Good Trouble: Marching for Jacob Blake

keepshowingup

I’m proud to report that on Monday night, I got arrested for challenging fuckery. As a person whose life’s work is based on challenging dysfunction to create real and lasting change, silence about social injustice in our society is not an option. More importantly, as a white woman who holds enormous privilege, I believe I have a duty to remain outraged and take action to stop the ongoing genocide of Black people in America. So on Monday, in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, WI, I joined about 300 other Portlanders in protest […]

Chasten Harmon on Art as an Outlet, Intuition, and Defining Values

Chasten Harmon

In The Interview: Episode #14, Ciara Pressler interviews Chasten Harmon, actress, entrepreneur, and advocate. Chasten and Ciara talk about… Her business Plush Armour Community spaces Healing as a person of color during these particularly challenging times The state of the entertainment industry Channeling anxiety, frustration, and tragedy into art Arming the spirit and soul and using violent and dramatic metaphors to talk about creating peace Chasten Harmon is a Los Angeles-based actress who holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. She has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and a […]

Jelani Memory on Using Books to Have Difficult Conversations With Kids

Jelani Memory

In The Interview: Episode #13, Ciara Pressler interviews Jelani Memory, author, publisher, and startup founder with a successful exit. Jelani and Ciara talk about… His company A Kids Book About How books can help give kids permission to have difficult but necessary conversations Being a creative story teller Making mistakes in building a company Self selection in publishing How his books allow children the dignity of having complicated lives and real fears Jelani Memory is an author, publisher, and co-founder of A Kids Book About, a collection of children’s books that kickstart challenging, empowering, and important conversations for kids and […]

Jelani Memory on A Kids Book About, Startup Funding, and Following Your Purpose

A Kids Book About

Jelani Memory started a tech company, raised 30 million in venture capital, and left it at the height of its success to start… a publishing company. We asked Jelani about his startup successes, his new company A Kids Book About, and why going analogue in a digital world is a move worth making. What is your mission behind A Kids Book About? We are on a mission to make kids books that matter. Books that are about all the challenging, empowering, and important topics that kids experience every day. Kids’ lives are complicated, and our mission is to help kids and […]

July 2020: Awakening

never waste a good crisis

And then suddenly, everyone woke up. Well, not everyone. And not fully awake. But no one can deny that the past month has seen a remarkable wave of increased awareness in America about the perpetual problem of racism, and how society cannot be healthy when we insist on viewing ourselves as individuals whose actions and worldview don’t affect anyone rather than part of a system where everything is connected. To me, waking up is the point. It’s the process. As in, THE process. The purpose of life. To be continually evolving, learning, growing, connecting. It’s difficult because there is no finish […]

Barbara Chen on the NYPD, Communication Strategy, and Positionality

Barbara Chen

In The Interview: Episode #11, Ciara Pressler interviews Barbara Chen, strategic communicator, independent consultant, and writer. Barbara and Ciara talk about… Nuances of working inside a major city police department Honoring the complexity of complex problems Considerations when shaping a complicated message The danger in seeing police brutality as isolated incidents rather than recognizing the totality and continuum of indignity, injury, and injustice Positionality in the current discourse Barbara Chen is an independent consultant and writer in New York who has held major communications roles at the NYPD, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Columbia University. She moved to Manhattan from L.A. after […]

That Time I Crashed Bloomberg’s Victory Party

As Seen on TV, 36in x 48in, Oil on canvas

No matter what anyone says, it’s more fun to be on the winning team. Losing with dignity is a nice idea, but a mirage – even Red Sox fans had to invent The Curse so they could feel like they accomplished something every year they were met with a certain pinstriped team from The Bronx. So in the fall of 2005, when the candidate I’d been volunteering for in a pivotal New York City council district won on election night, it felt good to party, good to be thanked, good to be part of the team people wanted for the […]

A New Kind of Revolution: The Politics of Listening

politics of listening

This may not be a popular opinion. I’m writing it anyway because my own integrity requires it. First, I do not like what I see and hear on the news about what is happening in our country. In fact, I became so disempowered by the news that I opted out about 18 months ago. I just stopped paying attention and figured if there was something I needed to know, I’d hear about it eventually. This chafes my mother to no end. I’m not saying this was a good approach nor am I advocating you follow it. I’m just saying it’s […]

The Road That Built You

7. Fragility I

Retrospection is well-established as a critical business tool. Whether we’re comparing this year’s sales results to last year’s, providing employee feedback, or analyzing a project’s success, we all agree on the value of looking backward in time, to see what it can teach us. However, when it comes to the personal, we often discourage each other from too much looking back. We have a library of cliches and platitudes. “Don’t dwell in the past.” “Water under the bridge.” “What’s done is done.” We dismiss any journeys into our history as sentimental nostalgia, or relegate them to the therapist’s couch. Our […]

Your Culture is Killing You

Taped Shut Bronze Angel, 2019
Patina bronze
25 x 16 x 18 inches

If you’ve brushed up against corporate hiring practices lately, you’ve probably encountered the concept of Culture Fit—the idea that you should screen job applicants so that you only hire people whose beliefs and behaviors will integrate smoothly into your organization. It’s true that hiring people who don’t integrate well with your company culture can be highly disruptive. If you bring highly-competitive people into a highly-collaborative environment, or order-takers into an initiative-driven system, the outcome can be as hard on your existing staff as it is on the misfit new hire. However, Culture Fit can also be used as a proxy […]