Meet the first changemaker to register for Upswell!
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Melissa is a partner at La Piana Consulting, a nonprofit consulting firm that works to improve leadership and management practices throughout the sector for greater social impact. Her job requires creative thinking and an awareness of emerging trends, so the opportunity to collaborate on new approaches to make our collective community better appealed to her right away.
We asked Melissa to tell us more about her enthusiasm to register for Upswell LA. And once you read what inspired her, you’ll want to register and catch the Upswell wave, too:
1. With Upswell LA set for November 14-16, what made you register right away?
It still feels like a New Year, and – like a lot of us – I’m looking forward to new possibilities and ways to improve myself and how I contribute in community. Upswell LA looked like an opportunity to get a fresh take on things and to be part of something different, so I jumped on it. I also honestly couldn’t pass up the special “first 50” pricing that made what’s often a barrier to participation much less.
2. What about Upswell LA are you looking forward to most?
I’m excited that everyone there is going to be part of a kind of experiment. None of us really know what to expect, so it’s a collective leap of faith. We’re all looking for meaning, when you boil it down, and it feels like it’s time we pursue that together in more creative ways that may challenge our assumptions, push us out of our comfort zones, and shake things up (in a good way!).
3. How would you like Upswell LA’s 3-day gathering in LA to be different from conferences you’ve attended previously?
I love learning, so I really do take something away from every conference I’m able to attend, but I’m also looking forward to an experience that’s more from the heart than it is from the head. It sounds funny, but being a consultant, we’re too often the ones at the front of the room talking about some theory or process – yet we come to this work because we want to be part of making a difference in the world! So I’m hoping this experience will tap into that appetite for deep change we all share. And humor and fun – those are a big part of how I think we can best get all this important work done!
4. What issue is most important to you that you’d like to see addressed at Upswell LA?
I’m attracted to the theme of “Upswell” and the idea of new and different voices rising, and of a collective, cumulative sense of growing power. Big picture: we need to rebuild our democracy in a way that works for everyone, and nonprofits and their allies have a key role to play in this. To get there, I think we need to activate the complement to resistance: what we actually embrace, celebrate, and create together.