< Back

What’s Your Role In Social Change?


Hello and thank you for being part of the UNderdogstuff® collective.  



A successful music group has lots of parts, right!? There’s often a lead singer or two, someone on keys, a guitar player, and don’t forget the drummer. Plus, there are a few songwriters, producers, and audio engineers. A well-functioning music group also has a manager, and lawyer (gotta avoid those Bad Boy deals!). I’m sure there’s more, but music groups aren't really my sweet spot of expertise. However, let's get back to the point, let me get back in my lane.

Things would get out of whack quickly if the team members above started swerving in and out of everyone’s lane. It’s not going to go well if the manager attempts to sing, the lawyer attempts to write songs, and the drummer tries to figure out the contracts. That just ain’t gonna work. The truth is we know this and yet we still can find ourselves tempted to be trying to do everything or at least trying to do more than the role or roles we do best.

There’s a pandemic going on right now. I know, I know, you almost forget since the fight for Black lives to matter is back in the front row right now. Note to The Universe, please please please don’t ever schedule a pandemic and rebellion for black civil rights at the same damn time ever again. It’s too much.

Black folks are tired yet resilient. And non-black folks are… Well, that’s a whole other blog post. I don’t have the energy for that part right now. Something I have noticed most of us, black and non-black, have in common right now is figuring out our role in the rebellion for black lives to matter.

I saw an IG post () this morning with the title, “Mapping Our Roles In A Social Change Ecosystem.” Shout out to @BuildingMovementProject, @DeepaVIyer, @TerisaSiagatonu, and @Allyg.NYC on IG for posting this information and inspiration. Some of the social change roles include Weavers, Experimenters, Frontline Responders, Visionaries, Builders, Caregivers, Disruptors, Healers, Storytellers, and Guides. It got me thinking about your role and my role in social change.


Find your social change roles, but don’t do them all. Good things often come in threes. Take a moment to reflect on which one, two, or three roles fit you best and that you could take on in order to support the collective. Which are the roles that allow you to check the trifecta of your interest, your talent, and add value to people?


I know we want people in our lives pushing for Black lives to matter. And at the same time, we should be careful not to confuse moments of someone’s tactical inaction with someone just staying in their lane. Disrupters might sit out a specific moment that calls for Healers. And there will be times Healers get out of the way because the moment calls for the Disruptors. The drummer is still part of the music group even if they aren’t working on the contracts at a specific moment in time.


It is my belief that no role is better or worse than the other. The protestors, policymakers, community organizers, social impact entrepreneurs, teachers, community organizers, parents, poets, social media influencers, and all the roles out here play a significant part in change. And I believe big change requires all the roles to be filled. Let’s help each other find our lanes.


One of the foundations of a good team is everyone knowing their role and those roles being valued as we go out and: plan, strategize, and organize for change. I think my roles are Builder, Experimenter, and Storyteller. Let me know if you would have picked a different three for me and I’ll let you know the ones I think of when I think of you. We have a band to build together, ASAP! What will be your roles in the rebellion for Black lives to matter and social change?

Let’s stay in our lanes, let’s stay in the fight for social change, and let’s stay active together!



Written by Gregory Nesmith, CPC, ELI-MP, Founder of UNderdogstuff, Philly native, Community Relations Director & Entrepreneurship Mentor at Bridges To Wealth, and recent Wharton School alum.

UNderdogstuff is a social impact and Philly urban tech venture exploring how Savers become first-time Investors and Entrepreneurs in our communities. Additionally, UNderdogstuff was recently accepted into the Penn Venture Lab VIP-C Incubator for startups.

to our Newsletter