Edition 1

My name is Lindsay Jensen and I am the new Operations Manager at The Insight Alliance. Over the next few months I’ll be writing a series of blog posts about the amazing team members that work or volunteer with the organization. Join me as I get to know everyone, build new relationships and learn more about the beautiful humans that are involved with The Insight Alliance.

Friday, February 6, 2020

I had the most amazing and energizing lunch today! I got to meet with Patty Merrill – an artist, activist, small business owner and overall bad ass woman. Patty also serves on the board of directors for The Insight Alliance. We met at Boke Bowl on SE Water Street. When I walked in, she greeted me with a hug and by saying, “Lindsay! Welcome, dear. I’m so glad that you’re here.” She then proceeded to chat with the woman working at the counter, connecting with her as a long-time colleague and friend. I immediately felt comfortable and drawn to Patty’s warmth and down-to-earth demeanor.

I’ll admit, I’ve been a big fan of Patty’s for a while now. I am in love with Cargo, the store that she started and still runs alongside her business partner. It’s one of the most magical spaces full of authentic, handmade goods. I literally did a happy dance when I found out Patty was on the board of directors. It was great to find out that her personality mirrors Cargo’s – cool, fun and just outright special.

Patty and I spent a long time chatting about our backgrounds, where we grew up and about our shared passion for social justice. We also talked about why she got involved with The Insight Alliance. It all started after the 2016 presidential election. Patty was feeling frustrated with the results and wanted to find opportunities to engage more deeply in the community and to “do something”. Through a mutual connection, Patty was connected to Anna (our Founder). Patty talked about how interesting she found Anna and the work that The Insight Alliance was doing in prisons. Patty quickly offered up meeting space to Anna and a few board members and, after a short while, became a board member herself.

Throughout our lunch Patty kept talking about how much she loved the organization. She talked about her personal connection to the people The Insight Alliance serves and the impact we are having on people’s lives. I’ll never forget when Patty said, “You know, I’ve really seen this program change lives.” She also mentioned her appreciation for Anna and what an important leader she was for The Insight Alliance.  It was refreshing to see her genuine passion for the organization.

I am so thrilled that I got to have lunch with Patty. I loved learning about her family, including her two “very French” grandchildren and hardworking and passionate daughter who runs a local nonprofit. I was also thrilled to find a kindred spirit; someone who has a deep heart for helping others and standing up against injustices. I have a lot to learn from Patty and can’t wait for many more opportunities to work with her.

Patty Merrill is a bookstore owner, owner of a restaurant and bed and breakfast and owner of Cargo, Inc. She was also a Ceramics instructor, which continues to be a passion of hers along with travel, gardening, all things handmade and books. Patty brings expertise in business ownership and networking.

*Photo courtesy of Cargo, Inc.