Presenter Q&A with Meg Busse: deep curiosity and optimism
// By Christian Clansky
If you could have dinner with any living person, who would it be and why?
There are two people who pop to mind. My daughter is six, and two of our favorite books to read are bios of Jane Goodall and Wangari Maathai. Jane Goodall’s work with gorillas is legendary, and I’m so often struck by the courage and self-knowledge it took for her to take the first step on her life of impact and adventure. Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, focused on planting trees, environmental conversation, and women’s rights, and she won the Nobel Prize in 2002. Imagine a dinner with Jane and Wangari, hearing their stories of what they’ve seen, how they fuel their optimism, and how they took their first steps to change the world. What a night that would be!
What personal passion project are you working on right now?
Several years ago, I got to hear Mia Birdsong talk about building community as a form of self-care. That community building – for myself, for our grantees – has been something I’ve been thinking about since then. In fits and starts, I’ve been working to build a community of women and amazing folks around me and my daughter – and thinking a lot about how we can both ask for help from and contribute back to the community. And for our Fellows, I spend a lot of time tweaking the shape of our alumni community to allow for the give and take that’s essential for a vibrant, resilient network.
Who do you know who is living life to the fullest?
My first instinct is to say my daughter. There’s something about the way kids are less in their head and so much into their bodies and in the moment. The way she embraces life, the way she thinks about the world, the way she stops to really closely examine a slug or leaf or stick. She notices all of the little things I tend to rush by. And while she goes so slowly sometimes and notices everything, other times she’s a-mile-a-minute, giddy and goofy, and vibrating with excitement about the big things in her world — a camping trip, visits with friends, or getting to stay up late. She is such a great role model for how to be curious, joyful, excited about what’s to come, and fully in the moment.
What should be the goal of humanity?
You know, to this question, there’s something about each of us embracing deep curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a bit of excitement about the world around us and what’s possible. We don’t have to like everything or be Pollyannaish, but being opened-minded and inquisitive seems like a solid aspiration for humanity.
[…] What have the Fellows learned during their resistance- and initiative-building journey? Hear first-hand from 2019 cohort members and foundation chief operating officer Meg Busse during the Upswell workshop, A Year of Resistance: What We’ve Learned, and What’s Next (learn more about Meg here). […]