Up With Community is a practice to help individuals and teams grow through transformational experiences of their own power and love; increasing their impact and orienting them towards creativity, equity and freedom.
WHO WE WORK WITH
SOME OF OUR PAST CLIENTS & COLLABORATORS
L.L. Bean, national
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
Piper Fund, national
Center for Popular Democracy, national
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Portland, Maine
ACLU of Maine, Portland, Maine
Wellstone Community Action, national
Forage Market, Lewiston, Maine
Maine Equal Justice, Augusta, Maine
Environmental Priorities Coalition, Augusta, Maine
Orton Family Foundation, Shelburne, Vt.
Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition, Portland, Maine
Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine
Restorative Justice Institute of Maine, Brunswick, Maine
HOW WE DO IT
When we start a project together, we design a four to 10 week mapping assessment, where we (1) test the hypotheses you have about your needs, (2) engage key stakeholders in aligning on the story of what is happening, why, and what learning is needed and (3) offer you a roadmap of possible options you can take moving forward. From there, we co-create a series of learning experiences including coaching, workshops, and hands-on projects to achieve your learning objectives. We provide consistent scaffolding for evaluation, tracking the learning and building the capacity to lead the work within your team into the future.
“Nicola has worked with us in our earliest stages of change efforts around diversity, inclusion and our evolving culture and business. Her role with us has been multiple: strategic thought partner, coach, meaning maker, consultant, designer, educator and facilitator. She brings a valuable combination of characteristics to her engagements: knowledge, experience, empathy, play, discipline, rigor and a perspective that encompasses the whole system we are seeking to influence and change. Her guidance pushes us to identify and anchor all actions in cultural and business objectives. She partners with deep integrity and respect, enabling her to meet leaders where they are while challenging them toward greater growth and development. She actively demonstrates great care for our brand, business and people, as she challenges us to edge forward on this journey toward a clearer path for sustainable success.”
Senior Leader Development and Organizational Learning
“Nicola has a true gift for connecting with people and tapping into what connects us as a team. She helped us shine a light on what was working and how together we could lift each other up.”
Director of Programs
Orton Family Foundation
“I had the very fortunate opportunity to have management/leadership coaching with Nicola in my role with a growing non-profit organization. Nicola is brilliant on so many different levels, it's remarkable. Her combination of sensitivity; intuitiveness; passion; work ethic; authenticity; creativeness, intellect, and insightfulness combined with real life experiences, purpose and focus are unmatched. She supported and empowered me to realize my strongest attributes and areas for growth to fulfill an important role for my organization and I believe not only our staff, but the communities we serve are benefiting. She is a true leader with a pure heart that exemplifies the type of person I aspire to be.”
Director of Field Operations
Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
“At the Portland Museum of Art, we hired Up With Community to help guide our work around Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusivity. Nicola Chin was enlightening, motivating, and uplifting. Her energy, style, and ability to explain complex issues help move us forward as a staff, together. She becomes your mentor, your confidant, and your friend while all the time leading you towards a path that is sustainable and thoughtful. Most importantly, she helps you create a responsible path for your institution to move forward confidently.”
Deputy Director and Director of External Affairs
Portland Museum of Art
“I worked with Nicola to design and then participate in a day long bias workshop. She was thorough and probing in her preparation for the workshop, always clear that this was about what we as a board needed and wanted. She was especially effective at flagging issues and places where there were options, and using google docs we were able to keep track of those. On the day of the workshop she easily won the trust and confidence of the board. She uses humor and compassion to put people at ease, yet she also shows up clearly in charge, and with a deep well of experience. Throughout the day she met people where they were, and continually reflected back to us that this was our process."
ACLU of Maine Board
“Nicola has been able to understand our organization, the communities we work, our strengths (!), and our challenges through inquiry, reflection, and asking the right questions. She has challenged us to be our best selves while honoring our identities and values, and helping us build common language around justice and equity in our work and in our communities. She's provided us with tools we can use today at the same time as thinking about the big picture tomorrow. And she's done this while laughing and bringing joy to work that is really, really difficult. It feels like Nicola is actually in this work with us and that our successes are her successes. I appreciate her leadership, wisdom, commitment, courage, guidance, and discipline in our shared work of building community and demanding justice across Maine and beyond.”
