October 14, 2020

Sara Eskrich: Executive Director of Democracy Found

What do you do?

Executive Director,

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fannie Lou Hamer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sacagawea

What was your first job?

Babysitter – for my siblings and all the neighborhood kids (let’s just say, I really wanted to be a member of Baby-Sitters Club and had my own kid kit)

Favorite Hoan event?

Private Dinners

Song you'd sing at Karaoke?

Goodbye Earl by The Chicks

Favorite/least favorite part of your job?

Favorite: mission

Least Favorite: compliance

Book/podcast you’re listening to right now?

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isable Allende and The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein (I always have one fiction and one non-fiction going at a time.)


Biggest pet peeve?



What skill would you like to master?

Winning all the time

What’s the best way to start the day?

OJ with psyllium powder (because I’m really an old lady)

What are some things you’ve had to unlearn?

Still trying to unlearn doing everything myself.

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

I’ve been a City of Madison Alder, I can handle any question.

Tell me where you would like to see the city in five years (as far as policies or culture, etc)?

Truly representative and accountable governing bodies, pushing the needle on pragmatic, progressive policies that grow the attractiveness and livability of Madison for everyone.

What drew you to join Hoan?

The people. I find it’s best to always follow Jason Ilstrup’s advice.

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Political Innovation, specifically, Final-Five Voting

What do you wish your brain was better at doing?

Troubleshooting / solving puzzles

What are your hobbies, and how did you get into them?

Running, biking, swimming, skiing, cooking for friends and family, traveling, reading, yoga  

What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Learn to say “no” (both best and worst piece of advice)

What was the last show you binge-watched?

Last Dance (we were late to the party, but it was so good!)

What’s your "Death Row Meal?"

Osteria Papavero’s salumi (gran piatto) and verdure, with homemade chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting for dessert

(but really, let’s get rid of the death penalty)  

What originally got you interested in your current field of work?

Frustration with politics getting in the way of good, bipartisan policy work (and the seeming inability to both do politics and policy well)

What career advice would you give to your younger self?

Lean-in to more campaign work

If you could do it all over again, would you pursue the same career? Why or why not?

Absolutely. Even though I’ve changed jobs every three years or so, they’re always related to public service and public policy. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to systemic, policy change (in whatever small ways I can).

What do you regret not doing in the last year?

(Last 6-months) – Not going out to dinner. I miss pre-COVID dining so much!

How are you handling COVID/how has it affected you?

I’m adapting. Some days are rough, as an extrovert. Yet, I feel incredibly privileged for everything I have – health, family, mission-driven work, comfortable home and good cooking skills (and so much more)!

A genie gives you three wishes—what are they?

More hours in a day; health for me and my family; all people have their basic needs met  

What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?

Apparently I told my kindergarten teacher I wanted to be a cocktail waitress….

Favorite spot in Milwaukee/Madison?

Either the Arb, swimming in front of Monona Terrace, or the crest of any countryside hill in bike country to south/west of Madison

What's your favorite board/card game?


When will you know you've "made it"?

I don’t think you ever know that. You keep doing your best to “make it” every day.

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