We had the good fortune of connecting with Gretchen Burns Bergman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gretchen, what principle do you value most?
Integrity. I’ve always felt a drive to be an active participant in this life. My sister used to say that it seemed like I needed to fill every single day with important activity or meaning. My father taught me that “your word is your bond.” I believe that you must constantly strive to be the best you can be, to develop and expand your talents and attributes in order to make significant contributions to the world. I hope that I have imparted this principle to my sons as well. As human beings, we all make mistakes, but with the core value of integrity to guide us, we can self-correct to continue to grow and give.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since I was 5 years old I wanted to be a dancer. I am proud that I was able to perform professionally, teach jazz dance for 25 years, lead a dance company, choreograph countless shows and continue to perform now at the age of 73. I realized I’m not a world class dancer, but I learned that I had a unique ability to merge fashion, theatrical elements and dance, and to create unique shows that could inspire and entertain audiences. I was able to follow my passion and develop a fulfilling career by minimizing the voice inside that says you aren’t good enough, and by believing in the power of positive thinking. I’m proud that I was able to use the skills I learned as a fashion show producer to help to promote the mission of my non-profit organization, A New PATH. We work to reduce the stigma associated with addictive illness and we advocate for therapeutic rather than punitive drug policy. We’ve created innovative campaigns that can communicate our message viscerally through art, music and dance.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
We live in a beautiful place with exceptionally nice weather. From the beaches to the mountains, San Diego County offers a diverse variety of landscapes and experiences. Balboa Park is the gem of our city, offering museums, a world renowned zoo and the Old Globe Theater, so a day strolling through this park is a must. We are a border town, so a quick visit to Mexico is a wonderful cultural experience. Within a day, you could horse-back ride in the East County, play in the snow in the mountains and enjoy splashing in the surf in Mission Beach. San Diego harbor offers a variety of boating excursions, and Coronado is a great place to see a breathtaking view of the city. We have a number of excellent dining opportunities as well as performing arts, including live music, theater, art and dance. I was born and raised in San Diego County and I love my hometown. Watching the sunset from my deck, looking out at the ocean is a perfect ending to the day.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to recognize the love and support of my family. My two sisters are also two of my closest friends, sharing laughter and tears throughout life. My husband, who is a retired physician, has helped me to spread my wings by believing in me and encouraging my efforts to mobilize parents to lead drug policy reform. Our relationship is based on mutual love and respect. My sons deserve a shoutout for having the courage to allow me to tell our story. All of the wonderful fellow advocates I’ve met over the years in building our movement of moms through A New PATH and our Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign have enriched this journey beyond measure.

Website: www.gretchenproductions.com ; www.anewpath.org ; www.momsunited.net
Instagram: @anewpath99
Twitter: @anewpath99
Facebook: @anewpathsite ; @gretchenproductions
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PATHMomsUnited

Image Credits
Geni Cavitt