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Those goals led him to Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut, where he graduated in 1994. From there, he went to Washington D.C. to work briefly for the Democratic National Committee and then won a spot on the White House speechwriting team during the Clinton years. It’s no surprise he called that a “life-changing” career opportunity. “Former President Clinton is a brilliant man; for sure he was really trying to do the right thing for the country,” Espinosa said. From the White House, Espinosa moved to the Justice Department where he served for three years as an aid to Attorney General Janet Reno. “That was again sort of life changing. She was the epitome of professionalism, fairness, just a good person,” Espinosa said. “She really helped shape who I wanted to be, professionally. She really was a phenomenal leader and a great role model to have in those years.” Still, Espinosa wanted to do more, so he applied and was accepted to Harvard University. In 2000, he came home to Gilroy with a Master’s degree in Public Policy under his belt and quickly landed a job in the Government Affairs department at Hewlett Packard. He moved to Palo Alto to be closer to work and became involved with the City Council. Over the next five years he served as Vice Mayor and then Mayor of Palo Alto. In 2008, Espinosa joined Microsoft, a position he said has allowed him to “engage on issues really important in communities and a ctually make a difference.” “I oversee a team of people who are running philanthropic programs across the country for Microsoft, investing in non- profits and schools and working on different social issues around the world,” he said. In today’s high-tech industry, high turnover may be the norm but not for Espinosa. “You’re empowering great work. You’re defining leaders and organizations that are really having an impact on critical, hard, complex issues. And you can empower them to reach more people and have an even bigger impact,” he said. World travel plays a large part in Espinosa’s life, between work and family, but the memories of growing up in Gilroy keep bringing him home. “I grew up in a quintessential small-town environment. Where you really knew your neighbors, where people really looked out for each other. Where people really wanted everyone in their community to have a great life, and a great experience, and people worked for that. I think those became values for me. That was modeled for me at home, and that led to what I wanted to do professionally, and how I live my life in general,” Espinosa said. Author’s Corner Continued from page 55 Telling a Different Story Jobsis-Brown had read several non-fiction accounts about this terrible time in history, but didn’t think her own family story would fit a non-fiction framework. “As a family memoir this was never going to work. This was never going to be enough information due to the passage of time, family living all across the world, and difficulty in people finding their voice to say what happened.” She decided that this story needed to be told through a fictional lens. She also keenly wanted to focus on that intergenerational trauma, the ripple effect when one family member’s secrets can affect family for generations. Jobsis-Brown pursued her own healing for various issues through therapy over the years but found it surprising that no one ever brought up the effects of intergenerational trauma. There is a large body of research documenting inherited trauma’s effect on epigenetics—how genes express themselves in relationship to experience—in descendants of Holocaust survivors. Many of those people experience higher risks of depression or anxiety as well as conditions like hypertension and strokes, but it hasn’t been as widely explored in other survivors of trauma. Writing this novel brought significant healing for Jobsis- Brown. In it, her main character Luce, pregnant after a miscarriage, is drawn back to her family of origin in the event of an accident involving her brother. The story interweaves 62 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN events in the present—as Luce risks her own pregnancy to tend to her brother and family—and the past, Jakob’s story of his time in the prison camps. As Luce gets him to un- burden himself of his traumatic story, it opens doors for communication that have been locked to the family and leads to healing. “While writing it I really felt in touch with my father’s spirit and that lost youth and what he was able to bring back,” she said. To piece together much of the book’s history, Jobsis-Brown relied upon information provided by Dutch relatives, copious research, and, when relevant, her own memories. Her family left the Netherlands when she was very young, moving to Iran with her father’s job for the Royal Dutch Shell company, and then settling in the United States when she was six-and-a-half years old. She hopes that people take away from her novel that “the human spirit is amazing, that we can always find a way to break through the mistaken thinking of ‘my spirit is broken.’ We’re all amazingly resilient and amazingly fragile at the same time.” The therapist in her also urges others with trauma or family secrets to open up the lines of communication like this fictional family does. “The only way you ever finally release the pain is by some way being open and honest about it.” NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 gmhtoday.com