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REFLECTIONS ON EIGHT YEARS

OF MORGAN WILLIS MAGIC AT


ALLIED MEDIA PROJECTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

OUR FAVORITE
MO-ISMS

WHAT WE’VE
LEARNED FROM YOU

MEMORIES

2015 HAIKUS

WISHES

9
INTRODUCTION

July 26, 2019


There was a time when you described your leadership role at AMP as
The Exfoliator, but I think a more fitting archetype is The Editor.

In your time at AMP, you took in the whole story of this organization, working
to deeply understand it and discern its essence. Then you set about making that
essence as compelling and accessible as possible. In the process, you transformed it.
You tightened up sentences (people), making us more clear about our purpose and
our power. You wrestled with the text of AMP, not willing to let a murky idea or
a sentence fragment remain, simply out of attachment (“kill your darlings!”).
You expanded the authorship of this text, strengthening quieter
voices, moving critical ideas out of the margins and into the center.

You have forever changed AMP through your leadership. We thank you
and we will miss you dearly. Compiled here are some reflections on the past
eight years of working with you, from your forever fam at Allied Media Projects.

With love,
Jenny

1
OUR FAVORITE MO-ISMS

“I just don’t “Gotcha” “ Not a quote, but I always


know Jesus!” –Honeycomb hear Mo laughing around
–Nadine the office. Even when
*Walks by my things are stressful,
“That’s real” desk and waves* it seems that Mo
–Sophia “What’s up, man?” can find something to
–Jon laugh about and that joy is
Idk :/ “Wild, wild
question.” “Real quick.” “IDK, dudes, welcome and contagious.”
“Get it while you can.” but something’s –Monica
–Toni gonna happen”
“Why Jesus.” [Not a
–Lex
“That is real” after I’d say question, just a statement].
something stupid then “ Haven’t worked “I disagree with myself all
I realize it did have with you long enough the time.” [classic Libra].
some substance to know your -ism’s Also, the non-verbal
behind it. but in the short Mo-ism of pulling your
–Anderson time I’ve been shirt over half of your face,
at AMP you’ve made mid-conversation, also
“ unexpected laughter me feel so welcome. known as “turtling”
in the quiet office.” I’m grateful for the laughs or “tenting.”
– Soh and positive energy you –Jenny
brought to the office.”
–Liz
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED FROM YOU

“ I have learned to truly “I really admire Mo’s “I have learned from


think about the things eloquence and ability to you what a huge difference
I take on and offer cut straight to the heart of it makes in a room when every
of myself. Mo has a problem and dissect it. single person feels welcomed,
been instrumental They are a very charismatic, is made to feel as though they
in supporting my funny, and persuasive belong there, and to know
focus, and the focus speaker. I’ve learned that that their presence is
of Petty Propolis.” inspiring professionalism filling a gap. I have
–Honeycomb and leadership are enhanced become a believer through
by silliness, fun, profanity, seeing you manifest this —
“that having an easy spirit
and publicly owning that positive energy
can be really inspiring.”
one’s imperfections/ is infectious.”
–amb shortcomings/ –Una
“Saying what they frustrations.”
“Mo, you’ve brought
feel, remaining open to –Sophia your entire self to
all perspectives, finding
“I appreciate and deeply leadership of AMP,
humor through the tough
value Mo’s willingness and in particular, have
times, radiating passion,
to support the people shaped the AMC as a place
dripping style.”
she’s working with. where your quiet and
–Hailey There’s a way Mo gives loud brilliance, the
“Mo has always been a and lends support but also beautiful contradictions
huge advocate of me and empowers you to do your of your personhood,of
I feel that so much of my job the best way you see fit!” being a writer and being
growth stems from –Lex a leader, have shone.”
their leadership and –Hannah
guidance. Mo was my
first friend at AMP and
they will be dearly missed.”
–Jon
“You told me to save “The inspiring way “Courage
interpersonal conflict & Mo holds and facilitates to be heard.”
stress for the work week. conversations with folks.” –Anderson
“Don’t be sad on a Saturday. –Toni
Save that shit for Monday.” “Boundaries— how
#Don’tLetCapitalismWin “Mo is always willing to they can be an act of
Also, you’ve shown me stop and answer a question love for yourself and for
how transformative black and answer that question in the work; Power— how
queer leadership is. How a thoughtful way. I have to be honest about it,
critical it is to have folks found this very helpful and own it, shift it, grow
from our community something to aspire to.” it; How to value
represented at the highest –Monica tangible and messy
levels of senior leadership in truths over abstract,
“Mo asked ‘How.’ perfect social justice
any company or industry. We have this vision but
I can never know the analysis; How to stay
How are we going to do it! with something longer
struggles you went through That most important question
to get here but I celebrate than you want to and
propelling us to know what not become bitter;
your journey and thank we don’t know, slow down
you for paving the How to let go with love;
or sometimes speed up. To be How to conserve energy
way for many of us. more generous, imagine a new
You’ll be missed!” so as to deploy it
way forward, to be more just, with excellence and
–Liz collaborative and creative. precision, wasting no
“Mo has been such Thanks for asking the hard hours of one’s life
an impactful leader in questions and making us on bullshit.”
my experience at AMP. better by the answers.”
I’ve learned a lot from Mo –Jenny
–Mike
in the last two years, from
understanding what it “Mo’s clear-headedness and
means to take up space grace amidst seas of all kinds
to learning how to — calm or stormy — is such an
reorient myself toward inspiration to me. I deeply
seeking solutions rather appreciate their ability
than articulating the to consider many different
challenges to understanding 7 perspectives, needs,
what facilitation is in my role. facts, etc, while facilitating
collaborations and collective
Mo’s leadership encourages decision making.”
me to lean into being my
–Kim
whole self while
understanding and “Being flexible and
accepting that I will make open, but straight to the
mistakes and there will be point when/if needed.”
challenges throughout my –Soh
journey professionally
and personally.”
–Nadine

