My Independent Sector colleague, Victor Reinoso, is fond of telling the story of how we came up with the “Upswell” name for our annual gathering of changemakers.
Key to the Upswell visual brand is the image of a wave, and this is where the story starts. As Victor tells it, we always think of the power of a wave when we see it hitting the beach, at the point of impact. And, true, that is one expression of a wave’s energy. But, as science tells us, the power, the shape, and the duration of the wave begins out in the open water – before any movement on the surface is visible.
I find it a compelling way to think about how social change happens – and how the process starts, often in the quiet, solitary places. I am going to come back to this.
Now, in case you have missed it, Upswell comes to Los Angeles in November. And we certainly hope that you will be joining us. (Rates go up after July 31!) As you have come to expect, there will be a strong policy theme running throughout Upswell, and, as we first began in Detroit last year, we are building the policy content into programming across the whole event, not setting it apart in a pre-conference event. And in keeping with one of the core tenets of Upswell – that we look to focus on issues of local importance with national relevance – you will find that many of our policy sessions will have an intentional California connection. We are excited about these sessions and the “wave” we can see them creating.
But we also know there is more going on under the surface. In other words, we suspect there are topics you all are thinking about in the “quiet, solitary” places that may not yet in full view – but could lead us to great Upswell sessions. Whatever your mission, Upswell has a place for you. And if you’re interested in public policy, specifically, these four opportunities might speak to you:
- Workshops | Go deep with a 60-90 minute workshop. Choose from one of the four Upswell themes and pitch a full plan – topic, format, outline, and speakers.
- Focus Groups | Pick a critical issue and lead a 30-minute small-group exchange about challenges, lessons learned, and new solutions.
- Spark Talks | You have a big, bold idea – and 10 minutes on a stage in the Public Square to share it with a curious audience.
- Changemaker Challenge | Shark Tank meets Escape Room! Pitch an actionable challenge that changemakers will try to solve in a fast-paced, collaborative, and highly creative 30-minute session.
Jump in! Offer up a suggested session in one of these formats. Everything you need to know about how to move ahead is at upswell.org/create.
See you at Upswell!