Courtesy of Kalyani-Aindri Sanchez

We talked with current Organizational Change Management student Anthony D. Meyers, who is also pursuing the certificate in Leadership and Change.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am working on a social venture called Leading ChangeMakers. It is an education and empowerment program that instigates authentic explorations of racial equity in leadership through trainings and consulting for individuals, organizations, and philanthropy.

We cultivate a diverse pool of leaders and explore personal pathways to professional development and self-actualization. We center our work on the people within the industry context, from historically disenfranchised people of color, to historically empowered leaders and other stakeholders, and professional sectors whose systems were built on power imbalance.

This year, Leading ChangeMakers produced a series of workshops on “Expanding New York City Arts Leadership” at The New School, led a workshop on “Leading for a Sustainable Future” at the International Black Theater Summit at Dartmouth College, and moderated a conversation on “Leveraging Leadership” in partnership with the national membership organization Museum Hue.

Anthony with Taneshia Nash Laird “Leveraging Leadership” at the Museum of the Moving Image October 2018. Photo courtesy of Monica Montgomery and Museum Hue

We are building our platform within arts and culture first because I have experienced issues of inequity within this sector over time and the data from the research offers opportunities for change strategies. As we develop our work and evaluate its impact, our plans for scaling include engagement with other professional sectors.

Leading ChangeMakers is one important piece of a larger frame of my life. I work full-time as an Arts Program Specialist at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and participate as a part-time student in the MS program in Organizational Change Management and Post-Master’s Certificate in Leadership and Change. I also serve as a Course Assistant for the Impact Entrepreneurship Fellowship Course.

How do you want to change the world? 

I prioritize my efforts to co-creating equity practices with those who have been historically voiceless through abusive structures and systems of power. Coupled with ongoing coaching and training for people of all demographic backgrounds, I believe that systemic changes in racial and gender equity are possible, and that the United States can be equipped to address large scale social problems with courage, empathy, and bold self-awareness.

I believe that my personal work, and the work of my social venture Leading ChangeMakers, can play a part in reimagining equity and inclusion in the professional realm, and impacting one sector at a time.

Why does the world need more ChangeMakers with an impact entrepreneurship mindset?

We are all changemakers. Change is in our DNA.

For me, I see impact entrepreneurship as the possibility for using our humanity to frame the way we develop solutions to systemic problems that enhance the quality of life of others. Human-centered enterprises can help recreate value systems to positively impact communities that are perceived to have no value in the face of repressive regimes.

Having an impact entrepreneurship mindset changes the person doing the work, to envision their world with boundless opportunity, while utilizing a variety of strategies and resources for good. The leadership challenge for all impact entrepreneurs is to do their work with a core intention of serving others first before serving the self, and to advocate for culture shifts in industries whose bottom lines are prioritized over solutions that change the lives of all peoples for the better.

How has participating in the Venture Lab helped you achieve your goals?

The Venture Lab helped me achieve my goals because it created a space for me to focus on my project, and myself as a leader and an entrepreneur.

It was a space where we learned tools for developing relevant business plans, understanding who are the people that influence and are influenced by our ventures, building a theory of change, and testing our assumptions.

Anthony at Venture Lab Pitch Night. Photo courtesy of J Reuben Fonseca

It was also platform for us to understand the ways that we give language to our ventures and big dreams in a safe, laboratory environment with other entrepreneurs who offered critical but supportive feedback on each other’s work. The peer engagement component was like nothing I’d experienced before. We held each other up and kept each other honest. We didn’t let our peers rest in fear. We challenged each other to have the courage to speak boldly about our ventures in real time.

In April 2018, I participated in the first Venture Lab Pitch Night and received a top prize for Leading ChangeMakers. I left that evening feeling assured that I can create a compelling case for our work as we create revenue focused strategies.

For some of the teams, I think the learning impacted their projects. For others, the learning impacted their mindsets. For me, the learning and process gave me the structure and internal resources to dream big, dive head first, learn from jumping in, and continue to dive over and over.

How do you define change management?

I define change management as the cultivation of tools for people and systems to move and shift with interventions that impact relationships, tasks, and infrastructure to change a condition from one state to another. The goal is for that future condition to be better than the last one.

For me, I entered the Organizational Change Management program at the Milano School because I wanted to create change within my professional sector so that it can be better than when I entered it so many years ago.

Creating change is complex and the full impact of it is never fully known in the present. Change management is based on laying down a foundation, investigating context and human investments, involving a collective of people with diverse talents and viewpoints, and enacting tactics that engage the people who are intended to be served by the change.

What do people need to know about Milano?

Anthony at “Expanding NYC Arts Leadership Workshop” at The New School in April 2018. Photo courtesy of Abigail Montes

Milano is filled with people who have real passion. I see it in my student colleagues who work rigorously with curriculum and its application for clarity and perspective. I see it in the professors who believe deeply in the work they do, and the difference they seek to make in lives of the people that move through their classrooms. And I see it in the staff who manage the needs of faculty and students with such care to help us move through the University with greater ease.

I see the passion in myself to be better and do better through the utilization of methods and approaches learned through my enrollment in The New School.

People don’t come to Milano to just achieve a piece of paper. They come to engage the world around them and each other in a beautiful, messy, and thrilling journey of self-discovery, evolution, and vision.