Amy Hartzler

Amy is a communications strategist who works with leaders taking on the complex, messy issues we tend to avoid as a culture — from nuclear weapons and disability rights, to climate change, death, and money. Amy's background in storytelling and meta/narrative strategy include focused efforts in local and regional economy building, entrepreneurship, over-consumption, impact investing, and philanthropy. Previously she led the D.C. office of Free Range Studios, one of the first creative firms focused exclusively on the social change sector, and one of the first B Corps. She was instrumental to developing Free Range's storytelling methodology, captured in the book, Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell — and Live — the Truth Will Win in the Future; and she supported Joel Solomon and Tyee Bridge on The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism. Amy is a thought leader and speaker for a range of networks and issues, including social entrepreneurship, local economies, and economic, social, and racial justice. Across all of her work, Amy centers the brilliance of leaders we can easily miss, because we rarely focus on the most under-represented voices in weaving together a new narrative. Some of Amy’s collaborators include Global Zero, Disability Rights Fund, Just Economy Institute, Rising Tide Capital, and Health Care Without Harm. Based in Washington, D.C., by way of the midwest and southeast, Amy enjoys time in the southwest, where the skies are paintings in motion. She loves to cook, walk, listen and share stories about her diverse and deep family, and the values that connect us, in our brief time on this planet.

What future of work trends give you the most hope?

Nature-based solutions that focus on restoring and regenerating 

This is a one-room schoolhouse where Amy’s grandmother taught, at her family’s farm in central Illinois. Wind turbines in the background generate clean power for Chicago, two hours away.

Amy is passionate about a future that is safe from the threat of nuclear weapons, and has shown up to make her voice heard alongside other anti-nuclear advocates. Here she appears after participating in the Bike Around the Bomb, which included a Hiroshima survivor and farmer in Japan, who trained and joined for the ride on a hot summer’s day. The event launched from the White House and created the perimeter of a bomb blast in Washington D.C., showing us all that we can save, if we choose.

Amy appreciates the many ways that narrative and culture shift emerge and converge, including in our everyday lives. She also enjoys tea. Amy is known as a host and convener, and loves to cook and offer whatever is local, seasonal and fresh.

In May 2013, for the first time ever, a Funk Parade rolled down historic U Street in Washington, D.C. in an explosion of shakes, shimmies and smiles. In one day, the event drives more than a million dollars to local businesses; commissions and compensates more than 300 artists; and hosts 75,000 funkateers and lovers of our nation’s capitol This photo is when the incoming Mayor Muriel Bowser appeared for her first Funk Parade; now a priority on her annual calendar. Can you spot Amy?

What 3 qualities are most important for leaders in the future?

  • Ability to question assumptions 
  • Nurturing multigenerational and intersectional efforts
  • Seeking out and remaining open to new perspectives

What is true security?

  • Release of anxiety about the basic needs of my neighbors / communities - knowing that systems are evolving to better serve our collective needs, and that mutual aid is available and resourced for those who need it
  • Being at peace with instability, release of the idea that as a white person I can or should be comfortable or have control
  • Practicing and encountering curiosity and kindness 
  • Having access to nature / the ability to experience big beauty

In 25 years...

All will be perfect, as it is