CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

AARP’s Gerri Madrid-Davis

A Fan of Snow Leopards and Audre Lord

Gerri Madrid-Davis is the director of director of financial security and consumer affairs at AARP. Before participating in a panel on why young Californians aren’t saving for retirement, she talked in the Zócalo green room about what happens when your name becomes a nickname, and how child labor laws can offer inspiration.

Q:
If you could be any animal, which would you choose?

A:
Probably a snow leopard. You’d be in the cold, one of few, isolated. And in demand.

Q:
What’s your favorite book that you read in college?

A:
Probably any book of poetry by Audre Lord.

Q:
Where do you go to be alone?

A:
My office at home.

Q:
What was the last thing that inspired you?

A:
Pictures of children working before we had child labor laws. I looked at those yesterday. It’s one of those things can always be better, but things can also be a lot worse than they are now.

Q:
What do you eat for breakfast?

A:
Eggs and bacon or a green smoothie.

Q:
What word or phrase do you use most often?

A:
Unbelievable.

Q:
Did you have any nicknames as a kid?

A:
Just Gerri. I don’t think any of the others are publishable. [Laughs.] No, I wouldn’t want that one in print. It’s one thing when your own first name becomes a nickname, because I was born in 1969, and in the early ’70s Flip Wilson was “Geraldine.”

Q:
What do you do to pass the time on an airplane?

A:
Sleep, read, watch movies. Usually in that order.

Q:
What’s hanging on your refrigerator?

A:
Nothing. It’s an atrocious, fake stainless steel that nothing sticks to. Why is that? If it’s going to be metal, it should … but no, there’s nothing.

Q:
What’s your favorite pair of shoes?

A:
The ones I have on. They make me taller. But they have granny soles, so they’re like Easy Spirit or something—they still look stylish, but they don’t hurt.