As an organization development practitioner and cultural worker, I'm invested in transforming spaces, institutions, traditions and perceptions through design, engagement and collaborative art-making; it was in my bones before I had the theory. I am a patchwork quilt of lessons on cooperation, creativity and love - taught to me by a family of colorful educators and organizers who believe/d in the power of community. 

For a decade, I've gained an experiential education working across sectors as consultant, collaborator and creator. Biggest lessons so far: 1. The interior lives of mission-driven organizations matter. 2. When changemakers leverage culture - rather than relying solely on rational argument and debate - they shine!

As the Director of Art in Praxis, a consultancy applying art, culture and design thinking to the practice of organization development and community development, I design, implement and furthers our strategic agenda, leadership and vision. Prior to founding AiP,  I was a Capacity Building Specialist for community-based organizations, providing technical assistance in the areas of: financial management, fundraising, strategic planning, communications & marketing, program evaluation, and board development. I also led an award-winning performance ensemble that explored intersectionality through devised theatre. Today my client work typically features a mix of organization development theory and cultural practice.

I hold a Masters of Science in Organization Development from American University and B.A.’s in Communication Studies and African-American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. I am a National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellow, serve on the Executive Committee of Alternate ROOTS, and conspire with the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture and the Arts, Culture and Social Justice Network. (And I'm learning how to play the Harmonica.) 

SPECIALTIES

  • Strategic planning, visioning, road mapping
  • Creative facilitation, and meeting design
  • Team development and community engagement processes
  • Executive and leadership transitions
  • Communications, storytelling, content development
  • Cultural programming
  • Graphic recording 

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Working in the cultural sector as Producer, Performer and Creative Placemaker; 
  • Dynamic experience in organization development, engaging a broad range of leaders and communities in improving infrastructure, operations, financial health, and programming; 
  • Engaging teams and communities through facilitation; 
  • Certified Executive Transitions Management Practitioner, providing executive transitions and search services

STRENGTHS

  • Knowledge of organizational theory and practices, assessment, group dynamics and facilitation techniques.
  • Delivering creative, innovative ideas and strategies. 
  • Breaking “big picture” ideas into manageable next steps. 
  • Building strong and productive working relationships.
  • Focusing on results-based solutions.
  • Collaborating with colleagues to achieve set goals.

Email: jess [at] artinpraxis [dot] org.