What Brought Me Here: Lily Goodspeed - Connect The Dots Insights
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What Brought Me Here: Lily Goodspeed

What Brought Me Here: Lily Goodspeed

Lily, her dog Shorty (Chorizo), and his mural likeness by Shira Walinsky, 2021

Meet Lily Goodspeed, who joined Connect the Dots this summer as a Senior Associate! We asked Lily about the professional journey that brought her to Connect the Dots and are so excited to get to know her as we collaborate!

As a child, I wanted to be a journalist. My non-traditional hero was Ira Glass from ‘This American Life,’ and in college I assumed my audio explorations would lead me to a career at NPR or, at least, a media company. Storytelling was how I made sense of a complex world, and I majored in history at Brown University so I could immerse myself in techniques of oral history and interviewing. My senior year project revolved around the Tompkins Square Park “Riots” of 1988 and I had the privilege of telling the stories of those involved in that night of police brutality. 

Participatory Budgeting in Brooklyn, 2014

There was one problem, though – journalism demanded a certain amount of constant motion. It was impossible for me to explore a community, attempt to support their voices, and then immediately move on to the next lead. I loved going deep and maintaining relationships with the people I worked with, especially within cities where the stories, histories, and webs of connections were dense with meaning. 

My time as an intern at a City Council office in Brooklyn and a Community Partnerships Coordinator in South Philly taught me that I wanted to put down roots, not cycle through stories. In City Council, the incredible Councilperson Stephen Levin and my immediate boss allowed me to take a leadership role in their Participatory Budgeting program. At Southwark School, I built a network of mentors and collaborators within the South Philadelphia community that I continue to work with today.

Building the first Bok Bar, 2016

Now I knew what I wanted to do – build community, improve equity in cities and, perhaps most importantly, allow voices from all stakeholders to be heard, supported, respected, and included. How I would get there would be a meandering path. I worked as one of the founding team members at the Bok building. I supported a grassroots movement of Ward committeepeople races in 2018. I did my part at SEAMAAC to pass along the legacy of community-focused planning at Mifflin Square Park and SE Philadelphia neighborhoods at large. I started a storytelling project called “Plaque to the Future” that tells stories of our city in a DIY way. 

Plaque to the Future, 2018

My position at Connect the Dots is a continuation of this work to do my small part to lift up the stories of the people that make cities great. I’m about two months in, and I am especially excited about the Roundhouse redevelopment project we are kicking off with Amber Art and Design. Here is a perfect example of a piece of city history and a building imbued with so much meaning and trauma, and the goal to bring the building’s stories to the surface and use them to inform the future site is a worthy one. I am excited to dig into projects like these, where I can be part of a process and work toward a future that is more equitable, creative, and green for all.

 

Lily Goodspeed is a Senior Associate at Connect the Dots and based in Philadelphia. She is a social impact and economic development professional passionate about inclusive community engagement, creative placemaking, and respecting historical context. Lily holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked within nonprofits, development and real estate companies, and political advocacy organizations for ten years within the Philly region. Her career in grassroots organizing and collective change informs her CTD work on the ground and within communities.

 

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