Rob Waters

What is your craft? 

Writer and storyteller. I divide my time between my principle passion – journalism for magazines and websites – and working with organizations that are doing work in the arenas of social justice and public health to help them tell their story.

Tell us about a favorite project .  

I’m worked on a fascinating journalistic project about a building in New York City that is the largest home to performing artists in the country and developed an amazing community within the building that helped them care for each other when the building also became home to more people who died of AIDS than any building in the country. Today, the building is becoming an example of how to accommodate aging in place, applying the lessons learned during the AIDS years to create networks of care and services.

What is your secret power?  

What, just one? I’d say I have two: I make people comfortable so they’re willing to speak with me and tell me their story. And I’m really good at translating complex issues and ideas so people can understand and connect with them. Plus I know how to tell a good story.

Describe a mentor of yours. 

Raul Ramirez was an incredible human being who embodied the best of journalism — he wrote about immigrants and people who were cast aside with empathy and integrity. He was passionate about telling people's stories and about bringing new voices into the work of journalism so they could tell their own stories. He was also an amazing teacher and taught me a lot about how to teach and work with new writers.