4
MEMORIES

“ I miss our rides into “Mo was present in “Idk... not sure
work together.” one of my interviews about favorite, but
–Honeycomb and their chill yet the way Mostays
inspiring vibe is one of committed to being
“ every single time I the reasons I wanted socially elusive
asked Mo for anything to work at AMP.” and holding their
and they smiled and made it boundaries and all
–Aisha
seem like a pleasure to help.” the times I look up
–amb “Seeing you at and wonder where
Bklyn Boihood!” Mo went. When
“Clownin in Beatmatch
–Liz they want to dip
Brunch <3”
“Laughter?” out, they dip out.”
–Hailey
–Soh –Toni
“AMC tattoos (!) or
putting out fires together “Planning/talking “Every AMC since
at the AMC, especially about Alaska trips!” Mo came on has been
before we had a huge –Monica fuller of greater,
staff (maybe this is
“Having a shared, absurd dramaticer, happier,
my masochism,
experience sitting through sadder and movinger
though....)”
a vaguely facilitated memories and every
–Jon one of them I can
pre-Novo grant
“I loved seeing Mo ‘convening’ at the say felt mean’t to
in between sessions Boggs Center where be and full of lessons
and making the magic everyone in attendance liesions and huge wins.
of the AMC happen!” had to pitch their Mo not only understands
organizations for funding the business but more
–Moya
while pretending not to.” importantly the
“It’s a tie, either subtle metaphysical
–Sophia
sitting in the Lab, aspects of a substantial
sick as ever 6 days experience.”
before AMC and “Stealing you away –Anderson
making a calendar from VSC for what felt like
request for us to “Feel an illicit off-campus brunch!”
“Mo standing at the
the fuck better” by two –Una info desk during AMC
days later. OR being
“My favorite memory as all hell broke loose
consumed 10 by
with Mo is when around them, cool
whatever level of
they looked at as a cucumber,
AMC shenanigans that
me at AMC2018 spreading that
were happening and being
and said, “you just grounded “it’s not
frustrated and scooping
secured your job” (lol).” that serious get over
Jon up to go get
yourself” energy to all
tattoos 2 days before –Nadine
who would receive it.”
AMC started, because
that felt like the best –ill
use of our time.”
–Lex

5
“All of the times we bore The year that you The time that we
witness to each others’ insisted we make special saw Jonah Mixon-Webster
breakdowns? JK. matching AMC basketball read his poem about Flint
Though those moments jerseys for the Opening for the first time at the
have shaped me and Ceremony, or when Fortify retreat and
will stay with me. you wore a tie and I wore it was starting to rain
a cocktail dress bcs it was but no one could move,
the 15th anniversary. How we were so floored.
we both loathed having Afterwards we were
to be seen on that both like-- THIS! THIS!
stage, and still managed Every year as we went through
to do it year after year, our curatorial dance (battle?)
taking small joy in over ideas for the AMC
the coordination ceremonies and plenaries,
of outfits. it was moments of electrifying
alignment like these, where
we leveled everything up.”
–Jenny
2015 HAIKUS (IN CASE YOU FORGOT!)

