1) What communications work do you do?
The communication work I have done over the years has been quite diverse.
From 2003 – 2009 I was a political blogger, having founded Afro-Netizen in 1999 in my native Chicago. I am also a facilitator who trains individuals and teams on issues of communication & collaboration via teaching principles of improvisation. I also am a public speaker on issues of identity, media & politics. I was also an active member of The Media Consortium where my communications efforts took on a more strategic & advocacy sensibility.
I have advised Free Press, ColorOfChange & other groups on communications issues as well as served as a board member on the media-focused racial justice organization, Applied Research Center. I have also written, narrated, and hosted a nationally televised show produced by ARC and been featured on TV, radio & print on a host of different social justice-related topics.
2) How did you get started doing communication work? When you were a kid did you think you were going to be doing this type of work?
As a writer, performer & student leader in high school & college, my communications background included writing columns, essays, stand-up comedy, public speaking as early as 1986. This circuitous path led to me having written a book on social entrepreneurship in 2010 that is widely available and led to adjunct appointments at two universities & spawned several interactive workshops.
3) What is it that you most enjoy about doing communications in movement work?
I believe in the principle of “collective autonomy”, as I am self-employed & highly entrepreneurial, yet enjoy & require engaging an array of other colleagues with whom I work in different capacities. I understand the necessity of functional diversity, so I often seek out folks who have strengths in areas that are underdeveloped for me.
4) What is your greatest challenge?
I joined PCN at the behest of Tracy van Slyke way back when. And my first PCN national gathering was in Santa Fe. The application process alone was so thorough and impressive that I knew I wanted to be part of this amazing group for the long haul!
I have sought to be a quiet resource to my colleagues at and in between gatherings, most especially by leveraging my networks for the benefit of my fellow members.
5) What role does collaboration play in your work?
The expertise, intellectual capital & spirit of the members has allowed me such great info, perspectives & access to various networks over the years.