Hi, I’m Rachel!
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, there are two types of people in the world: jackhammers and hummingbirds. Jackhammers have one true passion and work tirelessly in pursuit of it. Hummingbirds follow their curiosity from flower to flower cross-pollinating the environment.
I am a hummingbird person.
My curiosity has taken me from developing trauma-informed care training for nonprofits in Haiti, to yoga teacher training in India, to writing children’s books, and recording a podcast. Instead of breaking myself into the various pieces, I want to include them all here because it best represents me. And my experience in one area influences each of the others.
I grew up in a town north of Boston where I was a Girl Scout through high school as well as a dancer. I went to undergrad at Ohio Wesleyan University where I led and participated in interfaith service trips to New Orleans, Nepal, India, and Haiti peaking my interest in cross-cultural social work.
My first job out of undergrad was at Pwoje Espwa care facility in Haiti where I matched volunteer skill sets with the needs of local Haitian leaders. During that year, I learned Haitian Kreyol and worked with colleagues to co-found a girls’ empowerment organization called Fi Ki Fo (Strong Girl) which is still in operation today. From there, I moved to Pittsburgh where I have worked with a variety of nonprofit and international organizations through a fellowship with Repair the World Pittsburgh and as an employee and consultant including:
Homewood Children’s Village
East End Cooperative Ministry
United Nations Development Programme
God’s Vision for Haiti
Strong Women, Strong Girls
Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA
YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh
While working full-time, I continued on to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh where I earned a Master of Social Work and Master of International Development. During my final year, I spent one month in Rishikesh, India where I became a certified yoga instructor.
I have more than six years of experience in program design, organizational development, qualitative research, and gender equitable and inclusive programs. I continue to explore my passions as a writer, creator, and collaborator driven by my personal mission statement.
to collaborate with others to create new things in the world that integrate multifaceted truths, hold nuance, and inspire empathy and connection
In line with my mission, I lead a national network of nonprofit leaders working with refugees and immigrants as Director of National Programs at Hello Neighbor here in Pittsburgh. I am passionate about the work we do for our new refugee neighbors locally and supporting grassroots organizations around the country through our National Network.
In the midst of the pandemic, I went through a cancer diagnosis, six months of chemo treatments, and am out the other side feeling strong and healthy. I am taking things slow, focusing on gardening, writing, moving my body, and my full-time work at Hello Neighbor.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you think we may be kindred spirits or would be interested in having a chat over some spirits (or tea :)).
Subscribe to my Substack newsletter, Time and Tides, here: https://rachelvinciguerra.substack.com
Boards & Leadership
Presentation & Facilitation
United Nations Headquarters
Women of Ohio Wesleyan Conference
Ohio Wesleyan University
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh