Meet TSG Associate Board Member, Michael Garson
By Alexis A
We are delighted to highlight one of The Simple Good’s Associate Board Members, Michael Garson. Michael helped launched TSG’s Associate Board last year and has been a passionate advocate for the mission of The Simple Good! Learn more about what connects him to the organization and how he’s making an impact:
Where are you from and what brought you to Chicago? I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio and then attended University of Wisconsin. My brother lived in Chicago during those years and I visited often and viewed it as a second home. I have lived here since I graduated and love Chicago, it has the benefits of a large city but also a sense of community.
What is your professional background? Since a young age I have been focused on entrepreneurship, starting several businesses throughout high school and college. In college, I ran a sports travel company focused on providing transportation and hospitality options for students for away sporting events. Following college, I worked in a variety of startups until landing in Digital Advertising at The Trade Desk. I have worked here for 4.5 years and love the company and industry.
How do you connect to the arts? I connect with the arts a lot as a spectator. I am always seeking out events that offer opportunities to watch others express themselves- music, art, events. My creative outlets are brainstorming ideas with friends and writing poetry. Recently I took a pottery class which was amazing so plan to do more of that this winter.
What has it meant to you to be a member of The Simple Good board? Since I first encountered the The Simple Good I was interested in ways to help spread the vision to other people in Chicago. The board has served as a way to meet new people, and throw events to introduce others to TSG and the children who the program benefits.
Why do you think art is important for youth in Chicago? I think The Simple Good is important for everyone in the world. Unfortunately, many of the kids who TSG works with have dealt with trauma more in their young lives than most people will encounter. This program gives them mental tools and techniques to deal with those traumas and offers them a way to still see the positivity. Based off of the results and surveys we have seen from the students, students before the program cannot express positivity in their day to day lives, by the end of the program they are able to express positivity through art, and demonstrate how they will become activists to spread the positivity to their communities. I think in order for sustainable change to take place in the communities positivity and youth ambassadors are crucial, and this program does a better job at teaching those skills to youth than any I have seen.
What impact have you seen being made by The Simple Good? I would recommend anyone who wants to learn what TSG means to attend a student showcase. We have our final one on December 5th at Google. The students who present their Simple Goods are truly special, and I have heard first hand from them the impact this program has made on their lives and how motivated they are to initiate change for the future.
What does “The Simple Good” mean to you? The Simple Good to me is being grateful for everything I have in my life. Not just the larger things I tend to think about (Family and Friends) but the smaller things- Enjoying a nice bike ride along lake shore while listening to my favorite album, or drinking a hot cup of coffee on a cold afternoon. I think that appreciating life is something that people have to actively work towards by being present, and for me it’s about appreciating the beauty of everyday life in the simplest ways.
Anything else you would like to add? I would encourage people who are looking to get involved to seek out different charities that align with their passion. From working with TSG I have realized that a little bit of help can go a long way. TSG is always looking for new board members to get involved, but if TSG isn’t for you, find an organization that aligns with what you find valuable in the world. Take the first step, volunteer. No act is too small to make a big difference.
You can also follow Michael Garson on social media:
o Instagram- @Mgarson12
Interested in supporting The Simple Good? Help us make an impact by donating here.