Our People from Across the Seas: MJ Kaplan

MJ Kaplan is a Loomio Channel Partner based in Providence, RI. She became involved with the co-op in mid-2013 while on a research fellowship in NZ. We chat with MJ about her background and why she became involved in Loomio.


Why did you get involved with Loomio?

I was researching social enterprise as the Ian Axford Fellow through Fulbright New Zealand. I met members of the Loomio team at Enspiral and was immediately captivated by the motivation for the platform – to engage people affected by decisions in making decisions.  I started work 30 years ago as a community organizer and this principle of participation to create better decisions has always been at the center of my work.  Loomio makes that possibility easier and faster in the digital environment.  I  was super impressed by the team so I was thrilled to transition from research to engagement.  The team is smart, committed and deeply grounded in values and integrity.  I’m honored to work with them.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Boston Facilitator’s Roundtable?

This is a network of facilitators who work in business and community space in the greater Boston area.  We collaborate, support each other by resource sharing and we have a monthly workshop series.  Loomio is pleased to have had the opportunity to lead a workshop late last year to introduce participants to online facilitation and opportunities to expand their tool box of skills as better meet customer needs whether they are internal teams or diverse community efforts.

What do you do day-to-day? Maybe you could tell us a bit about what it means to be a channel partner, and what your experiences of this are…

I returned to the US in the fall after 8 months abroad.  As I reconnect with my community, locally and nationally, I’m introducing them to Loomio and exploring needs that might be met through the use of Loomio. I’m finding such a variation in the users that are excited about Loomio – universities, businesses, networks and, of course, activists. When some of the team came to the US in December, I joined them to meet with thought leaders in Washington, New York and Boston.  Everyone we met with was impressed and think that Loomio has the potential to be a game-changer to make collaborative decision-making easier and better. I think most people want to work through differences to make better decisions and they just struggle with clumsy tools and competition for time and space.  More than anything else, Loomio makes this important work easier.

What inspires you about working in Loomio’s community?

The team’s commitment to learn and grow is very inspiring.  From the earliest stage, they engaged with customers to refine the platform based on users’ needs.  I’m also impressed by their determination and discipline.

Where do you see yourself and Loomio in five years time?

My hope is that Loomio is a household word and tool like email and Facebook.  The more time I spend learning about Loomio the more applications I see for people to get the right group together, quickly flush out their views and quickly move to action.  I think Loomio can help families, businesses and whole communities be more productive and happier in their shared action.

I think most people want to work through differences to make better decisions and they just struggle with clumsy tools and competition for time and space.  More than anything else, Loomio makes this important work easier.

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I am Water Issues Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society - an non-profit non-goverment agency who strive towards a world in which all needs can be met in sustainable ways. I educate the public on water issues and work with governments towards better water management. On a personal level, I am passionate about environmental issues, particularly water, as it makes up 70% of my body! I love getting out and about interacting with my world in both urban and natural settings.

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