PROFOUND THINGS

Below you'll find a subjective self-description and a collection of things I find important and inspiring. Art by Lily Niederpruem

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Statement of work

Producer. Strategist. Team Player.

My work does not fit into one neat category. As the Co-Director of Experience & Event Design department, I produce life-changing events and experiences. Previously, my title was “Producer.” That’s an accurate but vague description. To me, “Producer” simply means: “One Who Gets Things Done.” 

My projects have spanned a variety of roles, but share common threads. I want to give others (and myself) permission to be creative, be resourceful, and have better relationships with others and our environment. The result is most often a life-changing or life-affirming experience. I use my background in sociology, behavior change, education, and entertainment to design these experiences.


On not pretending

Interviewer: “How are you with [budgets]?”

Interviewee: “I'm great with [budgets].”

This is the typical interview question and response. When looking for work we get caught in a pattern, affirming that we can do whatever the job description entails. What’s missing is honesty and vulnerability. I’m a decent songwriter. But I have zero Adobe Illustrator skills. That's OK, I can’t do it all. And I can't do it alone. But I do believe my tenacity and resourcefulness are as powerful as specific technical skills. 

I design with the end in mind. I’m not afraid to launch something new. I’m not afraid to have it shot down. I’m energized by working in teams. The work always gets better through collaboration. And it gets better because of the competition.


WHY improv matters

Improv fundamentals are critical for any successful collaboration. When stakes are high, I rely on my team (or troupe). When there’s a gap in leadership, I lead. And when I get thrown into a project (or scene), joy trumps fear. Improv teaches me to live in the moment. I do that by listening and by building relationships capable of withstanding conflict (or one bad show).   


The School of Life

Philosophy is great and all, but how do big ideas apply to everyday life? Enter The School of Life. The aim of the school is to address issues like: finding meaningful work, talking about death, improving relationships, and finding calm. It's a physical school with 10 branches worldwide. It's also one of the finest channels on YouTube. The curriculum itself is enormous, with a fantastic range from Jane Austen, the dangers of the internet, and the importance of staring out the window


LIBERATING STRUCTURES

Draft order of Liberating Structures I used for Peers Against Tobacco

Liberating Structures are simple and elegant techniques used to generate ideas, questions, and solutions in large groups. These structures rearrange people, space, and basic equipment (chairs, sticky notes) in order to engage everyone, regardless of personality. Different structures eliminate the inefficiencies of brainstorms or "open" discussions. I used these Liberating Structures in the Peers Against Tobacco research. An example of one structure, "1-2-4-All" is below: 

 

Goal: Generate ideas faster in a group of 8 or more, without redundancy

  • Setup the space for easy movement, just chairs, minimizing tables in the way of movement
  • Facilitator proposes a specific question, such as "What are the factors preventing HPV vaccinations in young women?" 
  • Each person has 30 seconds to list or think of answers independently, hence the "1"
  • Facilitator forms pairs, each person shares ideas in 1 minute; the "2"
  • Repeat above step in 2 minutes in groups of four, direct to consolidate similar ideas; the "4"
  • Groups announce answers to the whole group in under 3 minutes; the "All", facilitator records answers, repeat for greater specificity

measuring character

Social & Emotional intelligence is the next great frontier of public education, and it will hopefully change early education policy in America. The data behind this revolution comes from Dr. James Heckman, an economist. His assertion: soft skills (patience, working in teams, self control) are the top predictors of a person's likelihood of college achievement, salary, and even life expectancy.