I create conditions that inspire, vitalize, and transform...

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...lives, groups, organizations, and systems.

Weekes In Advance Enterprises LLC is an organizational development firm offering facilitation, meeting design, change consulting, equity and inclusion, and collaborative skills capacity building services to the arts and entertainment, non-profit, and social innovation sectors. Social change architect Melinda Weekes-Laidlow is the Principal Consultant and President. She is also Founder/CEO of Beautiful Ventures, a creative social enterprise that influences popular culture, disrupts anti-blackness, and elevates perceptions of Black humanity. Previously, Melinda was the Managing Director at Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, Senior Consultant at the Interaction Institute for Social Change, and for 10 years, practiced law representing artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations in New York City. In 2015, leading social impact fund Echoing Green named Melinda its first-ever Social Entrepreneur in Residence. Keep Reading

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She is honored to render service to institutions that have shaped her greatly impacted her life -- as a member of the Advisory Board of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Co-Chair of the Black Alumni Council at Wesleyan University, the Board of Directors of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and the ministerial staff of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York. Melinda loves biking, good music, oceans and quality time with friends and family. A proud and native New Yorker, Melinda flows between the Big Apple and the Big Peach – Atlanta, GA – where she and her husband, actor Sekou Laidlow, feel blessed to make home and community. Melinda is a graduate of Wesleyan University, New York University School of Law, and Harvard Divinity School. One of her great loves is teaching.  Go Back

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FACILITATION

PROCESS  & Experince DESIGN

STRATEGIC DIRECTION SETTING & PLANNING

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER COLLABORATIONS & CONVENINGS

ANTI-RACISM

HIGH STAKES MEETING DESIGN

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE CHANGE & Capacity Building

SYSTEMS CHANGE

Training & Instruction

COLLABORATION SKILLS BUILDING

Weekes In Advance Enterprises (WIAE) is an organizational development firm offering facilitation, meeting design, change consulting, equity and inclusion, and collaborative skills capacity building services to the arts and entertainment, non-profit, and social innovation sectors. We would be delighted to speak with you for a free scoping conversation to explore how WIAE might support you in achieving your vision of success.  

Services

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Speaking & Public Comment

Moderation

writing

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Testimonials

Lisa Anderson, Vice President of Embodied Justice Leadership, Auburn Seminary 

Under the leadership of Melinda Weekes-Laidlow, the team from Weekes in Advance Enterprises are simply amazing. We recently had the pleasure of working with Melinda and company on MountainTop, our organizations' 3-day long, 140-person, national convening. Whether they were leading the process of process design with our core team, helping to translate the vision of the leadership into concrete sessions, securing the best graphic recorders to chronicle the work or holding space at the front of the room, everything was handled with the perfect combination of excellence, and generosity of spirit. The fact that our convening was a magnificent success was due in large part to Weekes in Advance Enterprises. Melinda leads with integrity, focus, humor, and purpose, and inspires the same in everyone around her. Forever grateful and I cannot wait for the next time!

Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director, Center for Action and Contemplation

In their facilitation, Melinda and Curtis showed a rare capacity to call forth dreams we all share for a more equitable world while also applying their deep professional experience and savvy to operationalize our aspirations within the context and complexities of our mission and workplace. This work of racial equity is hard, but their training, tools, and coaching set us up to be on a continuous journey of learning and application that is already having a transformative impact. Where I know I would have shrunk away or sped to an answer in the past, during difficult times (in our organization and societally)  I have found a new muscle to acknowledge and hold pain, allow for reactivity, and consider creative solutions. I am very clear this is the result of our work with the team from Weekes In Advance Enterprises. 

Maurine Knighton, Foundation Program Director

The Weekes in Advance Enterprises team hit the ground running, paying great attention to detail for the planning efforts for our learning exchanges.  They consistently received high marks from exchange participants.  All of this was grounded by a clear sense of their organizational values and commitment to social justice.

