We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenny Dorsey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenny, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I often feel that the impact I make is so miniscule, so insignificant, why bother? This worry haunts me in my sleep and forms the backbone of the imposter syndrome I feel often. When I am deep in this mindset, I try to take a deep breath, spend 5 minutes with my meditation app (I use Calm), and reevaluate why I started my nonprofit in the first place. Studio ATAO was literally created on the idea that if we want real, lasting, social change it has to happen one conversation, one relationship, one person at a time. Changing hearts and minds is not something that can be done en masse (at least not effectively), and it begins with genuine intimacy with the people you hope to have an impact on, and build change with. This helps remind me that even if I cannot reach millions of people, the one thoughtful email we receive each week, or the engaged discussions we witness via our Zoom session, even the long comment threads we are seeing on social media means that we are consistently moving towards our goal. This is a slow, arduous, never-ending process – which is why it’s so important for all of us to find JOY, gratitude, and celebrate the small wins when we are working at it. Every small action we take, every exchange we have, every word we write, read, share – they all matter. We as individuals matter, and change happens with us! It sounds cheesy (and sometimes, it feels too cheesy for me and I feel compelled to roll my eyes at myself) but it’s true. So just trying to really reaffirm the realness of this statement helps me keep going.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Studio ATAO is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community think tank that creates content and experiences at the intersection of food, art, and social impact. Our mission is to inspire socially conscious individuals toward action through empathetic, vulnerable conversations and community-building. We believe that social change happens one relationship at a time. Through participatory programming rooted in social justice principles, we synthesize community insights into resources that empower individuals to lead change in their own circles of influence. Our ultimate goal is to make social impact work relevant and accessible to everyone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I just moved to LA in the last year, so I haven’t found too much compared to those who have been in LA much longer, but I do have a little spreadsheet I’ve been maintaining here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PG8KVRo3aRpVaXxXm2bk-mSoZWKegnn-EtEp3rL6Kcw/edit?usp=sharing
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout my team who have been working so hard to bring all of our programming and content to life! Edric, our head of programming; Emily, our head of content; Claire, our head of community; and Karen, our director of operations!
Website: www.jennydorsey.co and www.studioatao.org
Instagram: /chefjennydorsey and /studioatao
Linkedin: /chefjennydorsey and /studioatao
Twitter: /chefjennydorsey and /studioatao
Facebook: /chefjennydorsey and /studioatao
Stacey Salter Moore, Briana Balducci, Ian Farrell