See the Need, Collaborate with Speed

Melissa Johnston

Melissa Lawrence Johnston (FL '13), human resources, mergers and acquisitions, Humana, Inc.

by Melissa Lawrence Johnston, Focus Louisville February 2013 —

My husband calls me Wonder Woman and I call him Superman.  He first coined the nickname for me because I operated out of a burning imperative to start “things” at our college that would truly make a difference in the livelihood, pride and retention rates on campus. Years later, the university pageant, dance team, black & white affair, and Black Student Union are all thriving. But why? I started a dozen clubs and organizations in my high school of which, maybe five are still thriving. What was the difference in college? Collaboration and shared solutions. I had a Justice League of SuperFriends, including my Superman, who all shared the same burning imperative and aligned to make the proposed solutions reality before we left campus.

Together, Superman and Wonder Woman are better. With their SuperFriends they are virtually unstoppable!  Collaboration is critical to implementing and institutionalizing positive and necessary community change.

But let’s not stop there. What if all DC Comics joined forces with all Marvel Comics?!!? Imagine the impact of Captain America and Iron Man partnering with Green Lantern and …

DC Comics joining Marvel Comics – in Louisville?!!?

To me, this would include Louisville Metro Police Department, JCPS, the community of realtors, the nationally known companies like Brown-Forman, Ford, UPS and Humana, local franchises like the Swope Auto Group, the Greater Louisville Chamber of Commerce, the University of Louisville, and other true Super Heroes of the Louisville community. They would work under the cloak of darkness, banding together to create positive change in Louisville. We saw a glimpse of this amazing collaboration during our 2.5 day Focus Louisville adventure from West Louisville to Downtown to East Louisville to Churchill Downs.

Start Something that Sticks

You have greater buy-in and investment when it’s your baby, your idea, your noble cause. When everyone views the same issue through their own lens and begins working together to tackle that monster, everyone has partial ownership of not just the starting point, but how we cross the finish line. Ideas and solutions generated out of collaboration have a stronger chance of lasting when more people are fully vested in the solution, in the dream becoming reality.

Thank you Focus Louisville for connecting me with SuperFriends in Louisville so I can start something that sticks in my new community!