Meet the Region 2 Candidates for the MQG Board of Directors

We are happy to say that there are two candidates, Danielle Alba and Sarah Ruiz, running for the MQG board of directors in Region 2. If you live in Region 2, you will get an email in November with all the information you need to cast your ballot.

We asked each candidate to send us a letter about why they want to be on the MQG Board of Directors, and also had them answer a set of questions that all board members have to reply to. Read through, watch the videos, and then look for an email to cast your vote!

A Letter from Danielle Alba:

Members of The Modern Quilt Guild,
My name is Danielle Alba, and I am applying for a position on the Region 2 Board of Directors for The Modern Quilt Guild. I believe my academic and professional background would be of service to the guild. I wish to be part of growing and developing the guild toward its mission.

I studied Ecology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and continued my education at Oklahoma State University to become an Evolutionary Ecologist. After graduate school, I began working at a community college teaching a student body largely consisting of ethnically diverse and first-generation college students. I also started volunteering for Soroptimist International—a women’s education and rights advocacy organization—and served a term as an AmeriCorps Environmental Educator with the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Around this time my husband’s grandmother was in the end stages of dementia, and while sorting out her estate, I found several antique quilt tops. I decided to buy a machine, learn to sew, and finish these quilts as a final gift to her. This reconnected me with my artistic side, which had been largely suppressed during my career. With no organized community for quilters
nearby, I founded a chapter of The Modern Quilt Guild in Nampa, ID. I found myself drawn to modern quilting as it supports social awareness, personal expression, and visual symbolism.

At this point, the college where I was teaching had had some policy changes. I was quilting more and more to work my frustrations out and into the fabric. In a drastic career change, I started The Quilt Idaho. It is a retreat for small quilt groups. We also provide longarm quilting services and an online quilt shop to bring quilting supplies to a very isolated area of Idaho.

After a two-year term as President of The Nampa Quilt Guild, I stepped back to focus on my business and family. Now that time has passed, I think serving on the Region 2 Board of Directors will be a fitting cause and provide me with an opportunity to contribute my experience.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you around the quilting community!

Kind Regards,
Danielle Alba

A Letter from Sarah Ruiz:

Hello Region 2 MQG members!
I’m Sarah Ruiz, an avid quilter and pattern designer, aerospace engineer, and longtime MQG member requesting your consideration as the new Region 2 representative on the MQG Board of Advisors.

I live with my husband and two young daughters in Houston, Texas. I’ve enjoyed creative pursuits as long as I can remember, and spent many childhood hours drawing, crafting, and cross-stitching at our kitchen table. As a teenager, I developed another strong interest in a different area – space exploration. This ultimately led me to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where I’ve enjoyed a 20+ year career supporting human spaceflight missions to Earth orbit and, soon, to the Moon.

However, my desire to use the creative part of my brain never left. After dabbling in design and photography, I began quilting 11 years ago. I immediately realized that quilting combined art and engineering in an incredibly satisfying way, but little did I expect the impact it would have on my life!

My answers to the MQG’s questionnaire cover many of the things you may want to know about me – my long history with the MQG as a member, guild leader, and collaborator; my qualifications and skills for this position; and my leadership style and thoughts on handling difficult situations. Instead of repeating that information here, I’d like to tell you why I chose to apply for the MQG Board of Advisors.

I’ve seen the positive impact that the MQG and its affiliated guilds can have on quilters, both within our local communities and across the country and the world. Through the MQG, I’ve improved my skills, helped those in need, and gained amazing friendships. But I’ve also seen firsthand some of the challenges that quilters and guilds deal with – how to build community, find and access top-quality modern quilting education, fund guild activities and programming, recruit new members and convince existing members to step into leadership roles, and maintain continuity as the membership evolves. These are some examples, but certainly not an exhaustive list.

Last February, I was thrilled to return to QuiltCon in person after the 2-year covid-induced hiatus. I soaked up time in Phoenix with quilty friends old and new – many of whom I was meeting in person for the first time. Amidst hugs and laughs, we also shared many conversations about QuiltCon and the larger MQG organization, and the initiatives that occur year-round. Much of this discussion was positive, but there was constructive criticism as well.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of our joy at being back at QuiltCon with our frustration with things that we felt could be improved. We all value the MQG so much, and it bothered me to complain – but I realized that in this case, we complain because we care. The Region 2 board member opened an opportunity for me to act on that sentiment. Becoming a board member will allow me to better understand how the organization operates, and represent both the kudos and the complaints of the members of Region 2. I care deeply about the MQG and its future success, and hope to play an active role in charting that future.

Thank you for your time, and for considering me as your Region 2 representative.
Sarah Ruiz