Walking the Walk—A Storytelling Event (Facilitated by S & G)

Transforming Communities, Ourselves, and Others through Walking

Thursday, October 29, 2015 | Cities Restaurant and Lounge, 1909 K Street NW, DC

Hosted by America Walks—part of the 2015 Walking Summit

On Thursday evening, over 100 people joined us for an evening program of stories for leaders from the field. The goal: to get inspired, motivated, and energized from these engaging and lively advocates, who have challenged their communities and succeeded in increasing walking and making America a great place to walk.

Seven engaging and inspiring storytellers gave the audience a variety of perspectives on strategies to increase walking in your community. Whether increasing your health, making your community a more inviting place to walk, or even looking at the benefits your community will get with more people walking, initial feedback was that the stories left participants inspired to create change in their own community.

Following the presentations, our MC, Misty Tripoli (founder of the World Groove Movement), helped us Walk it out, Move in ways that inspire the soul, and groove ourselves right into the dance party! Participants got to dance, let off some steam, network, and just have a little bit of fun. Even Robert Ping wowed us with his live trumpet playing and DJ Kid Lucky capped off the night with some great music.

Find the presentations and videos from our storytellers here

The line up, story descriptions, and bios are below.

We’ll update this blog post with more pictures and video, as it becomes available.


Program Lineup


Walking Advocacy Wins (Christy Kwan, Programs and Outreach Director, Alliance for Biking & Walking)

The Alliance for Biking & Walking creates, strengthens, and unites state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations throughout North America. In this story, Christy will share recent walking advocacy wins from Maine to Arizona, showing that no campaign is too small or not important in our people powered movement.

A focus on Putting Culture First—Overcoming Barriers to Taking Action (Matt Tomasulo, founder and chief civic instigator, Walk [Your City])

Lightweight projects can quickly shift mindsets to put people first on our streets in our communities. Join Matt Tomasulo, from Walk [Your City], as he highlights the success of low-cost solutions that changed minds from inside San Jose city hall to the sidewalks of North Carolina.

The No Sweat Couch Potato Recovery Program (Michael Schatzki, MPA, Author and public speaker)

When Mike got the results of his fitness assessment and found that he was not in as great a shape as he thought he was, it was just the “wakeup call” that he needed. Hear Mike’s story of transformation, both for him personally and the many who have benefited from the easy-to-use tool that he has developed.

A Fannie Lou in Every Community: How GirlTrek Is Activating Black Women to be Changemakers (Vanessa Garrison, Co-Founder, Girl Trek)

GirlTrek is a national nonprofit currently supporting more than 35,000 Black women across the country in getting physically active through walking. Working at the intersection of public health and social justice, the movement has garnered national attention and support. Come hear how GirlTrek is changing the face of walking and walking advocacy by mobilizing thousands of everyday women to lead change within their families and communities

We #Justwalk (Khadijah Tribble, Co-founder, Community Wellness Collective)

The #Justwalk group, a program of CWC, offers support for those working to become healthier and lose weight—a struggle for many of us. Learn about this innovative work, including a co-founder’s personal journey to overcome weight struggles that led to creation of the program.

Personal Stories that Make Change (Nicole Ferrara, Executive Director, Walk San Francisco)

Vision Zero–the goal to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024–has finally brought attention to the persistent and painful reality that the American transportation system has not gone far enough to prioritize safety, especially for pedestrians. This is a story about a death that never should have happened. It’s also a story about how a grieving family, in partnership with their community, turned their pain into action, and how transportation advocacy organizations can work to support leadership across unlikely partners.

Rockin’ the Nation- Deb Hubsmith’s Passion and Legacy – Honoring our dear friend and visionary leader (Andy Peri, Sustainable Transportation Advocate)

Deb Hubsmith’s colleague, partner and husband Andy Peri will be honoring Deb’s pioneering work in the active transportation field through sharing stories and highlighting Deb’s vision and unstoppable passion.   Deb passed away on August 18, 2015 from Acute Myeloid Leukemia.


