Shelby Brown

Managing Director

Shelby Brown

Why I work at Everyday Democracy:

When it comes to our society’s most intractable problems, I believe we need everyone at the table in a meaningful way and that every member of society can and should play a part in solving those problems. Unfortunately, we’ve become a society that relies very heavily on experts and all too often the wisdom and insight needed to solve problems goes untapped.  That wisdom and insight is in “the people”, and the people are one of our richest natural resources. So, I like the idea of equipping ordinary people to effectively collaborate and solve public problems together.  I believe Everyday Democracy is about tapping into that societal resource, helping people discover their voice, discover their place in the public discourse, and become effective at finding and addressing solutions to public problems.  That’s exciting!


What I love about what I do:

My role at Everyday Democracy is about managing the operations, but it’s more than just paying bills, generating paychecks and making sure the computers work.  It’s about enabling a team a highly talented people to go out into communities and effect a very specific kind of change, knowing that the fundamental supports they need are in place.  


How I got here:

I participated in my first study circle on race back in the 90’s.  The experience was eye-opening and thrilling.  I really appreciated the opportunity to listen to other people and to share my own story; to this day, I remember the vivid accounts of my cohorts’ first experiences with racial inequity.   Although I had been very involved in my community as a community organizer, educator, and volunteer, I had never seen a tool be so effective at getting people to share (openly and honestly) with their neighbors on an issue as touchy as this.   The road from my first experience with conversations on race to my current employment has been long and winding, but in some ways, I’ve circled right back to where I first discovered the power of dialogue for community change.


What I do when I’m not helping communities create change:

When I’m not helping communities, I am teaching Sunday School, enjoying my family, baking, working on my local Board of Education, watching “Law and Order” or dreaming about a vacation somewhere wonderful.  


Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.