Mano en Mano
“Nicola has been phenomenal – helping us rethink our strategic direction, guiding us in strengthening Board leadership, and supporting us with equity training that will help us diversify our Board."
Restorative Justice Institute
“We worked with Nicola to help us increase our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion as team. Through exemplary coaching and thoughtful team exercises, we were able to deepen our knowledge as a staff and better understand how we could appropriately support job seekers and employers. Nicola was instrumental in leading us through this work, and we look forward to working with her again in the future.”
“Working with a diverse group of high school age students who are grappling with big questions about race and bias has the potential for explosion. In our afternoon retreat with Nicola, she adeptly taught students big concepts and challenged their assumptions without making them feel defensive. She did not back away from their pointed questions. She would pause--sometimes for a long time--to think before she spoke. I noticed that even some of our most strident students respected her thoughtful approach. Our group moved forward because of Nicola's expertise on the subject and her willingness to put in the time and do the homework needed, so she could tailor the presentation to our specific needs. There was nothing "stock" or gimmicky about our day. It was learning designed for our group at exactly the place we were at and aimed to move us further along our path to understanding.”
Teacher, RaAW Advisor
WHAT WE DO
If we decide to continue our work together – we design one of three approaches:
Co-leading Change Projects
For teams seeking deep organizational change or long-term restructuring projects, UWC can be your long-term partner, supporting and guiding throughout the process and ensuring that the necessary foundations for transformation have been put in place. We embed within a core leadership team or planning team for the duration of the project, co-creating a path forward and executing on that plan in tandem with other stakeholders. Typically these engagements last between three and five years.
Sometimes, after a planning team has identified a change they’d like to enact, they reach a point of stagnation, either because they’re unsure of next steps or because they’ve hit an insurmountable obstacle. In our experience, these obstacles are often due to the challenges of adult learning–understanding the techniques required to shift our own mindsets and behaviors.
You know your competencies. And you also know where you’re struggling. As proponents and coaches of lifelong learning, we can engage your planning team with the tools to overcome those struggles through a relational coaching approach that teaches hands-on practices.
Building Leadership Capacity
Often we meet people who are not seeking team coaching or support, but who would like to explore adult learning and transformational growth in their own leadership, one-on-one. For some this is an opportunity to discover adult learning tools which they can bring to their organization or team. For others, this a place to process, vent or seek support for their ongoing change projects or learning programs.
Through the support of community members, we distribute valuable resources to a larger audience and better promote the message of–and share the tools to accomplish–lasting social change. With your help, we expand our Field Guide resources, connect with more collaborators in the space of adult learning and social change, and promote the work of our partners engaging in widespread change movements. Come join us!
My passion is helping teams discover new ways to work together at the intersection of identity, strategy and team development. My goal is to reshape behaviors, learning techniques and mindsets to maximize the impact of our work in the world. That’s why I founded Up With Community.
From Chicago, I discovered community organizing as the writer, director and producer of a one-woman skit about Saul Alinksy in high school. As I explored the foundations of social justice, especially in the histories of the Polish and Indian communities from which I hail, I developed a commitment to community organizing.
Between 2007 and 2010 I served as regional field director for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a project of Community Change, and in 2009 I co-founded the country’s second largest cell phone action network, authoring a definitive guide to online and offline organizing. I continued to deepen my understanding of community transformation as the State Director of the Maine League of Young Voters and as the Director of Strategy for the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
In 2013, my love of learning and coaching around social growth led me to found Up With Community.
I live in Lewiston, Maine–my heart’s home–with my husband, Ben, and our children. And note: These are all my actual cactus babies–come visit us and them at colabcreate.space.
Ready to learn?
If it’s time to transform your team so they can transform the world, let’s connect.