Your NameJeremy Madsen
Cohort AssignmentCohort B (Americas, Online Intensive)
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

I find myself looking at the interconnections and relationships between issues and leaning into complexity versus trying to break challenges down to component pieces to be dealt with in siloed ways. With my current work. I am focused on building a network of changemakers in California's housing ecosystem -- from builders, architects, and developers to policymakers, community-based leaders, and advocates -- to lean into the interconnection of social equity, environmental vitality, and affordability as they show up in our state's housing issues.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

I am not sure I ever have desired to be an expert at anything, and that is definitely the case as I get further and further into my career. I get satisfaction in my work by bringing committed changemakers together, helping them find common cause and ways to work together, and to level up their thinking so that, together, we are addressing systemic issues rather than symptoms.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

Helping others "level up" is a tough task. I'd really like to get to a point where I can guide people into perhaps uncomfortable growth situations, engage them in ways that are challenging yet accessible, and, in the end, help them develop practical ways of taking action rather than just new ways of thinking.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

As much as I see myself as a coalescer of people and a facilitator, I also know that, without intentionality, I am capable of holding space -- perhaps too much space. I'd love to get better at being a leader, a guide, that creates space and opportunity for others rather than simply occupying it myself.

5. And for professional growth?

Even when thinking systemically and long term it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day minutia and chaos. Without becoming dismissive to the busy world around I'd like to get better at slowing things down so I can focus on what really will be impactful versus focusing on the background noise.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

While I still have a lot to learn and have to be humble about what I know and am able to do, I think I can also take pride in the fact that, generally, I follow my instincts and that has led me to lean into complex issues and sets of issues versus to accept that I have to narrow my perspective and simplify.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

I feel like a lot of how I go about life is rooted, often unconsciously, in my study of ecology as an Environmental Studies undergrad. The basic premise, at least as I remember it, that understanding comes from exploring whole organisms and whole systems rather than through a just a focus on constituent parts continual holds appeal to me. I don't have particular thinkers that have great influence over me. That said, people like Terry Tempest Williams, who in her book "Refuge" was able to draw through lines between ecology, culture, politics, religion and more always appeal to me. (This particular book was particularly resonate as it focused on a place that both the author and I consider home.)

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

Maybe. Perhaps this is simplistic, but I see everything organic and inorganic, human and non-human, terrestrial or beyond Earth as interconnected. All that our world is is literally the result of long ago exploded stars. On the one hand, this connection to the very universe itself makes our society, history, and any one individual very small and fleeting. On the other, the fact that we exist within this incredibly complex, dynamic system in which any action has an unknowable number of consequences makes every life, again human and non-human, incredibly unique and meaningful.

Date CreatedJanuary 25, 2023