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  • Writer's pictureAlejandra Garza

Morgan Malone Shares How to Create Deep Cultural Shifts and Transformation in Organizations

With an impressive background ranging from Director of Development and External Affairs at a commercial real estate firm to starting a nationwide initiative called Resisting in Place, Morgan Malone has demonstrated passion for economic development, innovation, and social impact.

Prior to her current professional role, Ms. Malone could be found at the City of Chicago, Department of Aviation where she helped handle administrative operations, policy, and processes for the city's two airports. During her work there, Malone streamlined crucial functions such as the credentialing of new and existing airport employees, which saved each employee several hours.

Throughout her professional career with accompanying contributions and achievements, Ms. Malone has constantly questioned and experimented with the balance and scope of innovation, economic development, and social responsibility. Leading initiatives that have brought together representatives of sectors such as healthcare, small business, housing, education, agriculture, she has contributed to the discussion of, what type of society do we want to build?

In addressing today’s environment of limited resources – in answering that question – Ms. Malone believes that “a society should be built on values and positive affirmations instead of a fear or disparity based approach.” An example of this approach is her founding and stewardship of the Chicago Neighborhood Development Collective, a collective of Black Chicagoans ages 45 and under who care about the South and West sides of Chicago. Through this collective, she centers vitality, wellness, and cultural abundance in her approach to engage members in economic development initiatives South and West rather than centering lack or disparity. Together, they work to proactively do more and contribute to the quality of life of these communities in a way that affirms the voices of the next generation and amplifies collective impact.

As economic development initiatives continue to evolve, the ongoing conversation is, and will continue to be, one of collective accountability and governance and our ability to shift culture through creative expression, community building, and information sharing. Malone believes that this will in turn shift beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets and thus, shift power. The outcome of this ongoing conversation is the answer to the question of what type of society do we want to build? and even greater, how do we get there?

During the challenges of 2020, and in response to the organic growth of Black Lives Matter, Malone created a nationwide initiative called Resisting in Place, with a call for Black professionals to celebrate and showcase “the integrated and interdisciplinary nature of the movement for Black lives.” She states that “there is a lot of work to be done and in all spaces where Black professionals are present; they are moving a step past inclusion toward rebuilding, transforming and sustaining deep social impact and identity affirmation.”

Whether working towards creating shifts in her current position as Director of Development and External Affairs at a commercial real estate firm or in her nationwide social impact initiative, Resisting in Place, Ms. Malone is directed by the following guiding principles that assist in sustaining deep cultural shifts and transforming organizational systems:

  • Set aside time for acquiring knowledge and be as cultured as you can possibly be – read, discuss, learn, and consume both domestic and international content;

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

  • Be present;

  • Live your values;

  • Center health, wellness, well-being, and affirmation in the way that you solve problems. Opt for less of a risk-centric approach and more of a wellbeing centric approach.

Finally, according to Ms. Malone, here are some trends to consider:

  • The advancement of culture and identity based aesthetic, design, and architecture;

  • Changes and adjustments to democratic models;

  • Holistic social impact models within organizations that consider end to end product and service life cycles;

  • The history of the last 100 years of U.S. rural communities and the role of urban communities in working in coalition to amplify unified and distinct needs.

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