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Amy Sample Ward 8 February 2008

Amy Sample Ward

Lover, blogger, activist, biker, dreamer, worrier, lover

Amy Sample Ward’s personal mission is: dedicated to supporting and educating nonprofits and the progressive social change sector through evolving technologies that cultivate and engage communities.  It provides a good picture of what she thinks about and works towards, including her hope to make a difference every day.  Her education from Valparaiso University was in English and New Media Journalism officially; though, unofficially it was in extreme cold weather survival and political debate (for those who don’t know, Valpo is in Indiana, at the bottom of Lake Michigan).

Her work history has been fairly varied, including teen outreach and advocacy training for a domestic abuse organization, information and technology work for the Chalkboard Project, and web design/consulting (both while living in the US and Madrid).  She is currently the Communications & Learning Associate at Meyer Memorial Trust – a job that offers her a great opportunity to work on new media projects and education both internally and with the greater nonprofit community.

She is a nptech blogger and Portland-based Twitterer (amyrsward) who enjoys volunteering and sharing the knowledge she comes across with any and all of those who will listen.  Her volunteering has included groups like the Bus Project, Global Women’s Leaderhips Network, Cascade Climate Network, and various political campaigns. Amy has also been part of blogger outreach campaigns and is excited to be part of an international youth media collaboration called Fired Up Media.  

Life beyond the internet includes a wonderfully loving and compassionate husband, an adorable puppy, and a great group of close friends and family.

What are you up to?

I love the community in Portland (and beyond) around nonprofit technology and am constantly invigorated by the enthusiasm of people I meet in it.  I have had the opportunity to help start the 501 Tech Club series in cooperation with NTEN for the Portland area that serves as a monthly event where those in the nonprofit industry can network and learn about technology tools that could help them do their work even better.  I have also helped start the Portland Net Tuesdays events, from NetSquared, also for the nonprofit technology sector but locally geared towards open source, peer-peer learning and community building.  

Outside nptech, I really get behind the work of the Bus Project and Cascade Climate Network.  Those I work with and whose work I follow in the climate change community, especially the youth activists, inspire me every day.  This is where Jesse Jenkins (http://watthead.blogspot.com), currently at Renewable Northwest Project & CCN, gets a huge shout out!  The time for change is now, and these people just drip with the passion to make that change real.

What are you into?

I am into lots of things outside of “work.”  I am pretty into my partner-in-all-things, Max, and his art, whether it is design, watercolor, or sketches.  He is also funny and nice and I enjoy him in general.

I am also into doing small things every day that could add up to a better life and a better world, like biking (a lot, especially with Max, Rachel, and Zach!), choosing a vegan diet of local, organic produce, and smiling at strangers.  I really love game nights with friends, especially some good competition of 25 Words or Less, Pictionary, or Cribbage.  If I’m not or cannot be on a bike ride (non-commute ride, that is) then a hike or long walk with the pup is pretty predictable.  Spare time is usually reserved for visiting with family (I grew up in Forest Grove, w00t!), or drinking Portland coffee with friends.  

Living abroad solidified my love of traveling and now it seems like a must as often as possible (with respect to having “young-professionals” wages!).  I’m pretty into traveling with Max, not necessarily exclusively, but at minimum, so the possibility still stands for you to come along on an adventure.

What do you like most about Portland?

This is always hard to answer and seems to get asked a lot.  Aren’t we ALL in love with this place?  Okay, so why are we all constantly asking, “why?”  

Hmm…there’s the bikability, the walkability, the dogability and the community feel.  I love that I have so many options for restaurants where I can actually eat (in addition to being vegan, I also have Celiac Disease, so no grains for me!).  I like that we have movie theatres where we get in cheap and Max can have a beer.  I like that I can recognize fellow commuters on the way to work and still see new people every day.

What do you plan on doing with your life?

Ha!  Who actually has a plan?  Plans are meant to be changed, right?  I just hope to make a positive difference.  Whether that is in nonprofit work, advocacy, social change, technology, or politics.  Whether it is in a child’s life, an adult’s life, or a stranger’s life.  I really just want to make change, as often and as influential as possible, for the better, every day.

So, what DO you eat?

My friends have come to the conclusion that I eat shadows.  This is untrue.  Just because I am a vegan Celiac does NOT mean that I have only grapes left to my disposal (not to say that grapes are equivalent with shadows!).  I have become a pretty okay baker of breads and desserts and we make A LOT of Asian and Indian food.  Owijamia is a great store for finding gluten free products and we visit the fresh produce market at least once a week.  I have toyed with the idea of writing a 101 guide to surviving a Celiac Disease diagnosis but have yet to do so.  (Watch for it on Powell’s shelves near you!)  Most people, at least in Portland, “get” what is restricted by being vegan, but it is much harder for people to wrap their minds around avoiding all grains and their byproducts.  It is a challenge, but I’m an overachiever.

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