TheBridge profile: Michelle Deutchman
Name: Michelle Deutchman
Current city: Los Angeles, CA
Current job: Executive Director of the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement
Past job: National Campus Counsel and Western States Counsel at the Anti-Defamation League
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Undergrind Cafe in Los Angeles.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. I learned early on in my career the value of coalition-building -- reaching out to potential partners working on all sides of an issue to seek input and foster collaboration. I think in work and in life we put too little emphasis on the power of listening.
Q. Job advice in three words? Follow your gut.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? Issues around free speech exist at the level of politics and policy. Our goal at the Center is to facilitate and inform work on both fronts: leveraging ideas that engage diverse stakeholders to strengthen our democracy. Our increased reliance on technology impacts how we dialogue, teach and learn, and the Center is interested in exploring this intersection with the goals of elevating viewpoint diversity while creating an inclusive campus climate.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Intention doesn't always equal impact. Take time to consider how ideas translate on the ground.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? To look beyond old paradigms; saying that something "has always worked" does not mean it's always worked well.
Q. Do you have a favorite podcast you want to recommend? Slate Political Gabfest.
Q. What's one piece of advice you're still trying to master? Focusing on one action item at a time, without being distracted by the millions of others that are competing for attention.
Q. What is your favorite app? Waze. When you live in a city like L.A., commuting steals precious minutes. I do my best to get them back!
Q. If you had to live in another city, which would it be? Vancouver. It's hard to beat the combination of natural beauty, great food, maneuverability and ample cultural opportunities.
Q. Do you have a morning routine? Get up. Brew very strong coffee. Get the kids ready for school. Walk the dog.
Q. How do you unwind after work? I'm a dedicated reader -- not on an e-device, but hard copy. There's nothing like getting in bed holding a good book (and inhaling the smell of the print)!
The University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement is hosting its inaugural #SpeechMatters conference in Washington, DC on March 21, 2019. Learn more here.
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