We have another LA-based changemaker to introduce to the Upswell community! While Amira Resnick has been working for the past three years on projects focused on promoting health for kids, she has had a rounded career trajectory that began with a love for cultural anthropology. At the root of her intellectual interest was a passion for human diversity and a desire to channel that to address society-level inequity. She shared a little bit of her story, plus what motivates her. Check it out before joining her at Upswell in two weeks!
Q: Who are you, what drives you, what are you working on, and why are you inspired to make the world a better place?
AR: I am an inspiration junkie and mission-driven generalist who likes to look at the big picture and ask deep questions that work on us as we work on them. I tend to be driven by innate curiosity, appreciation of cultural differences, inter-personal relationships, and accountability to others, including friends, colleagues, fellow Angelenos, and communities across the globe. Lately, I’m focused on projects with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to bridge the gaps among schools, youth-serving organizations, businesses, and communities to better provide and promote good health for kids.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the physical space you work in?
AR: The best thing about working remotely in a virtual organization is the opportunity to switch it up. I’m grateful for my home office space with big windows that allow for lots of fresh air, and local coffee shops are a fun alternative work setting when I’m in the mood. I love living and working close to Downtown LA, with easy access (during non-rush hours!) to the many wonderful and culturally rich neighborhoods within and around it.
Q: What drew you to a career in the social sector?
AR: As an undergraduate student interested in the humanities, I was delighted to discover the field of cultural anthropology but didn’t quite know where it would take me if a career in academia wasn’t for me. My interest in human diversity and different ways of life combined with an awareness of social inequities and a desire to make myself useful led me to my first jobs in direct service, working one-to-one with individuals seeking supportive services to improve their lives. I was deeply inspired by these individuals, their journeys, and the compassionate, driven, and wise professionals that surrounded me. I knew I wanted to offer the best I had in return. Since then I have found every day of my career to be a personal and professional growth experience, and have never doubted that the social sector is where I belong. The quality, integrity, and warmth of people I meet along the way, who are working hard for others and for the common good have reaffirmed this for me time and time again.
Q: Upswell is about breaking the mold. What’s one thing you’d like to see in the conversation that doesn’t get enough national attention?
AR: I am energized and invigorated by the allure of striving to be a “changemaker,” but I worry that we don’t spend enough time evaluating whether the changes we make are the best, most needed. Or even good at all. I love California’s spirit of innovation and know that good, important work isn’t always romantic or enticing. I want to be careful about embracing change for change’s sake, especially when effective existing solutions (and programs) too often struggle to stay afloat in a challenging funding environment where long term investment in a project for the social good seems to be evermore in jeopardy. I’m interested to explore how some of the most successful innovation can be surprisingly subtle and simple. It may just be up to us to double down instead of changing course.