Laura Johnson is an AmeriCorps VISTA member and recent graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA. She serves with Milwaukee Succeeds as the Community Engagement Coordinator. Her job is to communicate the work of the Milwaukee Succeeds partnership to the wider community, and figure out what it means to authentically engage community members in the process and decision making of collective impact. At the beginning of her service, she recognized the need to communicate the work of the partnership in simpler and jargon-less terms. Laura took the charge on this year’s Annual Report, and re-designed its content and layout. She worked closely with team members to create a 12-page report that gives both simple overviews, along with deep information dives to honor the complexity of the work. The result was a comprehensive report, spotlighting extensive data sets and partnership bright spots. Looking ahead, Laura is excited about planning the 2018 Annual Event, along with getting more involved in bringing GMF’s 2017 On the Table success into the education space so that even more young voices can be involved in the community-wide conversation.
A little more about Laura:
If you had a Utility Belt (think Batman) that contained any gadget you can think of, what gadget would you have and why?
I would have a Nice Words Machine. Basically it’s a gadget that tells the person who’s holding the little machine nice words that they need to hear. You know how some days you need to hear “you’re really smart,” or “you’re doing the best you can!” It’s hard for us to know what other people need to hear on any given day, so the Nice Words Machine would be able to step it. Maybe it could also be called the Validation Station? Either way it’d be pretty rad!
If you had a cartoon, what would happen in opening credits of that cartoon?
There would be a cartoon version of me dancing to Love on Top by Beyonce alongside the cartoon version of Beyonce. And I think we’d be dancing down the street. In front of a parade! That sounds fun.
Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me! Lately I’ve been super inspired by Serena Williams. She is such a powerhouse. I recently saw a video where she says “I’ve never been the right kind of woman. Oversized and overconfident. Too mean if I don’t smile. Too black for my tennis whites. Too motivated for motherhood. But I’m proving time and time again, there’s no wrong way to be a woman.” She’s very unapologetic about everything she is, and I think that’s pretty inspiring.