Inside 16th & L: Sierra White

Inside 16th & L is our bi-weekly blog series showcasing the Independent Sector team here at the corner of 16th and L Streets in Washington, DC. Find out who we are, where we’re from, what we do, and what drives us. This week, Inside 16th & L introduces Sierra White, our development associate.

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Sierra’s role in her own words
My job has transformed—a lot—basically every month or so since I’ve been here. But I would say, right now, I help mostly with the business development part of IS. That entails getting stuff ready for conference—the hosted sessions and everything that rolls up under that. I’m also involved in our ethics and accountability work, the resource development department, and a few project management subgroups.

Hometown and alma mater
My hometown is Owensboro, Kentucky. It’s on the Ohio River in the Western part of the state and known for its BBQ, bluegrass, and bourbon. I went to school at Murray State University—also in Kentucky, but on the Tennessee border.

Sierra is…
• Thrifty
• Crafty
• An ENFP (for you Myers-Briggs nerds out there)

What’s on your desk or in your work space?
I have a somewhat unique variety of small items around my desk. There are some decorative trees, a paper crane Elyse made, chapsticks and a smiling acorn that I happened to find outside. I am starting a modest collection of the plastic babies from our annual king cake which signifies that I am ‘queen’ for the day, but no one else seems to particularly care about that Mardi Gras tradition, so it never ends up getting me that far.

What was your most rewarding or memorable experience at IS?
My proudest moment was convincing everyone that we should rent a margarita machine for our annual end of the year party. It was a huge success and the only way we could top it is if Jimmy Buffett himself had come.


Name an IS colleague you admire and why.
I think this is a great time to mention my boss and manager, Matt Perdoni.

If talent and resources were irrelevant and there were no risks, what alternative occupation would you pursue?
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is restoring old homes. I enjoy finding and improving forgotten and unwanted items. As a hobby it is really good way to get unique furniture, but my roommates do not always appreciate the creative process, especially when that means that the item in question remains dirty and broken for months, but that is all just part of the process. I did a brief stint as an interior design intern and I love to paint. I think it would be a very rewarding to restore and repair old homes while adding my own creative flair to them. That being said, there are so many skills that I would need to acquire to pull this off, but if talent was not a problem and I was magically good at everything I tried (i.e. repairing a house’s plumbing), I think I would find the process to be incredibly fun instead of cripplingly stressful. This could also be a great opportunity for me to explore new cities and neighborhoods, which I know is always something that makes it onto bucket lists. I think I would enjoy most things that give me the opportunity to become involved in a new community versus just passing through on a vacation.


What’s your favorite place in the world and why?
My favorite place in the world is my college town, Murray, Kentucky, which was named the friendliest small town in America. In addition to its friendly inhabitants, Murray has the best biscuits and gravy which can be found in a repurposed roller rink. There’s great camping in Land Between the Lakes and the possibility of exploring cities that were sunken by the TVA in the 1960’s. One of my favorite parts about going back, besides visiting loved ones, is catching a game of Racer basketball and hoping that we make it into the tournament, and if not, at least beat Belmont. I find something comforting about going to a place where you know exactly what you want to eat at every restaurant and you can’t possibly go to any of those places without running into folks that you know.

Fun facts

  • When asked about the origin of the notion of “getting lucky in Kentucky,” Sierra logically speculated that it’s probably connected to the Bluegrass State’s penchant for thoroughbreds, whose shoes are a symbol for luck. When asked what “getting lucky in Kentucky” actually means, Sierra diplomatically informed us that “it can mean whatever you want it to mean.”
  • While Sierra flags her supervisor as a colleague she admires, she notes that she does not admire his tendency to get into the office extremely early in the morning.
Types: All
Global Topics: IS Member, IS Staff