Tell Me Something: Lisa Tepper Bates describes her ideal road trip

Lisa Tepper Bates has been the executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness since May 2013. The coalition has a big event coming up - its Annual Training Institute May 8 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. At this day-long event for organizations working to end homelessness, CCEH provides training and information on best practices; information on policy changes at the national and state levels, and updates on major system changes, like health care reform. More details can be found on the coalition's home page.

Tepper Bates previously served for four years as the director of the Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality, and before that, was a United States diplomat for 13 years. Bates was the Special Assistant for Europe for two U.S. Under Secretaries of State and worked for the White House National Security Council as the Director for Southeastern Europe. Bates is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MBA from Yale University with a focus in non-profit management. She lives in Stonington with her husband, Scott and son, Jacob.

Say you have a modern-day high school locker. Whose picture would be hanging in it?

One of my husband and son.

What's your favorite sandwich?

Peanut butter and blueberry jelly from the Stonington Farmers' Market.

You're locked in a museum for a night, which one would it be?

The National Museum of American History – they have the Star Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry. They also have the kitchen from Julia Child's Cambridge, Mass., home!

What's your favorite word in a language other than English?

"Skarbiec" which means "treasure" in Polish. I like to call my son that.

What's a movie you like, but can't convince others to like?

"Burnt by the Sun," a 1994 film by Russian director/actor Nikita Mikhalkov. It's a moving and tragic story of the betrayal of the Russian people during the process of consolidation of Communist rule in Russia. Not everyone's cup of tea.

Sorry to have to tell you this, but an asteroid is going to wipe out all humanity next week. So, what's your last meal and who is coming to dinner?

I love spaghetti with really good red sauce - so that's the meal. Guests: my immediate family and all my close friends, from childhood through college to my life in Connecticut. I hope it's a big table!

What's your favorite board game?

Pirate-opoly. Remember: I have a 7-year-old son!

What's a dish you crave that you've had overseas but can't seem to get in the United States?

Zurek, Polish "sour soup" made with a base from fermented rye.

You're a DJ at a club. What's the night's last song?

"Viva La Vida," by Coldplay. I'm a big fan!

Name an item you can't live without:

A Roman coin pendant I found in Turkey many years ago. It has been with me through lots of adventures and parts of my life.

Item you should live without and keep meaning to get rid of:

Some of my son's baby toys... but it's hard to part with them!

What's the song have you been listening to on repeat the most?

"Life is a photograph," by local CT musician Will Evans.

If your present day you could give advice to younger you, what would it be?

Even when the cause is urgent, positive change takes time and patience.

Last book you couldn't put down:

"Sense and Sensibility," by Jane Austen. It may sound hokey, but I love her use of language - we don't use the English language with such artistry anymore.

You're going on a road trip. Pick a destination. Pick a vehicle. Pick a song to start the trip and song to play when you get there.

OK - this is really going to be a road trip! The route is from Barrow, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego - from one end to the other of the Americas! The car -- a really sturdy Jeep but with comfortable seats, and a good stereo. To start the trip: "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," by Coldplay. It sounds melancholy, but actually very jazzy and upbeat - good energy to launch the trip. When we get there, "I've been Everywhere," by Johnny Cash. What else?

What's a word you can never spell correctly on the first try:


Coffee or tea?

Coffee, though I like tea a lot, too.

Saturday night or Sunday morning?

Sunday morning.

Anagrams or palindromes?


What is your pet peeve?

Typos on restaurant menus. I don't know why that is, but it is.

What historical event would you like to have been witness to?

Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

What is your favorite place in Connecticut to recharge or find serenity?

Stonington Point.

Whom alive today do you most admire?

I am really lucky to have worked with a great many people I admire and respect, and from whom I have learned a lot. If I have to choose just one, it would be the Reverend Doctor Ken Carpenter. Ken has incredible empathy, insight, and wisdom, and a deep and abiding devotion to his local community. Ken is a minister, a decorated Veteran who has been inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame and the founder of the Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality (MASH). I am honored to know him.


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