportunity to see themselves as global citizens. We can travel anywhere in the world, we can learn about other cultures and perspectives through the Internet. It’s an incredible gift that previous generations didn’t have. It’s our responsibility to step up.
MN: Do you believe that art imitates life or that life imitates art? How so?
II: What a question! I'm sure someone could write pages and pages in response. But to me, art is a reflection of, or a response to, life. It’s how we express our humanity and connect with others on a level that transcends borders and written language. It’s how we tell stories and leave behind a legacy for future generations.
MN: As the D.C. Community leader for IVY: The Social University, what is something this leadership role as taught you about yourself? How do you think the way you view the world aligns with the goals of IVY?
II: I took a course called "Contemporary Challenges to a Liberal Arts Education" during my senior year of college with an amazing professor. We studied the history of universities in America and learned about the concept of a liberal arts education. In short, a "liberal" education is one that teaches critical thinking above rote memorization. It exposes you to new ideas and information across diverse topics (arts, history, science) so that you become a better thinker, writer, speaker and, ultimately, a better citizen.
IVY replicates that experience for professionals. We expose our members to new people, experiences, and perspectives every day through lectures, culture nights, volunteering events, trips, and other opportunities for lifelong learning. We’re giving people a thoughtful and engaging way to expand their horizons. I love being able to create this learning experience for other people.
MN: What do you think it means to be vulnerable? How do you think the fear of vulnerability affects you in your personal life and career? How do you deal with it and overcome it?
II: To me, being vulnerable means letting down your guard and exposing yourself to criticism. When it comes to my work, fear of vulnerability serves as a positive force. It forces me to prepare myself to the best of my ability and get to a point where I feel confident and self-assured. I believe it’s important to humble yourself to others. It’s ok to share your fears and ask for support or understanding. We should all be a little kinder to ourselves and to each other.
MN: What does “awareness” mean to you? Would you consider yourself to be spiritual? If yes, how so?
II: I think awareness is seeing the world with clear eyes; having strength to see people and things how they are and not how we want them to be. This can be incredibly difficult. Personally, I’ve had to walk away from relationships I knew weren’t positive forces in my life. For a while, it was easy to convince myself things "weren’t so bad" or that they’d "get better" – but after trying over and over again to fix things, I realized I had been deluding myself. When people show you who they are, believe them. Find the strength to move on. You deserve happiness now, today. Don’t cheat yourself out of that.
I’m spiritual in some ways. I believe that what goes around, comes around. If you bring love and happiness to the world, you’ll receive love and happiness in return. If you cause pain, you’ll feel pain. I like to think the world searches for stasis that way.
MN: Love. What do you think is the key to healthy relationships between family, friends, couples, etc? What has love taught you about yourself?
II: Trust and respect. While love comes in many shapes and sizes, I think the key to any healthy relationship is trusting that the other person has your best interest at heart (just as you have theirs) and respecting them as an individual, even if you don’t agree with everything they do or say.
Love is responsibility, too! While love feels great and brings a lot of happiness, loving someone means you’re there for them when the going gets rough. Love should be unconditional.
MN: Sometimes it can be intimidating to express our ideas to the public without fearing criticism, especially in our current, polarized society. As someone who appreciates creative expression, how do you think this limits our ability to communicate with others? Do you freely express your identity and ambitions authentically?
II: Many who study art have heard the phrase “in conversation with” – it’s our way of acknowledging that there is a give and take between everything. Colors can be in conversation with each other; paintings hanging on opposite sides of a room can touch upon similar themes and open up comparisons. When it comes to difficult or polarizing topics, I often listen more than I speak. I keep an open mind for as long as I can. I withhold judgment until I can acknowledge and understand the opposing side. While I have certain values and beliefs I hold dear, I never let it cloud my ability to engage in conversation.
MN: What is a quote that inspires you and how has it shaped how you choose to live your life?
II: “If you make others happy, you will be happy.” It is simple but it’s my compass. It reminds me that happiness is not a destination, but something you can experience every day.
MN: What is one piece of advice to share with others who are pursuing a goal or personal dream?
II: Be kind to yourself. While it’s important to push forward and face challenges head on, it’s equally important to give yourself a break every once in a while and celebrate your wins.
MN: What do you think it means to be a Millennial Nomaad?
II: Seeing the world as your playground! We have the incredible privilege of being able to hop in the car, train or plane and see other parts of this amazing planet. Millennial Nomaads take advantage of that and follow their hopes and dreams wherever that may lead them. It’s okay to uproot yourself every once in a while for a new opportunity or for a special person. You can always take another car, train, or plane home.