cool under pressure; Morgan is magic Morgan Mann Willis


they “move quiet and get it.” An AMC magician An amazing earthling dude
dear mo mann willis. Wonderfully crafted Full of joy and love
has it been five years? Quiet in nature Stars come and go fast
full of joy and challenges Stealth in her perseverance Time dictates how we live lives.
what an adventure Genius on her toes Mo makes time to laugh.
— Jenny — Tawana — Diana
Morgan Morgan Ba Mo makes shit happen Morgan Mann Willis
Borgan, I hope to see ya Magical fairy she is Such enormous shoes to fill
Puttin yo feet up! Ringmastering, all. Enjoy what comes next!
An Organizing Laughs, jokes, tattoos — Sophia
Ninja, Orater: Golden “Oh shit, we’got work to do!”
Morgan Organ Eyes! Something’s gon’ happen
— Anderson — Lex

Written for the occasion of Mo’s last year as the AMC Director
deep listen wordsmith Grounded in sameness-- in times of mayhem,
loving brilliance embodied twisted similarity hullaballoo, and chaos,
king auntie morgan necessary soul. mo mann saves the show
facilitating Morgan makes us feel AMC tattoos
magical movements weaving alive and needed-- wtf, ya lets do it
may your visions grow our dynamic force. buzz buzz ouch buzz buzz
— ill Who comes to a small — Jon
mo magically birthday party new to
hits that epic to do list the D - showing love
phew. done. so. much. stuff. — Naidra
awe inspiring
holder of conversations
listener weaver
— Toni

all that you hold with Low tech much respect mo morning convos
respect, systems, brilliance Payment requests handwritten please, witty and a brain that
continues to grow Dj analog never stops never
onward you do go Solution master — Muna
and what you will awaken Fixing problems with a smile
I can’t wait to see Happy you’re my friend
— Mike — Monica
8
WISHES 9

“ You brilliant, humble spirit. “Mo!!! I wish you so well “Your impact speaks
May the earth cultivate the for your next chapter! You for itself. The AMC
seeds you have so deeply have helped the AMC grow is forever more radical
planted within it.” and grow and grow! I know and inclusive because
–Honeycomb that you will continue to of your leadership,
do so in your own life!” and I have no doubt
“absolute success and deep that you will bring this
–Moya
affirmation as a writer.” transformative power
–amb “Mo, I’m so excited to to all of your future
see what’s next for you!!! adventures & endeavors.
“That you continue to Meet you in Idlewild?”
pursue your goals and get Wishing the best of luck
–Lex to you! Stay in touch!”
time to relax and re-center!”
–Hailey “Mo - best of luck on –Liz
everything. In the short “Your growth is going
“I can’t wait for Mo to finish time I’ve known you, I
their novel, so that is my well- to continue to skyrocket -
can tell you will kick ass at please keep sharing your
wish!” whatever you decide next.” reflections, learnings,
–Jon –Aisha and love with us!
Thank you thank you!”
–Hannah
9
“I can’t wait to watch
your plans for your arts/
writing and starting
a family(!) come
to fruition.”
–Sophia

“Dear Mo... May every car


you own be sleeker and
faster than the last.”
–Anderson

“All the epic novel


writing, traveling,
camping, King
Auntying, and JOYing
your heart desires!”
–ill

“Sending you hella


love and light as you
begin your new journey.
You are a dynamic
leader, a person filled
with so much love and
compassion. Your voice
“You’ll do wonderful “You have given so and what you do is
and wondrous things!” much out to the many so important and
–Soh communities you’ve I’m incredibly
held space for, and I know honored to have
“Mo- I wish you all the that that love and energy shared space
best in your new adventures. and generosity will come with you and have
I am so happy for you and back to you many many learned from you.”
look forward to hearing about times over. So you are –Nadine
the amazing not taking as big a risk
things you are doing!” as it might seem.” “That you keep
–Monica –Una deepening your
“Mo, I wish you abundant incredible power as
“the time to grace the
joy, time spent camping, a human, through your
world with Mo Mann Willis
quiet writing time, and writing, your parenting,
novels, minis and family
I hope you finally your facilitating, and
life, and lots of camping
meet Beyonce as you your mentorship. That
and woodsy wonder.”
are fated to (so you can you keep protecting and
–Toni cultivating your deep
make the “Formation” lyric
connection). Wishing you well of energy that is
so many new adventures!” your particular magic.”
–Kim –Jenny
WE LOVE YOU MO!