The Team

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Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute


ESII Staff

adrienne maree brown headshot

adrienne maree brown

Creative Director

adrienne maree brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is a writer, social justice facilitator, pleasure activist, healer and doula living in Detroit. brown has been facilitating professionally for over fifteen years, and has worked with hundreds of organizations at all levels of scale including informal collectives, foundations, national networks and more. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World podcast.  

Melinda Lee headshot

Melinda Lee

Administrative Manager, aka Boss of Internal Magics

Melinda Lee is a queer, non-binary, first-generation Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Chinese person born and raised in Long Beach, CA. They're currently living and learning in Minneapolis, MN. They enjoy writing, painting, bookmaking, playing games, woodworking, and reading. Melinda spends most of their time trying to honor to the legacy of their grandma, Thida Duong, who raised them.

Luis Alejandro Tapia headshot

Luis Alejando Tapia

Program Consultant, aka Boss of External Magics  

Luis Alejandro Tapia, a son of Dominican immigrants, serves as a social impact and equity consultant, a racial and restorative justice coach and trainer, circle keeper, social justice educator, and facilitator at the intersections of spirituality, leadership, healing and liberation. Luis Alejandro has facilitated unique programs for a range of social change agencies including the Center for Racial Justice in Education, Harlem Children’s Zone, ArtStart, Public Allies, Urban Arts Partnership & NYU’s Metro Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.

Advisory Board

Inca Mohammed headshot

Inca A. Mohamed

Internationally recognized for her group facilitation and training skills, Inca A. Mohamed has many years of experience managing and working with nonprofit organizations addressing youth development, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equity, and, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Inca has helped hundreds of organizations create effective and powerful management and strategies for change.

Inca’s previous experience includes her role as the Executive Director for Management Assistance Group (MAG) where she spearheaded MAG’s initiative to go beyond one-on-one consulting with single organizations to providing leadership coaching as a stand-alone service, facilitating high-stakes meetings, and working with coalitions and other multi-organization groups. Inca’s approach to consulting is rooted in her experience as a Caribbean immigrant from a multi-ethnic family, “I had to develop ‘border-crossing’ skills to survive and thrive, and I know the power of cross-cultural learning. My experience taught me to listen deeply, honor what is distinct about each environment, and, when appropriate, translate experiences from one place to another.” Inca’s DEI work is informed by the understanding that an organization’s willingness and commitment to consistently and systematically address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to its health and its capacity for sustained impact.

Before joining MAG, Inca was a Program Officer for human development and reproductive health at the Ford Foundation where she oversaw a $60 million dollar portfolio aimed at strengthening youth development domestically and abroad. She stays connected to the philanthropic sector through her work as a consulting philanthropic advisor to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Her career has also included work in public education and advocacy, training, program design and management as well as individual and group professional coaching. She has held leadership positions at a diverse range of organizations including the YWCA of the USA, Hawaii Department of Health, The Door (comprehensive youth development center) and Alameda-San Francisco Planned Parenthood in San Francisco.

Inca’s clients have included:, National Civil Rights Museum, Race Forward, SAGE, SisterSong, The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, The LGBT ED Institute, The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, The National LGBTQ Task Force, The National Women’s Health Network, The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity, Arcus Foundation, Counsel of New Jersey Grantmakers, Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, The Meyer Foundation, The North Star Fund, The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and many more.

Inca has completed training through Visions, Inc., The Social Transformation Project (Robert Gass), the Interaction Institute for Social Change’s “Conversation about Racism” course and is certified in Community Coaching through Leadership That Works.

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Jessica Norwood

Named to Essence Magazines “50 Entrepreneurs to Watch” list, Jessica Norwood is an immediate past RSF Social Finance Fellow in Integrated Capital and Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow in Economic Disruption where she founded The Runway Project. The Runway Project is a suite of strategies that increase investment capital, particularly early capital known as a "Friends and Family" round, into African American companies nationwide.   

Jessica’s work is the foundation of what economists are calling “culture shift investing”, an investment thesis that is political, cultural and financial in impact.  As a former board member of the famed Highlander Research and Education Center, the same place that trained Dr. King, Jessica is trained in nonviolence organizing and anti-racism and is a skilled popular education facilitator. Her innovative work in investing has been profiled in NPR, Next City, Essence Magazine, Conscious Company, Fast Company and others.   

Julie Quiroz headshot

Julie Quiroz

Julie is passionate about nurturing collective creativity to reimagine, reclaim, and recreate a lasting world for generations to come. Julie is Director of Narrative Future with Movement Strategy Center where she co-creates embodied cultural strategy experiments to shift our world from domination and extraction to interdependence, resilience, and love. Julie co-launched MSC’s podcast The Big We: Experiments in Liberation and co-authored Love With Power: Practicing Transformation for Social Justice.

Julie is a founding member of Untold Stories of Liberation & Love, an all-volunteer Ypsilanti (Michigan)-centric workshop/anthology project amplifying and generating local women of color’s creative courage to envision what Washtenaw communities will be when we we center cooperative community-governed solutions grounded in abundance. Untold Stories invites Washtenaw County women of color to reach back to our ancestors for radical wisdom, to shift the shape of reality in the present moment, and to embody our vision of the future right now. Julie’s brain only really works through poetry and she writes to discover meaning in her experiences with migration, assimilation, race, class, and gender, as she does in her recent story American Residence.

Julie is deeply grateful for the decade she’s spent working and learning with Norma Wong, who inspired her to breathe, embody purpose, and practice tai chi. Julie loves open water swimming and makes a home with her beloved daughter and a tiny dog named Chula.

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Jodie Tonita

Jodie Tonita is the Executive Director and Co-Founder at the Social Transformation Project (STP) helping people strategize, collaborate, and grapple with complex, systemic change for a better world. She has spent the majority of her career in leadership and strategy development at the intersections of social movements building the necessary power and capacity to realize just and sustainable futures. While Jodie leads STP she also serves as a leadership fellow with the Broadbent Institute, an advisory board member of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and on the steering committee of the Inner Activist. She also served on the boards of two national digital organizing and capacity building organizations Leadnow and Groundwire. Jodie lives and surfs in Los Angeles, CA, and is originally from Vancouver, BC.

Facilitation Cohort

The Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute Facilitation Cohort is a comprised of seasoned facilitators, apprentice facilitators, and students facilitators that support the work of ESII. Please note that support will often come in teams that will include students and apprentices who are learning these methods.

adrienne maree brown

Sage Crump

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Mia Herndon

Kelly McGowan

Nate Mullen

Kavita Rao


Shane Bernardo

Chelsea Cleveland

Nicole Newman

Luis Alejandro Tapia

aja taylor

Jennifer Toles

Paige Watkins



Nikita Mitchell

Courtney Sebring

Joie Lou Shakur

Ziquelle Smalls