We had the good fortune of connecting with Martha Staab and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Martha, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk vs Benefit is the mantra I repeat when it comes to taking risks. It’s a phrase we use in the medical field often, when considering treatment options and diagnostic tests. Does the risk outweigh the benefit? This thought process allows me to really consider the advantages as well as the challenges and exposure of a decision. What will I get out of this decision, and what stakes may be compromised? Taking risks can be exhilarating, provide growth and new skills but at what cost? Using risk vs benefit mindset I analyze all angles of a decision because the truth is some risks are not worth taking. With that being said, many times the benefits of exposure alone do outweigh the risks. Everyone has knowledge on topics other’s may not, and taking a risk can be as simple as speaking up on an issue I provide a different perspective on. Due to risks that I have taken, I have attained goals that I thought would take years to accomplish. For example, I was asked to be part of a community service organization that I knew I wasn’t ready or fully equipped for. After discussing my concerns with the founder of the organization, being honest with my apprehensions, I took the risk that I now realize I would have never been fully “equipped” for. The benefits have been above and beyond what I could have expected and together with the other members of our organization, we have provided services to thousands of people that may have not otherwise received help. I have traveled and met incredible, intelligent people from all over the world who come from so many different backgrounds and adversities. I have worked with influential people including, members of parliament, ambassadors for ministries of foreign affairs, and ministers of health who have expressed their faith and support in our work. These benefits encourage me, allow me to feel accomplished, and teach me discomfort is actually where great things come from. Spontaneity is admirable, but taking risks that affect my life, career, and others around me require breaking down the decision, and of course communication.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was very lucky to know by the first exam in my high school anatomy class that I wanted to be a nurse for the rest of my life. I became an RN and have worked in pediatric hospitals all over the United States since. With a specialty in pediatric oncology/hematology I have learned that being a nurse is more than a profession, it is a calling and privilege that I couldn’t be more grateful to have been granted. I am also the US Country Coordinator for CAREUSTZ, a nonprofit that organizes and operates empowerment programs for refugee and immigrant families in the US and vulnerable communities in Tanzania. I was able to obtain these roles through so much support and encouragement from those around me. I am proud of their faith in my abilities. I am excited to live up to their expectations and help as many people as I can in the time I have. Nursing school was not easy, learning to cope with the sorrows of helping people who are sick is not easy, and taking on a role that I have never had in an international organization is not easy. I am forever a student of life, learning along the way and there have been many doubts and a lot of tears. With support from my peers, long (tearful) talks with loved ones, spotify playlists, yoga, and patience with myself, I have been able to find a better balance. The lessons I have learned will help me through all of life. Lessons such as: communication is the most important role in solution, crying is healthy and may be the second most important role in solution, death is a major part of living and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, listening is sometimes the best response, and never be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer to this” or “I don’t know what you are going through”. I would like the world know that life’s largest rewards and the truest feelings of purpose come from serving others.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sunday: Smogasburg at ROW DTLA

Monday: Malibu Monday; drive up PCH to find surf spot, lounge on the beach and then drive through the Santa Monica Mountains to Malibu Wine and Beer Garden.

Tuesday: Venice! Head to Great White and order banana bread, Great White Breakie, and tumeric lattes. Head to the strand and spend time watching the skaters, street performers, and browsing the market stalls. Head over to Rose St for Jeni’s Ice Cream. Drive down Lincoln for El Primo Taco Truck, get tacos and al pastor burrito to go. Go across the street to Ralph’s for a 6 pack of your choice and a couple stacks of wood and then head to Dockweiler Beach for bonfire on the beach!

Wednesday : Early afternoon walk at Santa Monica beach, head to Farmers Market in West Hollywood for lunch. Walk over to Los Angeles County Museum of Art by 3pm (after 3pm is free for those with LA ID) Explore the museum and art exhibitions. Sugarfish for dinner!

Thursday: Redondo Beach Farmers Market! Coffee, tamales, crepes, from the market stalls. Buy some fresh locally grown produce – the strawberries and oranges are the best! Walk the pier and grab a beer and fresh seafood at Quality Seafood on the boardwalk. Drive 15min to South Coast Botanical Garden and explore the different gardens Early dinner at Riviera Village Margaritas at Kalaveras, or Espresso martinis at Table Manners, then head to Palos Verdes Shoreline for sunset.

Friday: Hop on a morning ferry to Catalina Island – Two Harbors side of course – Check in to Banning House Lodge, fill out your order for breakfast the next morning and spend the day exploring the quiet isthmus, hike the overlook trail for sunset. Harbor Reef Restaurant for dinner, order Buffalo Milk Cocktail for desert, then enjoy pool table and the jukebox by the bar until closing time. If it’s a clear night, try and spot lights of Palos Verdes on the California Coast on the walk back to the Banning House, then stargazing on the west side of the lodge .

Saturday: Wake up to the beautiful views surrounding the Banning House, eat the pre-ordered breakfast on the terrace overlooking the west side of the island. Catch a ferry back to the mainland. Arrive back to LA and head to Mickey’s Deli in Hermosa for a sub and a pizza to go. Head across the strand and enjoy dinner on the beach.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout my team of light, the Mkanta family, and Gavin Colton for having faith in every risk I take. You are all my greatest benefit!


Website: careustz.org

Image Credit: Bright Thebeti Eliya Adam II

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.