The ARD spoke with Megan McClendon, a reader who uses the publication to inform her professional work and to grow as an advocate in her own day-to-day life. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Could you describe your work?
I work for a small consultancy. We work with organizations around culture, around human-centered and equity-centered design, and on innovation projects. Historically, we’ve focused on design thinking and human-centered design, and I’ve been leading the team in updating our practices and procedures into an equity-centered design framework. We work with all kinds of clients, from healthcare and pharma to government, sustainability, nonprofits, and fashion. Many are definitely within the Fortune 100 bucket. We really value long-term, deep relationships with our clients, so many of them have been with us for a very long time.
Q: How has The ARD informed this consulting?
We were working with a nonprofit that had been around for over 100 years on a project on how they could provide better services. They had all kinds of services. However, they were a very siloed organization, and the audience for those different services was very different. They were wondering, “How can we connect the dots between different services?”
As I was working on this project, there were so many ARD emails I forwarded to the team around housing, finance, and food insecurity that prompted incredibly valuable conversations. In consulting, we’re hired to come in as an outside person, so it’s nice for me to have the newsletter to communicate messages on topics for which I don’t have a particular expertise. The ARD has been huge not only for sharing with clients but for my own learning and development, as well.
You’re one of the only organizations I allow into my work email as a newsletter subscription. I try to keep my work email very clear of them, but this has been the one newsletter that I truly allow into my workspace. I love the way it’s formatted. It’s incredibly valuable.
Q: Has The ARD benefitted you in other ways?
The ARD helped me develop a stronger point of view, find the words to talk about issues, and stand strong during conversations with folks when there are microaggressions, blatant biases, racist comments. The ARD helped me develop strength in being able to stand up and push back.