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.
If you could be any animal, which would you choose?
Probably a snow leopard. You’d be in the cold, one of few, isolated. And in demand.
What’s your favorite book that you read in college?
Probably any book of poetry by Audre Lord.
Where do you go to be alone?
My office at home.
What was the last thing that inspired you?
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.
What do you eat for breakfast?
Eggs and bacon or a green smoothie.
What word or phrase do you use most often?
Did you have any nicknames as a kid?
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.”
What do you do to pass the time on an airplane?
Sleep, read, watch movies. Usually in that order.
What’s hanging on your refrigerator?
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.
What’s your favorite pair of shoes?
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.