David Nee, former Executive Director, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund 

Melinda and Curtis played a lead role in designing and facilitating dialogues where people could talk about and explore sensitive issues without feeling a need to know the answers. As they often reminded us, “Sometimes the rush to a solution is a privileged move that avoids discussion of the real issues.” The conversations we fostered rippled into other arenas and brought the issues of systemic racism to more public spaces, including the annual Stone Soup Conference. As one state government leader said, “We need this work to continue. This is a conversation that we aren’t having [but need to have] in my agency.”

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Thank you for your interest in Weekes in Advance Enterprises. Please complete the form below for more information on our services or visit the  link above to schedule a consultation with Melinda.

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Settler colonialism and racism are the most difficult, intractable and pernicious problems we face as a nation, in communities, as institutions, and individually.  As a social justice consultant, trainer, capacity builder, and advocate for decades, I help groups learn together, design, practice, and operationalize anti-racist cultures that are resilient, relational and inclusive. This is hard work. Yet,  WIAE's specially curated teams delight in meeting you where you are and supporting you in the journey towards equity and liberation.  We fuse a multidisciplinary approach with both adaptive creativity and compassionate clarity to cultivate conditions for learning, practice, and transformation within your team, organization or network.

Anti-Racism Work

As a master facilitator, I can support your team, group, or convening of any size experience meetings where input is elicited, differences of opinions are welcomed, power dynamics accounted for, and the stated desired outcomes are achieved.

Facilitation

The secret to dynamic, engaging, and even transformative meetings, learning spaces, convenings, and events --- is the design work that happens before anyone enters the room.  I will work with your team, and infuse my considerable design expertise, to co-create an exceptional experience for your meeting guests.

Process an Experience Design

There are the everyday meetings --- and then there are meetings that just must go well.  One of the things I love the most is working with teams to co-design just the right blend of process + content + secret sauce to produce gatherings that meet and exceed expectations.

High Stakes Meeting Design

I support groups with process guidance, coaching and facilitation to identify what will  -- if they devote their resources and their attention to over a period of time  --- enable them to make the most impact in ways that resonate with and animate their stated Values, Mission and Vision. 

Strategic Direction Setting & Planning

As the African proverb says:  "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together".  WIAE consultant teams are experts on the practices for how teams, organizations, and networks can share the load, foster trusting relationships, and deepen collective impact.  Our interactive workshops and modeling practices are designed to bolster and ignite the collaborative capacity of your team or collective.


Collaboration Skill-Building

I love designing, training, and leading adult learning experiences.  I have been certified as a master trainer by the Interaction Institute for Social Change.  I have also taught undergraduates and graduate students on topics such as: design thinking, racial equity, entertainment law, contracts, and collaborative leadership. 



Training and Instruction

When you have a large group of diverse perspectives, opinions, and interests to attend to, and you want your planning work to attract the voices, areas of expertise and approvals needed -- our expertise in complex planning and meeting design is just what is needed to support your success. 



Multi-stakeholder Collaborations & Convenings

We are living in a time when our ways of working and expectations from the workplace are different and changing. Our systems thinking and relational culture-building approach to organizational change can build your team's capacity to thrive in this time of rapid change, disruption, and opportunity.



Organizational Culture Change & Capacity Building

Institutions and structures tend to operate the way they were designed to operate. To change them -- we must bolster our skillfulness in thinking systemically, and then to acting strategically.  Our training, facilitation, and  coaching services help you to lead, thrive and flourish in today's complex and ever-changing context.




Systems Change

I would be delighted to serve as your keynote speaker, commentator, or preacher for your upcoming event. Topics of special interest include collaborative leadership, narrative change, disrupting antiblackness contemplative spirituality, liberation theologies and racial justice.




Speaking and Public Comment

I am a seasoned conversation curator, with a special love for moderating interactive and dynamic panels, film and theater talkbacks, and interviews.

Moderation

I have authored articles, blog posts, and a few poems. I would love to write a relevant piece for your magazine, blog, or publication.

Writing