One of the most powerful tools in the changemaker toolkit is storytelling. As managing partner and chief engagement officer of Momentum Solutions, David Kietzman and his team help changemakers tell stories that matter. And David’s own story is a fascinating one. He’s taught art in Central America, led nonprofits, launched a giving circle, lectured at California’s most prestigious universities, co-founded his current social enterprise…and he joined the first Upswell Lab in Los Angeles! We asked him to share some thoughts about what drives him – and why he’s looking forward to Upswell.
Q: In a few sentences, tell us who you are – what drives you, what you’re working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place.
DK: I used to call myself a social impact leader, but everyone I know could call themselves that. I am a connector, observer, activator, and storyteller. I work with organizations to tell their story of impact, to help bring in more clients, funders, and general support for their programs or services. People inspire me. Having grown up in LA, our City of Angels inspires me every day – the depth, resilience and energy that lives in each community as well as the social impact leaders and organizations that work together to solve some wicked problems we are dealing with.
Q: What’s your favorite Sunday morning activity?
DK: Read, walk, play, pray, paint, and cook – in no particular order!
Q: Besides the obvious (more funding), what’s the one resource that would really help your community thrive?
DK: Trust. We can give more money, influence, and great ideas to our communities in need, but to thrive and create sustainable change, we need to authentically trust our community leaders, families, and youth to lead. We need to trust them to create authentic solutions to the issues they live with. To me this is a strengths-driven approach to philanthropy and would help communities thrive. Trusting our communities to help drive collaborative efforts involves giving them the tools, resources, and structure needed to thrive. Trust is a powerful force for change.
Q: What excites you most about Upswell?
DK: The idea behind Upswell is dynamic and insanely ambitious, and that excites me. We need big ideas and ones that push us, sometimes towards uncomfortable topics and solutions to advance the common good. Having like-minded philanthropic, nonprofit, community, and corporate leaders in the same room for a couple days is exciting. Just giving people a space to authentically connect, build relationships, and trust is rare, and much needed in the social impact sector.