Tessa grew up in central and northern Illinois, but has been a proud Hoosier since 2012. They majored in music performance and minored in gender studies, but when they couldn’t find a job with that lucrative combination, stumbled into service industry union organizing. Tessa began organizing with the food service and hospitality industry labor union Unite Here in 2016. Learning the power of collective action changed their brain and their life. After being laid off with many other service industry employees during the COVID-19 crisis, Tessa found their queer fam at the Damien Center. They feel so lucky and grateful to be a care coordinator. Their favorite part of the job is getting to know their clients, who have such remarkable stories. Tessa’s ideal day off involves a little guitar playing, a little outside time, some good vegetarian eats, some relaxing knitting, and lots of cuddles with their spoiled kitty cats.