Hello. I'm Chris Michael.
I launched Collaborations for Change in order to unite forces with more people who are making the world a more just, radiant, and sustainable place. I am a seasoned advisor, trainer, facilitator, multimedia storyteller, and strategist who enhances changemakers' capacity to communicate, collaborate, and catalyze lasting change.
After 15 years of working in the international human rights sector and for membership-based social change organizations, I have a gathered a host of hard-won lessons. I'm grateful for them all, especially the toughest ones, because they ensure I think, act, and advise from a place of experience and empathy with an eye forever towards impact. I believe in people-centered strategies that prioritize the voice, experience, and wisdom of those most affected. Cultivating clear, effective, and empowering communication is at the core of everything I do.
I started my social change work as a community organizer, and that's when I learned how to listen more intently, mobilize with communities, and help leverage the potential and dynamism of people power. As a national organizer for Global Exchange and United for Peace and Justice, I supported grassroots groups across the United States that were working to stop the invasion of Iraq through tailored trainings, organizing nonviolent direction actions, and coordinating legislative campaigns. Later, I learned the art and potential of corporate campaigning while with Rainforest Action Network, working to help break our addiction to oil through pressuring the auto industry to enter the 21st century.
Before founding Collaborations for Change, I was the Head of Training and Partnerships at WITNESS, where I spent seven years helping transform its training resources, advancing its methodology, and bolstering its partnerships with human rights allies across five continents. Before there was YouTube, I designed, launched, and managed the Hub, a multilingual, multimillion dollar tech project and online platform for citizen-submitted human rights videos. I also developed and ran WITNESS' Video for Change Toolkit, an interactive online course for advocates who want to effectively and ethically integrate multimedia into their human rights advocacy and documentation efforts. For both projects, I managed the innovative technical development, led outreach and partnership initiatives, nurtured users, and led the content creation strategy, including writing and producing 35 instructional videos.
Throughout my career, I have started and executed winning advocacy campaigns, fruitful individual and foundation-focused fundraising drives, and innovative online and social media engagements to help move millions to action. Along this journey, I have trained and coached hundreds of human rights advocates from over 115 countries. In addition to running workshops, I have facilitated dozens of multi-day stakeholder convenings, ranging from 15 to 150 people. All of my event-design and facilitation experience developed my approach and ability to ensure optimal peer-to-peer engagement, learning, and sharing. I've also lectured about how new media and technology can advance human rights research and advocacy at Columbia University, The New School, and New York University.
The Collaborations for Change Squad
I bring together the right team of experts to provide the best service to my clients. If we have a need for a project or training -- say a digital security expert or social media maven -- I've got a team of experts on call who are ready to join forces in order to advance your project. Additionally, if we talk and I know someone who can support you better than I can, I'll happily put you in touch. I love matchmaking to advance social change.
Initiatives and Projects that My Clients Help Enable
I am grateful that my Collaborations for Change consultancy affords my varied volunteer work with community-based groups and organizations with little to no budget, like Nibezun.
Additionally, because of my consulting work and generous support from hundreds of allies, I travelled nearly 7,000 miles via motorcycle to interview men from 18 to 85 years old who had also lost their fathers to suicide. The resulting audio documentary, Fatherless by Suicide, features their lessons, stories, and insights around navigating grief, manhood, and fatherhood. I'm grateful my consulting work enabled me to see this personal project through from idea to conception. I'm proud of it, and I'm now working on a second audio project featuring changemakers -- stay tuned.