40 Under 40: Georgia's Best & BrightestMelissa Conrad
Associate Director - Georgia STAND-UP
Conrad was the first employee of this nonprofit (full name is Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Direc-tions and Unified Policies) that bills itself as a “think and act tank for working communities,” redefining neighborhood activism away from “not in my backyard” acrimony.
“Too often, groups are seen as being ‘anti’ something without offering positive solutions,” she says. “What we do is bring folks together – community residents, leaders and activists with government and developers – to be strategic in building more livable communities that benefit everybody.”
She does not so much fight City Hall as engage it in a productive, far-sighted process that ensures, for example, that residents who live near the BeltLine will enjoy economic benefits, employment opportunities and input in its construction.
“Most people want to play a role in civic life, in the progress of their communities, but don’t understand how the system works,” she says. “We give them a cadre of folks with expertise.”
– Source: Georgia Trend Magazine