Make It Personal: The Names and Stories Behind the Numbers

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Do you think beyond the statistics to the individual lives affected by conflict, poverty, and hunger? In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two powerful and passionate advocates, Abby Maxman, President of Oxfam America, and Tatiana Rosana, executive chef at Outlook Kitchen & Bar at the Envoy Hotel in Boston, discuss national and international humanitarian problems through the lens of personal stories of suffering, courage, and hope. Both women rose to the top of male-dominated professions and believe their work ethic was in part a response to having to work harder than male counterparts to gain the respect they deserve. This fierce determination informs the work they do helping others. Maxman, who has spent her career doing international development and aid work, recounts meeting a woman named Faith in South Sudan who walked an entire month with her four children after being displaced by conflict, all the while making decisions like which child gets to eat today. “It fuels a sense of urgency, passion and inspiration to do the work,” she says. Rosana found that growing up in an immigrant family from impoverished Cuba made her acutely aware of the issues of poverty and hunger. Feeling fortunate and helping others was ingrained in her from very young age, and as a chef she became a long-time supporter of the No Kid Hungry campaign. “I’m doing what I can with what I have to help. It takes nothing more than your time to invest in these children,” she says.

Host Billy Shore asks Maxman how Oxfam is able to tackle the overwhelming problems of conflict and poverty in areas where governments and the UN cannot. “We use our voice… we make sure that all of our polic[ies] and messages are grounded in the stories of Faith and many others,” she says. Staggering statistics alone — 65M refugees, 880M people going hungry every night – are not effective. “We’re talking about human beings,” she emphasizes. Clearly moved by the discussion, Rosana agrees “When we put names to the numbers, how can you not want to speak up, how can you not want to help? They’re not just numbers, they’re human beings that are going to bed hungry,” she pleads.

Listen to these two dynamic women talk about why getting personal helps fuel their drive to help those in need.

Resources and Mentions:

Abby Maxman

Joined Oxfam America as its president in 2017. She brings over twenty-five years of experience in international humanitarian relief and development to her new post. Prior to joining Oxfam, she served as Deputy Secretary General of CARE International in Geneva, providing leadership of the Secretariat and across the CARE confederation. She previously served as Vice President of International Programs & Operations for CARE, overseeing regional management units and their country offices in East & Central, West and Southern Africa; Latin America & the Caribbean; Asia; and the Middle East/Europe and in regional and country leadership and management roles since 1995. Prior to CARE, Maxman worked with the U.S. Peace Corps, German Agency for Technical Cooperation, UN World Food Programme, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College and a Master of International Administration from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Tatiana Rosana

Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. As Executive Chef of the Outlook Kitchen and Bar and Lookout Rooftop Bar at the Envoy Hotel, Rosana is known for combining the Cuban flavors of her childhood with the family recipes from her wife Alexis who is Korean American, while relying on her traditional French training and locally sourced New England ingredients. Rosana began her career as a cook at Harvest restaurant for chef Mary Dumont, who she still sees as her mentor. She is an avid supporter of Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry.

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Root Cause Coalition

The Root Cause Coalition is a national, member-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of health disparities by focusing on hunger and other social determinants leading to nationwide epidemic of preventable chronic health conditions.

Oxfam America

A global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. Oxfam helps people build better futures for themselves, holds the powerful accountable, and saves lives in disasters. Its mission is to tackle the root causes of poverty and create lasting solutions. Oxfam’s approach is about tackling the conditions that cause poverty in the first place, rather than the distribution of material goods.

Outlook Kitchen and Bar at the Envoy Hotel

American at its roots, drawing its inspiration for cuisine from the unique Boston landscape, tempered by seasonal variations and locally sourced food. The menu is a carefully curated collection of small plates, shareable dishes and full meals. Guests can enjoy the restaurant’s progressive, richly flavored American fare at breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Outlook Kitchen and Bar offers a chic-urban setting with a nod to its prime waterfront location.

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