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Meet our Board Member: Elizabeth Knopf Romano

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

When our Program Associate, Lauren Lewis, asked Liz about who she admires the most, Liz reminisced about her late grandmother. She explained how her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor who held their family together. She was a determined lady who graduated from college in her 70s, and although she had immense strength, it did not detract from her compassion. There is no argument that we are living through unprecedented times right now. Due to this, we wanted to talk about life after loss, as it is so personal to so many of us, now more than ever. When discussing coping mechanisms, Liz shared how grief is not necessarily about moving on but moving forward with all the lessons that we have learned from our nearest and dearest. For instance, Liz expressed how important it was for her extended family to attend her wedding, as the significance of family had been instilled into her through her grandmother.

For Liz, family is an extremely topical subject right now, as she just got married last year and recently found out that she is pregnant with her first child. After the pandemic, Liz is excited to use her maternity leave to bond with her new baby and grow into a mother figure. She has always loved spending time with children and is a teacher by profession.

Figuring out what she wanted to do as her career was particularly difficult for Liz. After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in English, she was not sure about the route that she wanted to go down. But after working as an assistant teacher in New York City, Liz fell in love with the profession. Liz attained two master’s degrees in education and has been an early childhood teacher for 8 years. She feels passionate about igniting children’s potential by providing them with the skills to find the tools that they need to help themselves.

In her spare time, Liz enjoys being a Board Member for Sundara as she loves how it brings a unique group of people together. Liz spoke about how RISE is completely inline with our Founder, Erin's values. Erin has an immense amount of faith in humanity. She always supports people who most others would not give a chance and helps to showcase everyone’s potential. This is also at the heart of RISE, which is all about giving females in emerging markets the resources that they need to create necessary change, as RISE fellows have great ideas but lack the finance and guidance to do it themselves.

If Liz could share with you one piece of advice, it would be that "You can’t pour from an empty cup. Especially for people who are in jobs, or lifestyles, of giving to others, it’s critical to take care of yourself first to be able to have something to offer to others. " Liz's school often reminds their teachers and staff about the importance of 'putting on their own oxygen masks' before helping others. It is important to remind ourselves that we are better equipped to help others when we have looked after ourselves.

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