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say it with moxy

Women with Moxy: Ruby Hoffman

Tell us about yourself.  Who are you to the world?

To the world I would say that I am insignificant – but to the people in my circle who inhabit our own little corner of this world I would say that I’m kind of a big deal 😊

I am the youngest of three and my family will be the first to tell you that I am the one who wears their heart on their sleeve. I am an idealist, a hopeless optimist, creative “idea person”, and deep thinker (often an over-thinker).

I’ve been through undergrad twice and I’ve had many different jobs. I’ve worked in mental health, non-profit leadership, I’ve worked in hospitals, clinics, and research departments, I’ve been a consultant and now a data analyst. I studied and performed the art of dance for 22 years and aerial hoop for 3 years, I am an RN, I am technically a yoga instructor, I care about and follow politics, I have a degree in Psychology, I love authentically connecting with people and being a part of creating safe spaces for people to be their most authentic selves. I care deeply about people and the world and I am a person who really wants to change it for the better, especially for women.

I am currently in the thick of being a new mom- I have an 18 month old and 7 months pregnant with our second. I have always been a champion of women, but I have a newly fueled passion for issues that predominantly affect mothers since becoming one. I knew things were not great (especially in the U.S.) for mothers, but I had no idea just how much we as a society expect from mothers, physically, emotionally, economically, and how little resources there are for support.

Was there a moment when you first realized you had moxy?

I think I’ve been aware that I’ve had “moxy” or something resembling that definition since I was very young. I remember asking questions in Sunday school that my poor 17 year old Sunday school teacher didn’t really have answers and I remember thinking like “…you guys are the ones running this place?” and just having an overwhelming sense that adults really didn’t know what they were doing (spoiler alert to when I became an adult – turns out I was right). I grew up in a very small town and never felt like I “fit in” despite many desperate attempts in my teenage years to convince myself and others otherwise. Teachers called me “gifted” and “so mature for my age” until I started using my moxy for delinquent thrills out of boredom and resentment.

I don’t think I truly realized how much Moxy I had until I moved away from that small town to attend an arts high school and live largely on my own in a dorm when I was 16 and I actually think I lost a lot of my Moxy in college ( the first time around). I went to St. Kates – an all-women’s college and there was an abundance of women with an abundance of Moxy and they all seemed to know what they were doing; they knew what they wanted and they knew exactly how to get it and more. While I was still just beginning to learn about myself in a different context. For the first time I wanted to play it safe – I wanted to fit in and in doing so I think I lost a lot of my authentic self and a lot of my natural moxy and I think it actually just starting to come back in my 30s.

Share something unsuspecting about you? What would people be surprised to know?

I am really loud. If I’m not mindful of it – the natural volume of my voice is much louder than the average person, so I am told. I think it may have something to do with being the youngest – in our family growing up if you weren't loud and talking over someone you just weren’t going to get a word in edgewise, or maybe I just suffer from voice immodulation, it does affect up to six people a year.

Everything I’ve shared so far will likely come as a surprise to many – I didn’t have a very traditional childhood/transition to adulthood and I’ve followed a pretty non-traditional path education wise and career-wise. I think we intentionally try to package ourselves up on resumes and LinkedIn especially but also in our personal lives on social media too; we put a lot of time and energy into presenting this very tidy, linear narrative of who we are and it’s really so one dimensional that when we have opportunities to really dig deeper and hear the whole story -we are always a bit surprised.

How do you recharge your moxy?

Right now I am really into Reshma Saujani – she is the CEO of Girls Who Code and Mom’s First. She is doing some incredible work to change the political and workforce landscape to be not only more inclusive of women but by design supportive of women and mothers. She has some pretty motivating speeches/interviews on LinkedIn and Instagram and it always recharges my cup of moxy.

My therapist helps me recognize my moxy even when I feel like I’m all out. Highly recommend finding a pre-natal/post partum therapist if you are within 7 years of having a child ( on either side 😊).

The person who not only recharges, but fuels my moxy is my sister Serena Roberts. She is the most incredible woman I know. She has always blazed her own path, has never allowed anyone to put limits on her (not for lack of trying) and she is willing to stick out her own neck to make positive change, which I think is such a rare quality. Most people will speak up or stand up if it feels safe to do so, if there is little risk to their own position, but my sister will speak up and stand up for what is right even when it is really risky for her to do so and if that isn’t the definition of moxy – I don’t know what is.

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