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Allison Johnston 

Social media seemed like a really unexpected profession at first. I was already working in the field when I first learned about algorithms and analytics and I certainly wasn't expecting the toll it would take on my wellbeing. But ultimately, the digital realm of storytelling is where I've found my diverse (and sometimes random) experiences to intersect, leading me to take an approach to social media that uses the science of expression, the tools of conscious creativity, and the values of social justice for more responsible and engaging digital communities.

Performance arts

Playing with expression is my comfort zone. Growing up I was always either in a chorus, a play, or a musical and I hardly owned any clothes that weren't stained with paint. Later on I took courses in stage make-up, aerial dance, latin ballroom, and acting. Eventually, I found my way into stage and production management which paved the way to my love for creative organization. Today, most of my participation in formal performance is through my 20-year practice in figure skating that continues in NYC where I coach and choreograph professionally. 

See: Figure Skating in Harlem | Coach Allison

Advocacy and social change

On one side, I come from a heritage of agriculture and rural living—of stoic and democratic values in the farm country of northern Maine. On the other side, I come from a fierce lineage of Puerto Rican women whose prestige, tenacity, and rumors of spiritualism + witchcraft have always fascinated and inspired me. And on the flip side, two of my six siblings are from China thus bringing more cultural diversity to the way we all were raised. But beyond demographics, this mix meant growing up in a house where conversations about justice and speaking up for what's right were as regular as daily chores. 

My first professional career was in direct care for kids with autism and developmental disabilities. From in-home and community support to inpatient crisis care and education I got my first "real world" experience in attempting to do what's right within a system that makes it incredibly difficult. I'm still involved in this field working to support and facilitate workshops for direct care providers, and to elevate the voices of disabled people, especially in the the realms of social justice and activism. 

See: Piece by PeaceAdam's Camp New England
also: The Collaborative for Perpetual Innovation

Leadership

The study of leadership is central in my life both inside and outside of the classroom. I've trained with organizations across the country who combine the work of yoga, activism, and leadership development. It is these experiences that anchored in me the importance of doing inner processing work and caring for spiritual health. I've also completed a B.S. in Leadership and Organizational Studies and am completing a M.A. in the same program. Through this, I've had the privilege of traveling twice to South Africa to participate in a cross-cultural project that brings leaders together for a training through drums, rhythms, and creative expression; and later to Singapore to co-present on this project at the SOKA International Seminar on Global Peace and Understanding.

See: The Connection Coalition | Off the Mat, Into the World | CTZNWELL | U. of So. Maine: Leadership StudiesThe Montagu Project | SOKA - Seminar