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Inspiring Conversations with Lora McDonald of MORE2

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lora McDonald. 

Hi Lora, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I wanted to become a social worker so I could help people. What I realized, early in my career, was that I was more interested in changing systems than individuals, that I would be better at (and more satisfied with) driving public policy change than helping individuals adversely impacted by those systems. Eventually, I became the Executive Director of Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, MORE2 “more-squared” out of interest in collapsing systems of inequity and creating a more just community. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
For an executive director of a non for profit, every single day presents a new challenge. It was hard to be new in this job and I was the only employee at that time. The biggest challenge in this role has been turning a corner financially and becoming a job creator. Now the challenge is retaining those employee positions while continuing to grow and pass public policies. 

A regular challenge that I face with the public is that I can be seen as “mean” or “aggressive” when pursuing systemic change. Challenging the status quo is never seen as kind or nice, even if the change we are pursuing is in the interest of the common good. Meaningful change comes at a price, at times, and sometimes that price is how people see me. It’s always been worth it. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity is a faith-based organizing group that trains and develops ordinary Kansas City area faith leaders to do extraordinary things to shape public policies and change their communities. We are a membership organization with faith institutions (Jewish, Christian, and Unitarian presently) and individuals making up our members. We are one of the most recognizable social justice organizations in the metro and what most sets us apart is our grassroots leaders who have won a great many policy victories. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
One of the most important things I have learned on my journey is that we cannot wait on others to change the world— and if we do, they won’t change it to our liking anyway. We are the people we have been waiting for and we must step up into the public arena and make things better for future generations. 

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Image Credits
Sarah Starnes

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