Meet Emily! - Stamford Moms

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have two charming, hilarious kids: my sweet Matthew (nearly 4 years old) and Baby Claire (five months).

What are your favorite family activities in Stamford?
Our perfect weekend: pick up cider donuts at Lakeside Diner and hop over to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. My son zooms toward the duck pond and we all have breakfast al fresco. Then I take the baby for a stroll on the wheeled path, surrounded by trees and quiet, while my husband chases our toddler around the playground. We get the best of both worlds — mama gets some zen moments and we fill up our son’s tank!

What do you love about Stamford?
I believe that ethnic and socioeconomic diversity enrich a community. 71 languages are spoken in our public schools. Our neighbors work a wide range of professions. I love that Stamford — and my neighborhood Glenbrook especially — reflects a richness of experience. As a child of Vietnamese refugees who grew up in Brooklyn, this feels like home to me.

I also love Stamford’s generosity of spirit. So many people commit themselves to lifting up others and lending a hand. There’s a culture of community here that is unmatched.

Tell us about your career and involvement in local non-profits.
I spent most of my career seeking meaningful work with real impact. I got my start in advertising and made my way to my current role in corporate diversity and inclusion. Prior to this, I’d worked in non-profits, from one focused on international affairs to one based here in Stamford called Inspirica, whose mission is to permanently break the cycle of homelessness. I’m now on Inspirica’s board of directors.

Why did you decide to join the Board of Directors for Inspirica?
As a former staffer, I saw firsthand how Inspirica changes lives. There was the single mom striving for better for her child, who with the help of Inspirica’s dedicated staff and comprehensive services had hope for a brighter future. And there were the many children who went through the organization’s after school program who as a result were able to graduate to the next grade level. Their stories live with me.

When I left for a corporate role, I knew I wanted to stay involved. I also wanted to model for my children an example of a fulfilled life, lived through community with others. That’s why I sought a leadership role on Inspirica’s board.

How can others get involved with Inspirica?
There are so many ways to get involved! In October, Inspirica will host a walk-a-thon in downtown Stamford — you can sign up here: During the holiday season, Inspirica also hosts a Thanksgiving drive called Harvest for Hope and a holiday gift drive called Holiday Wishes, where over 6,000 gifts are provided to children in need.

If you’re looking for something more sustained throughout the year, you can consider other volunteer opportunities here and connect with Inspirica’s volunteer coordinator:

What is your advice to other moms who want to get more involved in the non-profit community but aren’t sure how to get started?
First, identify which non-profits you want to support. Think about the causes you care about and find an organization or two whose mission aligns with your interests. A great place to start is Generation Impact’s resource guide of non-profits in our area: In addition to Inspirica (, I also support the following organizations in different ways: Building One Community (, the Stamford Public Education Foundation (, Fairfield County Community Foundation ( and the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County (

Second, ask yourself how you want to support an organization and what your capacity is. Will you support through time, talent, or treasure? If time, what volunteer opportunities can be accommodated in your schedule and are there any that can be done at flexible times of the day? Will this be monthly, quarterly or project-based? If talent, what skills have you cultivated that can benefit the non-profit and how can you put them to use? Get in touch with the non-profit’s volunteer coordinator and ask what’s possible. Sometimes you might be able to create an opportunity.

If treasure, what is your budget for philanthropic giving? This can be a one-time donation or a recurring contribution. Every amount counts!

Finally, ask yourself if you want a leadership role — if so, you may consider joining a non-profit’s board.

Your husband is also in local politics, how do you juggle everything?
To be honest with you, it’s hard. There are some days when I am utterly exhausted! But I remind myself that if you have privilege, you ought to use it to serve the greater good. And if you have a vision for what “better” looks like — you just have to keep going. We’re very fortunate that we can hire supplemental childcare and that we have trusted providers. It also helps that my husband Ben and I are equal partners in everything, from our household and raising the kids to our contributions to the community. Right now we are focused on his campaign for Stamford’s Board of Education.

Your husband is a former U.S. Army civil affairs officer who deployed to Afghanistan many years ago. After Kabul fell to the Taliban, how did you and your husband help to get his former translator’s family out of the country?
We will never know the lynchpin that helped Safi’s family leave the country and escape a death sentence by the Taliban. All we know is that we were part of a determined effort to assist in every way that we could. We reached out to every last contact we thought could help: officials in local and federal government, those we knew who were still in active duty, friends from Ben’s deployment, veterans groups who banded together for this purpose. Every person we reached out to helped the family move ever closer — past the airport gates, onto a flight manifest, and on the road to freedom. We were in constant communication with Safi, connecting on details down to the family’s geolocation and what they were wearing so that they could be identified by servicemen responsible for letting people through the gates. A lot of this was done over email, Instagram, WhatsApp. We shifted around our priorities so that we could complete critical paperwork at the drop of a dime. Can you imagine? Whether you live or die depending on social media and paperwork and the grace of others.

We did our part, but ultimately this is a story about the family’s determination to survive and forge a path despite everything they endured. Safi’s family is a true inspiration.

I am sure you met several challenges along the way. Why was it so important to you that you keep trying?
I had to know in my heart that we did everything we could. Some mornings I woke up feeling the weight of seven lives on my shoulders. It was intense, the heartache.

Everything about this was so personal for me. My family is a family of refugees. My parents fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. Safi’s history is my family’s history. Beyond that, we have a sacred obligation to save our Afghan allies. Translators serve side by side with our troops, keeping them out of danger. I am forever indebted to Safi for keeping my husband alive.

How many families did you end up helping?
Through partnership with others, Ben and his group of veterans evacuated 68 people, including Safi’s family.

How are they all doing now?
Safi’s family is now in the United States, routing through our residency and citizenship process. The others are in various locations: Qatar, Germany, and more. They all have a long road ahead, but they are safe. And free.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
Ask for help and receive it openly. So often we feel like we have to do everything ourselves. You can’t do this alone, and if you ask, there are people willing to help!

Join The Stamford Moms Network Community

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around the Stamford community with local events, community highlights, and exclusive deals.