AmeriCorps VISTA Member Mackenzie Boli
As a Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA in the city of Boulder, Mackenzie Boli’s work revolved around community resilience building, including the development of an online community engagement platform, Resilient Together. She also built, designed, and facilitated the Better Together program, which is a community resilience program. Mackenzie is now a program manager at Resilient Solutions 21. In her new role, she manages project design, development, and delivery across departments to deliver custom-built products for government and nonprofit clients.
How did your service year prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
The exposure to and knowledge of what local government is and how decision-making is navigated has been invaluable. The clients that I’m working with are local and federal government. It’s a unique perspective walking into these meetings because I was sitting on the other side of it a year ago. I was the one who was listening to consultants come and pitch ideas. It’s given me a really unique perspective on how to approach that process.
I feel more connected to my community, my country than I think I ever would have felt without working for Cities of Service because I know that I could get involved in any city I live in for the rest of my life. I know how to be involved in a proactive way in my local government and have a voice.
Can you name an experience from your service year that helped you with your current position?
I previously thought of myself as very introverted and wanted to focus on research and not really deal with people. I kind of found a bit of a stride in relationship building and communication that I would have never expected. One experience, in terms of facilitating conversations and gaining confidence talking to diverse audiences, was facilitating the Better Together programs. I stood up in front of 30 people that I didn’t know and needed to find a way to connect with all of them. I would have never have felt confident enough to apply for this job prior to working for the city of Boulder.
Did you go in with any expectations in during your year of service?
I had no idea what government was or what government did before I started working for the city of Boulder. You think you generally understand things, but you don’t know what you don’t know. I’m amazed at how much I learned.
I moved to Albuquerque for this job at Resilient Solutions 21 and the first thing I did when I got here was look up when the city council meetings take place. I feel more connected to my community, my country than I think I ever would have felt without working for Cities of Service because I know that I could get involved in any city I live in for the rest of my life. I know how to be involved in a proactive way in my local government and have a voice.