Hard work runs in my family. My great-grandmother was a suffragette who fought hard advocating for women’s rights, and my grandfather worked for 50 years as a union typographer. I seek to emulate their commitment and dedication at my job every day. My father was a self-starter who established his own business repairing electronics, and my mother built an established career in real estate over the last 30 years. The belief that rolling up your sleeves and working hard is a way of life has been instilled in my family for generations, and I will continue to do exactly that for New Hampshire.
I was born in New Hampshire, and largely grew up in Hampton. I am a product of the NH school system, attending the Center School, Sacred Heart School, Hampton Academy, and Winnacunnet High School. After graduating from High School in 1990, I earned a BA in Business at McGill University in Montreal — it was here that I met my wonderful husband, Sarmad Harake.
My husband grew up during the Lebanese civil war, the son of a Lebanese father and Cypriot mother, and emigrated to Canada. When we met, I was so proud and excited to show Sarmad my home state of New Hampshire — and I can genuinely say that he loves New Hampshire as much as I do! We have two wonderful children, and we’re grateful to have been able to raise a family in this beautiful state.
I have worked hard my whole life, taking my first job as a babysitter at the age of 12, bagging groceries, paying my own way through college, and ultimately becoming an international businesswoman. While I had hoped to return home after college to start my professional career in New Hampshire, I did not find a position that fit my chosen career path. Instead, I moved to Istanbul with Sarmad to take advantage of an emerging market, and worked in international investment banking as a researcher and sales person. Ultimately, I embraced my entrepreneurial spirit and established a successful coffee trading business with my husband, while earning a degree in Diplomacy.
During my time in international business, I learned critical skills that I will leverage on behalf of New Hampshire. My time in international business taught me to communicate across various boundaries, negotiate with people from different backgrounds with different values and goals, and navigate high pressure situations. Running a business while raising a family, I have learned not only how to balance competing priorities and find practical solutions, but I also have a deep understanding of how economies and balanced budgets work in a dynamic and changing environment.
Prior to my return to New Hampshire, I spent a short time in South Carolina — this only made me appreciate my roots here even more, and I am eager to bring all of my experience back in service to our state. As a mother and businesswoman, I am deeply invested in how this state can support our families, educate our children, and provide for our people. Seeing an opportunity to serve my state, I stepped up and ran for state representative, and then for the budget committee. I now lead the budget committee, and while I take initiative to volunteer as an advocate on key issues like climate change and reproductive rights, I know that I can do more.
In the last few years, I have felt the large and lively world that inspired and excited me begin to close on us. I am disturbed by the increasingly negative polarization of our culture and politics in this country, and I believe New Hampshire has the bipartisan, community-oriented roots to lead the country. I learned a long time ago that people with different goals, and even with different values, can find common ground and build consensus toward outcomes that benefit us all. This spirit of working together is part of New Hampshire’s roots, and I will bring my experience in diplomacy, business, and consensus-building to work hard for all of New Hampshire in the Executive Council.