Storyteller Bios

Nicole Ferrara, Executive Director, Walk san Francisco

picture of Nicole Ferrara

Nicole leads Walk San Francisco’s policy and programmatic work, strategic communications, administration and operations. Nicole came to Walk SF in 2013 with a background in active transportation, urban planning, and public health. As a consultant, Nicole helped develop climate change adaptation plans for the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Program on Health, Equity and Sustainability, and provided bicycle and pedestrian planning services to the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Previously, Nicole worked at Prevention Institute, training community groups in policy and media advocacy strategies for healthy, equitable places. Nicole has served on the Caltrans District 4 Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the City of Berkeley Transportation Commission. Nicole holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Vanessa Garrison, Founder and Director, GirlTrek

Picture of Vanessa Garrison

Vanessa is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for Black women and girls. Vanessa currently serves as the COO of GirlTrek, a national health movement that she co-founded in 2011. Through grassroots organizing and award-winning social media campaigns, GirlTrek currently supports over 25,000 walkers and inspires an ever-growing network of 200,000 supporters.  Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital media with Turner Broadcasting System. Inc. in Atlanta, GA. where she managed digital media projects for some the world’s most recognizable news and entertainment brands, including, CNN, TNT and Sports Illustrated. Vanessa was awarded Teach For America’s 2012 Social Innovation Award and was named among the top 1% of global social innovators by Echoing Green and named a Urban Innovation Fellow by the Aspen Institute. She has been featured on NPR, CNN and the New York Times. In 2013 Vanessa was appointed to serve on the Washington D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council where she advises the Mayor and District agencies on bicycling issues. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Culture from UCLA.

Christy Kwan, Programs & Outreach Director, Alliance for Biking & Walking

Picture of ChristyKwan

Christy Kwan is the Programs & Outreach Director with the Alliance for Biking & Walking and Advocacy Advance — the Alliance’s dynamic partnership with the League of American Bicyclists to maximize federal funding for biking and walking. In her role, Christy focuses on walking and forging connections with the public health and walking communities. Christy has past experience in working with diverse stakeholders to increase healthy food access in underserved communities and promoted sustainability and environmental conservation near military bases. She studied sociology and gender studies at the University of California San Diego, and earned her Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an avid walker and enjoys reading zoning permits on buildings while on her walk to work.

Mike Schatzki, MPA, CSP – The Recovering Couch Potato

Picture of Mike Schatzki

Mike Schatzki is a professional speaker and trainer. For the last 35 years he has been speaking to and motivating audiences throughout the United States and in 28 other countries around the world.

He has developed the “No Sweat Couch Potato Recovery Program” and placed it in the Creative Commons so that anyone can use it to motivate non-exercisers to get fit by walking.

He is a Certified Speaking Professional, an earned designation that has been achieved by only 13% of the 4,000 members of the National Speakers Association.

Mike received his B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from Haverford College, and his MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.

Misty Tripoli, Creator of THE GROOVE Method™ and the Founder of The World GROOVE Movement™

Picture of Misty Tripoli

Misty is a global force of inspiration and a self-proclaimed truth warrior.  She has been on the road inspiring and moving people for over 12 years. She has become one of the most sought after luminaries, speakers, instructors and body image truth talkers of our time. Her raw, realistic and common sense approach to health, wellness and consciousness along with her passion for dance and creativity has quickly spread across the globe. Her inspiring message and simple techniques help people jump outside of the box, gain new perspectives and move their bodies in ways they never thought possible. Misty is the founder of The World GROOVE Movement, a global dance force of creativity and authenticity that can be found in over 20 countries. Misty’s motto. If you can WALK, you can dance, it really is that simple.

Find more on Misty at www.MistyTripoli.com or www.TheWorldGrooveMovement.com

Matt Tomasulo, founder and chief civic instigator, Walk [Your City]

Picture of Matt tomasulo

Urban Designer, Matt Tomasulo, is the founder of Walk [Your City], a pedestrian-focused civic startup working to get more feet on the street through a unique blend of planning and technology. Matt has earned national and international recognition for his work in city planning, design and development. His work was included in the 13th Venice Biennale and he is a NextCity.org Vanguard, holding a dual masters degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in City & Regional Planning and NC State in Landscape Architecture. Matt lives and works in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.

KHADIJAH TRIBBLE, Co-founder, Community Wellness Collective

Picture of Khadijah

Khadijah is a co-founder of the Community Wellness Collective. The CWC is a low cost, community-based health and wellness program that aims to get people moving and learning about basic health promotion and disease prevention. The CWC is unique, as it improves access to affordable exercise and increases health literacy among Washington, DC residents. Health literacy is the ability to understand and use health information. Through our work, we improve health literacy through interactive educational sessions with renown physicians and health educators in the DC metro region. We believe health disparities require public health interventions that address both the internal community context (low social cohesion, neighborhood disorganization, and lack of leadership) as well as the external context (ineffective political, economic and social policies).


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