Hi. I’m Will Stewart, a community improvement fanatic who helps aspiring change makers create the kinds of communities they want to live in.
I believe that lasting positive change can and must begin at the community level.
I work at the intersection of community organizing and economic development. Having begun my career as a newspaper reporter, I saw and reported on a bevy of social, environmental, educational and economic issues that made me want to get more involved than I could as an “objective” reporter. These were issues that were affecting my community, and it was personal.
So I left journalism to become a community organizer with an affordable housing nonprofit. There I learned, by study, trial and error, the ins and outs of how to work with others to affect real neighborhood and community change. Wanting to affect an even larger segment of community, I became an economic development professional and used the community organizing strategies, tactics and skills I had honed as a community organizer to help create a stronger local economy.
Over the years I’ve organized Carrotmobs, led a Neighborhood Watch group, created a thriving local website, organized against slumlords, helped establish a TEDx event, created an after-school tutoring program for low-income kids and advocated for things like better sidewalks and better business permitting processes. In 2011 I was recognized as part of the New Hampshire Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty program and in 2012 was selected as a Next City Vanguard.
A Southern expatriate, I live with my wife, Michelle, and son, Zeke, in Manchester, New Hampshire, where I enjoy riding my bicycle in a suit and tie (it’s an excellent safety measure, I’ve found), longing for Memphis-style barbecue (it just ain’t the same up North) and complaining about the cold.