The Collective

We strive for lasting change through collective impact.

Radical Optimist Collective (ROC) was co-created in 2018 by a diverse team of facilitators and healing practitioners with a wide variety of expertise. Our collective began as an offering to guide and support individuals and groups in racial awareness and racial healing work as prompted by experiences at the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.

While our origin story is grounded by our work in Montgomery, these same processes transcended into deeper consultative, training, coaching, and facilitation work with organizations and companies. Our practitioners have a collective 100+ years’ experience in racial equity and inclusion work with more than a dozen industries representing more than 50 organizations and companies. We have led organizations and initiatives, managed people and teams, and raised and granted millions of dollars in social change efforts.

ROC operates as a collective because we believe in drawing on the experiences and strengths from a broad array of people with different lived experiences. What makes us unique is that the members of our collective do a variety of different things and have a myriad of gifts. From social workers and therapists, university professors and philanthropic consultants, and energy workers and trauma-informed healers. When we come together for our work, it is as a collective that leverages our individual strengths and capacities and does not require our connection to operate in a typical, hierarchical way. This way of being is also how we operate differently from white dominant norms and culture.

Shakita Brooks Jones

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

Shakita Brooks Jones is an adjunct professor within Auburn University’s social work program. She seeks solutions to the root causes of poverty and the plight of the working poor, and she works to remove historical socioeconomic barriers that have disproportionately impacted Alabama’s working poor in rural areas. A truth teller who brings ease and comfort, Shakita serves as a lead facilitator, 1:1 coach, and co-creator of design and strategy with our partners and internal team.

Lisa Flick Wilson

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

Lisa Flick Wilson loves to inject optimism into problem-solving and make tables larger to include more voices. She does not shy away from putting race at the center of conversations, understands her place as a white woman in racial equity, and welcomes being in the struggle of interrupting racism. Lisa embodies the core of our collective and serves as lead on engagements, design, strategy, and partnerships, while also working as a 1:1 coach and lead facilitator.

Vanessa Jackson

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

Vanessa Jackson is a licensed clinical social worker, Soul Doula, and owner of Healing Circles, Inc., an Atlanta-based healing practice. She is a nationally recognized speaker on mental health issues, with a focus on culturally conscious therapy and therapy with marginalized populations. Vanessa’s passion is supporting activists in creating healthy and balanced lives. A compass on a winding path, Vanessa serves as a lead facilitator, 1:1 coach, strategy and design expert with Radical Optimist.

Kenya Jackson-Saulters

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

Kenya Jackson-Saulters has spent over a decade advocating for personal discovery through writing, spirituality, and mental health, and works to help women pursue their passions in healthy sustainable ways. She created The Outdoor Journal Tour, a custom personal development experience for women that blends the health benefits of exercise, meditation, and writing. At Radical Optimist, Kenya serves as 1:1 coach, facilitator, and lead expert in creating meaningful space for our partners and team.

Staci Walker

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

Staci Lynch is a leader with proven results in communications, relationship development, program design and implementation, and coaching. A German Marshall Memorial Fellow (2009), Staci truly sees the world through a global lens and is passionate about promoting racial equity and diversity. She has spent the last decade and a half working to elevate the quality of education accessible to all children. With Radical Optimist, Staci serves as a 1:1 Coach, facilitator, and strategy and design expert.

Corey Dobyns

Strategy & Facilitation Consultant

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Our Partners

We achieve our goals through shared work and shared experiences.

Every aspect of Radical Optimist Collective is collaborative, from the work we do with individuals and groups or organizations, to the engagements we have with other thought leaders working toward similar goals.

The work of Radical Optimist would not be possible without the generous support of organizations, individuals, authors, leaders and all who share our desire for collective progress through inquiry and advocacy.

Dudley’s Apothecary

Aromatherapy blends inspired by Vanessa Jackson's great-great grandparents, formerly enslaved African American herbalists, honor their legacy by passing down their wisdom through this line of healing sprays.

Outdoor Journal Tour

A program guiding participants through scenic landscapes and hiking trails, combining physical activity, journaling, and meditation for a personalized, empowering journey of self-discovery and healing.

Michelle Browder

An American artist and visionary known for her activism, historical tours, and sculptures – notably, The Mothers of Gynecology Monument in Montgomery, Alabama.

Seeing Whiteness

A learning circle experience dedicated to helping white people notice and challenge the ways white people are socialized to protect whiteness and hold racism in place.

Mindful Moment

Let's Talk

Every relationship starts with a conversation.

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