It occurs to me as we start a new decade and re-fresh our company website during immense turmoil on the global and sociopolitical stage that a step back into my motivation for founding For Impact Productions might help provide some revived inspiration for all the tough work that still lies ahead. I also can’t help wonder how new this new decade really is…
Circa late ’90’s: Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with equality and social justice flowing through my veins, I embarked on a career to ‘change the world.’ With a Master’s degree in public affairs and policy in tow, I started out on my change-making journey from within “the system,” conducting cost benefit analyses of government policies, preparing research-based arguments for state legislator meetings, and crafting public speeches about the impacts of some pretty remarkable happenings of the time like the Family Medical Leave Act, Working Women Count!, and the 1993 Healthcare bill. I even made my way to Beijing for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and was witness to Hillary’s famed “women’s rights are human rights” speech. Surely, I was in my glory.
Alas, after writing countless analytic reports to Congress and The White House justifying why programs for women, families, and marginalized populations are needed, it dawned on me, will these numbers and analyses really help us make lasting change? Classifying and quantifying people’s life experiences in generalized buckets was shortsighted and only told a sliver of what was really going on. Frankly, I found this policy-wonk approach unsustainable towards moving forward a society’s quality of life. There must be more in our toolbox to propel us.
Fast forward after the next Presidential Inaugural and a ‘rock-our-worlds’ moment of truth, I packed up and headed out on a solo 7-month cross-country trip as any good late 20-something might do (more on that for another blog) to “find myself,” or at least figure out how I was going to pay my bills and engage in a career that made a difference. After the trip I settled back east in my hometown with my progressive policy ideals still intact and now with some new chops and a recognition for how the system worked. By meeting and hearing from countless women and men across the country during those months and years, I had a new appreciation and understanding to add to the mix…that the real power for change lies in the human story.
Next, a parlay into another “system,” this time…the corporate arena. Why not see what the private sector had to contribute to societal change? Joining ‘corporate’ at a time when corporate social responsibility, organizational communications, and brand identity were seeing traction was a perfect spot for a student of change. Brands were dipping their toes-in talking about societal issues and some good engagement was budding. Like Lifetime Television’s breast cancer awareness and child care action campaigns or Cablevision’s pancreatic cancer and AIDS awareness initiatives. As I was charged with producing corporate marketing videos and mini doc-style industrials, I soon got bit by the film bug. Aha! change can come thru hearts and minds through visual storytelling! If we can connect emotional language and story with real life societal issues, then maybe, just maybe, we can move positively and proactively as individuals, decision-makers, and a collective towards long-term systemic change for good!
It wasn’t long after that that For Impact Productions was born.
Alas, it’s 2020, a time when stories, art, and culture couldn’t be more important to the progress of our society and the well-being of our planet. While social justice and equality seems even more dire now than when I began my career, with new and sophisticated communications, technology, and story-making tools in our toolbox and an evolved wokeness permeating our culture, we at For Impact Productions are energized to take on the new decade.