Jessica Dreistadt

Educator, Writer, Changemaker

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Me!

It may seem a bit selfish, but I really need to learn how to tell my own life story in a way that connects with my work. Perhaps by telling my own story, I will be better equipped to tell stories about other people and communities. I am hoping that my life story can be used to enhance the standard bio that I am currently using:

Jessica R. Dreistadt is a visionary dreamer, creative thinker, scholar, poet, social philosopher, and results-oriented community change practitioner. She is the founding director of The Fruition Coalition, a third-year doctoral student in organizational leadership, a writer, a social justice and community benefit organization educator, and a passionate advocate for progressive social change. She has self-published two books, The People Pages: Resources for Social Change and Ashley and Tiana; her third book, Limitless Loving Leadership, is in progress. She has also written and published many articles, including Voting Rights: The Struggle for Democracy which was recognized with a Williams Award. She has served nonprofit organizations for over 14 years including more than six years as an executive director. As a community advocate, Jessica acted as executive producer of a MarCom Award winning documentary video, Food for Thought: Hunger in the Lehigh Valley, and organized the Lehigh Valley Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage. Jessica has a master’s degree in sociology from Lehigh University as well as a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Eastern University. In addition to developing many community-based workshops, she has designed and taught college courses about entrepreneurship, fundraising, public relations, and program evaluation. She is a transformational leader, educator, and writer who is dedicated to working toward a more compassionate, just, sustainable, harmonious, joyous, and beautiful planet.

This bio tells what I do and integrates some of my values, but the why and how is missing. I am passionate about my work because of my own experiences of injustice, but I feel hesitant to share such personal information in my bio. How can I do this in a way that is affirmative rather than portraying myself as a victim? I think this is important not only for me but for the entire nonprofit sector and fundraising/PR/advocacy work.  I would appreciate other students' ideas!

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