New Employees on the Block

Heather and Aaron Pensive

Here at EJC we have been fortunate to get a lot of fresh talent to join the team. We have enjoyed getting to know them as we continue to pursue EJC’s mission promoting workplace justice. Considering how much we’ve enjoyed getting to know them, we thought you might too. Our two newest hires, Heather Kryzak and Aaron Goggans sat down and interviewed each other in hopes that they might share a little bit about themselves. We were unprepared for the nuanced and sophisticated conversation that followed. Suffice it to say, they delved into the depths of the human experience and what they discovered left us speechless.
Aaron: What were you doing before you started at EJC?

Heather: Before joining the EJC I was living and working in Ecuador, as the Country Director for Manna Project International. I was in charge of leading and mentoring a group of 10 volunteers, who were responsible for running education, health, and livelihoods programs out of our public-lending library and community center.

Aaron: What is your favorite part of working at EJC?

Heather: I really like being at the Workers’ Rights Clinics. I love the combination of helping the low-income workers who have been treated poorly by their employers and working with the volunteers who donate their time to help us with intakes. I also like that the EJC combines legal assistance with advocacy so we aren’t just helping individuals but also empowering them to make systemic changes which will in turn help others.

Aaron: What is something about yourself that might surprise people?

Heather: It seems to surprise people to hear me speak Spanish. I don’t exactly blend in with the Latino community, but after 3 years in Ecuador I have gained a pretty high level of fluency. When I respond to workers in Spanish at the clinic they always look surprised.

Aaron: What was your favorite album when you were 16?

Heather: This is a little embarrassing and I would like to state that my music tastes have definitely evolved over the years, but I was a huge Eminem fan in high school.

Aaron: Pretend a minister from a small, absolute monarchy in Europe came to you and said you are the heir to the throne. Upon your coronation, what would be your first act as Grand Duchess?

Heather: Increase the minimum wage! Paid vacation and sick days for all! I like to think that I would be a merciful dictator.

Aaron: What did you study in college?

Heather: International Relations and Spanish.

Heather: What made you apply to work for the EJC?

Aaron: I was working at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) part time and was deciding between finding part time jobs that would allow me to pursue my art and a full time job that would allow me to move off my sisters’ couch. Yet, after my organizing work with the CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign ended I realized that I really need to be advocating for social justice for me to be happy. I decided to apply!

Heather: What’s the most exciting thing that you have gotten to see or do since you started working here?

Aaron: I’m a bit of policy and procedure nerd so I really like the wonky drama of legislative meetings. If Shonda Rhimes made a DC city council procedural I would watch it religiously. So I was really excited by the marathon final legislative meeting.

Heather: If money were not a factor (you didn’t have to work to survive) what would you do with the rest of your life?

Aaron: I would spend half my time organizing co-operatives and intentional spaces and the rest of my time writing and making art.

Heather: What is the #1 country you would like to visit but haven’t yet?

Aaron: I’d like to visit Egypt. I read The Alchemist when I was 14 and have always half believed that my destiny would be revealed to me on the steps of the Pyramids.

Heather: Who is your celebrity crush and why?

Aaron: Dr. Melissa Harris Perry at Tulane University and MSNBC. She has every quality I look for in a wife: gorgeous, intellectual, radical politics, a lyrical writer and makes enough money that I could stay at home and take care of the kids. What more could you ask for?

Heather: If you could change one thing about DC as a city what would it be?

Aaron: I wish long term residents weren’t being displaced by rising rents, enabled systematic disinvestment and prospecting. Eventually I will not be able to afford to live here anymore but the larger concern for me that I will no longer want to live here once DC loses its soul and its history. A city with no soul, no sense of its history is just shadows and dust: inauthentic and devoid of permanence.

Heather: How many times have you been locked in the EJC bathroom?

Aaron: No comment.