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Maya Ford

HI, NICE TO MEET YOU!

I'm Maya Ford, a communications pioneer who's crazy about culture, science, and innovation. I'm a first generation American of Panamanian decent. I'm a bossy mom of 3 adult children (#BlackDon'tCrack | #BrownDon'tFrown). My Afro-Latinx development is something I cherish because it has given me first hand experience to so many perspectives that don't always connect in the United States. I see myself as a bridge to connect us in an authentic and inspirational way.

My profession has been nurtured in marketing and communications for more than 20 years. My passion and obsession is in the complexity of communications science. I enjoy learning about the way organisms organize to survive and thrive in all situations. As we move into part two of the 21st century, I'm ready to get up and out to pollinate information about how we'll be more dynamic, inclusive, and innovative in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Explore this area to learn more about my methodology and join me. I promise you'll never be bored, and you'll be inspired to keep it movin'...

clear expectations

The Standards of LOVE (#STOLO) are my guiding principles for life.

I've always known that I'd be a servant leader. I didn't know how, but I've known that somehow I was intended to help people in any way I could. I've also never been worried about scale, so one person matters just as much as 1 million to me.

The Standards of LOVE are like a checklist of how I care for myself and others. They counter balance each other in every way and challenge me to see myself as an important part of other people's lives. I use these standards to help me set boundaries to navigate life. They breathe and change as I do at various milestones.

Even the name suggests counter-balance, right? Standards are implied or normalized socio-cultural boundaries, but is healthy love supposed to have boundaries? I have my own answer to this based on what makes me feel loved, cared for, and safe.

deeply rooted

We are spiritual beings caught in a tangible world.

My core values were planted by my mom (aka Yaya), Dr. Inge Ford. I was never taught to disconnect myself from my divinity. My Yaya's consistent lessons in science, spirituality, divinity, human health, and universal law have allowed me to master the fundamentals of surviving in the natural world.

I understand the Universe is a living organism and I'm a microscopic, but important, part of it. As such, I maintain my deep roots through daily practice of my values. My ability to improve in new growth mirrors my strength in my values.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE?

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE YOUR VALUES?

hey, I've got a question.

What makes you want to buzz at a higher frequency?

sweet results

It's important that I drink my own Koolaid. I only teach what I know and support others to do the same. I never feel the need to speak for other people because I'm intentional about creating safe, healthy, and fair platforms for them to speak for themselves.
I use my talents to elevate the positives in what folks are doing. These are just a few of my favorite projects.

SHARING IS CARING

My life animal is a bee. I get up and out to explore the world around me. My curiosity allows me to pollinate information that is essential to my ecosystem.

I've got a lot of energy. A LOT. I use it to systematically observe, collect, and disseminate information using both intuition and precise calculation anywhere.

In my early 20s I learned I had a natural ability to categorize large amounts of information very quickly. I'm also a global kid who was raised in a multi-lingual home with positive influences from many cultures different than mine. My skills were strengthened in the professional world as I began my career in technical communications in the telecommunications industry. These three things: literacy, diversity of perspective, and science are the tools I use for daily success.

I began a 20+ year obsession with data science in an effort to better understand myself relative to the world around me. This curiosity energizes me! For every answer I find there are 10 more questions, and I set out to find folks who can articulate their perspectives. Sharing the stories of how I find myself on someone's doorstep is always serendipitous. The path is an integrated one balanced between cultural nuance, empirical data, and creative methods to inspire query.

The FM! process is 2-pronged (#STOLO + combined process) to make sure we drive narratives that are inclusive, authentic, and results driven.

conscious creativity

My sentiments battle between wanting to be a mad scientist and a creative doodad maker. I flow through these feelings to produce work that helps folks feel inspired to chat it up. As I learn more about micro and macro economics I'm challenged to find better ways to live without harming others. I'm currently a student at MIT studying data, economics + development policy (DEDP). We're seeking to end global poverty. I spend considerable time in study, meditation, query, and practice to design communications infrastructure that flows with our human resources, not against them.

Take a look at five examples of short and long term communications initiatives I've buzzed around the globe with since 2017.

Just asking:

After you have an idea, what is the first thing do you do with it?

LITERACY

Adults tend to focus on perfection, but kids don't. I make reading dolls for my friends and community members who have young children so they can practice reading out loud without concern of being corrected. They cost me less than $5 to make, are intended to have personality, but no facial expression.

This is one of my favorites because I read like this in my bed every day and I have a dress that matches (I made this from leftover fabric).

please, tell me...

What's the best way for you to tap into your creativity?

