A conversation with Micah Morris is energizing. She says one of the best lessons she has learned in life is that “Everyone can get together and make a difference – you don’t have to be an elected official.”
And that’s actually what Micah has been doing: making a difference.
She says at Emory & Henry she learned the value of social capital. “Everyone has the right AND the responsibility to make our communities better. You don’t have to be mayor; everyone can do this.” Her career started at the Bristol Crisis Center, where she quickly began to see that progress was dependent upon finding civic leaders and elected representatives who share your values for the community. So she reluctantly dipped her toe into the waters of politics by joining a phone bank for Creigh Deeds. She may not have imagined where this casual volunteer work would lead – but she has recently been part of Terry McAulliffe’s campaign for governor of Virginia and was instrumental in Kamala Harris’s campaign for U.S. Senator from California.
These days she’s an account executive for NPG VAN; a company that provides software for persons running for office. It basically organizes a donor base of Democratic constituents and assists with targeting information, organizing contacts, and successfully raising money.
Micah’s success as a sales executive, however, is anchored in a belief of a stronger world through good leadership. “When it comes to politics, so much is about how we see the world. I learned early on that it doesn’t work to try to tell people their point of view is wrong – or that other people needed to convert to my way of thinking. The best way to move forward is to talk about the kind of world we all wish to live in. Once we start talking about values, we’ll find common ground.”
Interestingly, one of Micah’s first glimpses of the power of a strong community came through the campus health center at Emory & Henry. “When I was growing up in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, my family didn’t have consistent access to health care – and we used to joke, ‘Don’t get sick this month!’ At Emory & Henry I had the opportunity for preventative health care and that was a new experience. Once I saw that I could take control of my health, I understood that I could control other parts of my life, as well.” This became part of her motivation for helping get leaders elected who could shepherd good legislation and block laws that didn’t promote a strong community.
Micah was a first generation college student and says her family was thrilled to see her get a college education, but because it was all so new they “had no imagination for where I could go and what I could do.” And Micah has taken her opportunity for an education and created opportunities for others through stronger communities. It has kept her moving around to places like Washington DC, Alabama and California. But after so much traveling, she says she’s “ready to get rooted. After an election is over, we leave town; I’m ready to be in one place for awhile, build relationships, and strengthen my own community.”
Wherever Micah decides to put down roots, she is not likely to bloom into a wall flower. She likes to tell people that if they’re not happy with how things are in government to get busy. “I find that the hardest thing to fight is apathy. If you’re unhappy with things, don’t mourn: organize!”
Sigma Upsilon Nu
“When I was growing up in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, my family didn’t have consistent access to health care – and we used to joke, ‘Don’t get sick this month!’ At Emory & Henry I had the opportunity for preventative health care and that was a new experience. Once I saw that I could take control of my health, I understood that I could control other parts of my life, as well.”
— Micah Morris E&H ’09