Upswell Reflections: Amanda D. Scott
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Q: Was Upswell different from other events you’ve attended in the past, and if so, how?
AS: Upswell was a constant rotation of activity. Unlike other conferences, Upswell provided multiple types of experiences to keep attendees engaged. The sessions were offered in short time periods to give us just the information we needed. Having some of the sessions/speakers repeat over the course of the conference gave me the option to learn more or get a repeat on information that I’d received.
Q: What was your favorite part of Upswell?
AS: My favorite part of Upswell was the immersion experiences. Going out into the community to see changework and having the dining experiences allowed me to see more of what happens in the community and appreciate the importance of what I do.
Q: What one big takeaway from Upswell inspired you to think differently about how your organization approaches its mission?
AS: The biggest takeaway was understanding the importance of investing in the people that invest in the community. I got to speak with so many people who were energized like I was after attending the conference. It helped me to really see the importance of investing in the staff and leaders that work for our communities so that they will go back and be energized about advocating and working for the community.
Q: What most excited you about Upswell?
AS: The speaker lineup.
Q: What most surprised you about Upswell?
AS: The diversity of professions represented.
Q: If you participated in one of the community experiences outside of the hotel, what did you learn about how that community is addressing a challenge that your organization can apply to better serve your community?
AS: The people who work hardest in the community don’t necessarily come from the professions and educational backgrounds that we expect. People are often motivated by passion to become involved in a cause or organization. So as hiring managers, we can’t rule them out just because of their professional and educational backgrounds.
Q: What did you like most about the Public Square – for example, Main Stage talks, Spark Talks, Immersive Arcade, Changemaker Challenge, Focus Groups, and Science and Tech Demos?
AS: I enjoyed the Main Stage talks most and then being able to stop in at the Spark Talks in between.
Q: If you attended Upswell workshops, which did you like best, and why?
AS: I liked the interactive components that allowed me to apply what was being discussed while meeting other attendees.
Q: Of Upswell’s art and music offerings, which most inspired you, and why?
AS: The Erik Wahl talk was most inspiring because it combined art/creativity with my professional passions and let me see the intersection and necessity of passion and purpose.
Q: Who was the most interesting person you met? Did you learn anything new?
AS: The most interesting person I met was a fellow social worker from California. I learned that while we are on two different ends of the spectrum of our profession, our professional experiences, challenges as people of color, and desires for inspiration were very similar.