August 26, 2021

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Anthem Club: Melissa Benjamin, Chief of Staff, Change.org

The Anthem Club is a professional networking and convening space for folks who work in the social impact community. Held by humans across non-profits and digital organizing, as well as journalists, documentary filmmakers, creatives and marketers, the Anthem Club is a digital and offline squad that comes together to share what’s working on the ground and inspire each other to build new dynamics for a better future.

Melissa Benjamin is Change.org‘s Chief of Staff to the COO

Was there a moment in your life when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in social impact work?

In high school I got involved in school politics, and saw how much policy could impact individuals and groups’ experiences, and I was hooked. 🙂

What was your first job in social impact?

After graduating from college, I interned at a few different nonprofits and government agencies. I got a lot of exposure to the different ways you can think about “social impact”. From the traditional understanding of making life better for one or more individuals, all the way to thinking about how brands and celebrities could raise awareness about certain issues.

What advice would you give to young people who would like to pursue a career in social impact?

First, be open to what “social impact” means – think expansively about ways that companies and organizations can make an impact in the world, and open you mind to which of those you are interested in exploring.

Second, focus on building your skillset so that regardless of the specific impact organization, you can bring a valuable skillset to help them grow and be successful.

What is the role or project you have been a part of that you are most proud of?

In 2017 I had the pleasure of working on a campaign called “Refugees Welcome”, where we partnered with local businesses to host dinners with their employees and newly settled refugees in the city of Toronto. After so many years on the project management side of things, it was amazing to attend these dinners and get to see the impact that this kind of organizing can have.

What is your favorite past or present campaign or piece of work (i.e. book, film etc)

This feels impossible. There are so many amazing campaigns that have shifted public awareness, understanding and empathy for social justice causes that I care about. One that stands out in recent memory is Ava Duverney’s 13th on Netflix. It was an incredible feat to weave the story together, integrating anecdotes with facts and policy decisions. It was painful to watch it, but a brilliant call to action at the same time.