VALUES

I have the privilege of only working on projects that align with my personal values. The OST/South Union Health Improvement Partnership (OHIP) hired me to develop their communications strategy and external platforms. This project intersects with my work as the Chair of the Houston Bike Plan and also allows me to purchase local healthy foods at an affordable cost. It's a perfect example of #STOLO in action because I'm able to live my values by being an active part of improving literacy (communications), self-esteem (bike infrastructure for health and equity), economic power (local purchases), and justice (increasing cultural currency).

I buzz around the neighborhood to get interviews, engage with community members, and enjoy local customs. Then, I make sure the stories about what's working are told in a culturally inclusive and authentic way.

how do you do?

Are you someone who likes to work alone, or do you prefer to work in collaboration with others?

SELF ESTEEM

Physical wellness is a big part of our ability to survive and thrive. I am someone who's naturally on the move, but I feel amazing when I get to do it using mass or public transit. Bicycling is a healthy way for me to get to and fro, and it's also a ton of fun because I always see something different and meet someone new. Communities of color often have a high amount of bicycle users with limited protections for safety, comfort, or enjoyable views.

2017's hurricane Harvey made a mess of folks who were already having a hard time. Many families in my community lost cars due to flooding or loss of work; myself included. We banded together to innovate how we rebuild our lives and have included cycling as a foundational part of our transportation mix. My work in bicycle infrastructure is about giving my community a visionary framework to build upon for equity, safety, innovation, and fun. Being able to get ahead of the curve as a pioneer for my community makes me feel whole.

I love bikes! I challenged myself to ride the Houston Bike Share bikes all summer long (2018). It's a big deal in Houston's heat, but it was a fantastic way to let my community know that we're getting 11 stations this year! #ThirdWardTX is ready to keep it movin'...

do you love it?

What's the simplest thing about yourself that makes you happy?

ECONOMIC POWER

I'm a girl's girl and I enjoy colorful and fun expressions of my persona through textiles. Fast fashion is one of the biggest perpetrators of slave labor. I want to look and feel great, but not on the backs of other people's suffering. This is a heavy challenge for myself because I don't have unlimited funds for couture clothing, and I'm not wholly familiar with the nuances of the industry. Still, I don't want to participate in knowingly harming other people.

I choose to travel where there are large groups of indigenous people. My solution to my fast fashion issue is to purchase textiles from indigenous people and make an outfit that represents my experience with them. I only know how to make 2 designs, but it's a fun way to have a memento, support local indigenous peoples, and have a little something to express myself. When I wear the designs it's also an easy segue to issues like immigration, women's rights, fair trade, and cultural differences.

Purposefully, I never wear the textiles the way the indigenous do. I seek to show appreciation for the culture and not mimic or appropriate their intent and use. So, the same pattern for each print helps (me) authenticate that I'm really just trying to be a walking snapshot of something someone could visit.

I'm a very proud Panamanian princess and I rep the Kuna Yala tribe as much as possible. Also, there are the Embera and Ngobe tribes in Panama. I wear their textiles, too. The lower right is a stunning print from the Maya tribe in Guatemala.

you can do that?!

If you had to survive off of one thing that only you could create, what would it be?

JUSTICE

I was born in Houston, Texas in a historically Black neighborhood. My community is special because we have 3 different socio-economic classes living within a 3 mile radius. To me, this is an authentic representation of Black America. We are wealthy, poor, educated, struggling, innovative, happy, communal and healing from more than 400 years of trauma.

The Trump administration imposed an inhumane rule to separate children ages birth - 17 years old from their parents if they were thought to enter the U.S. illegally. These children have been placed in youth detention centers throughout the nation. A private detention company is attempting to place a center at the intersection of a historically Black and Hispanic community on a street named Emancipation Avenue.

I am a product of this community, a mother, an American citizen, a child of an immigrant, and a representation of the human beings that have been inhumanely treated. I do not usually speak on behalf of others, but encourage them to speak for themselves. This atrocity is so heinous because children cannot speak for themselves, and their parents are not here to speak for them.

I used my voice to inspire my community to stand for justice as many have before me.

I practiced peaceful civil disobedience on August 22, 2018 at the location of a planned child immigrant detention center operated by Southwest Key. I am African American and Panamanian. My father immigrated to the United States from Panama in the 60s. When he moved here, he had no rights but still served in the military.

what's your calling?

What beautifully courageous thing would you do if you knew you could not be destroyed?

go! Let's keep it movin'...

Created By
Maya Ford
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by skeeze - "rangoli colors indian" • Joshua_Willson - "plasma globe long exposure energy light science" • Ron Whitaker - "Blue Thistle" • Trust "Tru" Katsande - "The Bicycle" • kesie91 - "textile color colorful fabric texture rainbow color" • congerdesign - "germ seedling oak developing germ root system"

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