What is Faces of New Profit? It’s a spotlight on members of the New Profit community, why they do what they do, and who they are. This week, we talk to Meghan Gannon...

What is your role at New Profit?

I work on the Communications team as a co-op. I spend a lot of my time keeping up social streams and the Amplify blog, especially with our #AdvanceEquity campaign. I also get to support the communications needs coming from the other teams at New Profit.

What motivated you to work at New Profit/in the social sector?

I took a Public Speaking class freshman year of college that really opened my eyes to the social sector. It was a service-learning class, so our class of 19 women was paired with a Boston nonprofit organization called Girls LEAP to share what we were learning with the girls. We designed a public speaking workshop for them, centered around the idea that public speaking can be used as a tool for empowerment. I felt remarkably under qualified to be teaching public speaking to young girls, considering how frightened I was of speaking up myself. But the magic of the class was that it worked both ways - in teaching others how to set aside their fears of public speaking, I did so myself. It was a profound experience that set my social sector aspirations into motion, years later bringing me to New Profit.

What is the most surprising thing about you?

I tap danced for 10 years! My roommates will walk into the kitchen and catch me absentmindedly tapping while I cook dinner. And on certain Fridays in the spring I tend to make a beeline out of the office to head out to an ultimate frisbee tournament!

What is on your bucket list?

Live somewhere and learn the local language. Perform at an open mic night. Probably first get good enough at guitar to perform at an open mic night. Go zorbing in New Zealand. However, some of my favorite adventures have been unplanned, so I’ll always leave room for possibilities.

Describe yourself in three words.

Thoughtful. Genuine. Eager.

What is the theme song of your life?

My friend and I have this conversation a lot! It’s so hard to choose a single song, so instead I think about if my life were a movie, what the soundtrack would be. Always a work in progress, but here are some highlights:

What inspires you/keeps you going in this work?

I love working in the social sector, specifically in communications, because I believe so strongly in the power of dialogue, storytelling, and empathy to inspire change. When we have open ears and an open heart, we become much more willing to change the systems we live in so that they can work for everyone. (Deval Patrick and Brittany Packnett’s Gathering session comes to mind - “building a table for everyone to sit at.”)

What is your favorite quote?

“So when the world knocks at your door, clutch the knob tightly and open on up. And run forward. Run forward as fast and as far as you must.” - Anis Mojgani, Shake the Dust

What is your favorite book?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was one of my first true favorites. It helped shape my identity as a feminist, even before I was fully equipped to understand what that meant.

Who in your life has had the greatest influence on who you are today?

My parents have both been such strong role models throughout my life. Ever since I was a child I have watched my mom handle anything and everything with patience and kindness. And from my dad, I will always remember him telling me “The learning is in the struggle.” Whenever I’m facing a challenge, I can actually hear his voice reminding me that it’s okay if it’s not easy, because I’ll come out the other side a better person.