Strat Labs, Empower the People, and the 2019 Citizen’s Debate

The best part of Strat Labs is having the opportunity to work with organizations that impact communities. We get to dive deep into the complexities of dynamic groups of people to gain insights and the steps necessary to make their voice, mission, and vision solidified with results from their community or audience.

Empower the People is a nonpartisan, student-led movement with a mission to increase youth awareness and engagement in our government and society. They are currently based in Florida, working with over 20 high schools to inspire and motivate youth to understand the importance of their vote and voice on socio-political issues both nationally and internationally.

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We worked with Empower the People to strategize, promote, and launch an event, the 2019 Citizen’s Debate, to discuss and work towards solutions around Criminal Justice Reform. The event was a huge success, partnering with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and featuring four speakers with foundational experience and impact in criminal justice reform.


Roy Waterman is the Criminal Justice Project Manager for the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. He focuses on mobilizing local and national communities against “the modern day Civil Rights violations we call Mass Incarceration” (Jewish Council for Public Affairs). He previously founded a non-profit that employed, trained, and empowered New York City young people formerly incarcerated. Waterman’s nonprofit, Drive Change, is a mobile food initiative that helps direct previously gained skills into a positive for of entrepreneurship. Overall, he is motivated by his hopes of equal justice for all by rebuilding individuals and communities for positive change.


Ashley Ratliff is a juvenile defense attorney based in Denver, Colorado. She has an innate passion and desire to defend and work with at-risk youth and adults initially incarcerated in the juvenile court systems. Ashley Ratliff’s expertise has been shaped over a lifelong passion and devotion that is seen in her personal, educational, and professional experience.


Other speakers included community activist and former Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard and Paula Smith the Assistant Director to the Sheriff's Office of Broward County.


The event had over 50 attendees and the support of an incredibly powerful and inspiring group of leaders. We look forward to working with Empower the People to help heighten the voice of youth in this country.

All images provided by Empower the People. To learn more about Empower the People and their mission to increase youth political engagement, visit:

For more information on how Strat Labs’ team could support your mission, please contact us at

Kendra Smith
Can You Guess the Number of #SB53 Charitable Events?

Super Bowl LIII is today! Whether your catching #SB53 updates in between a few ski runs or no where else but the tv when the game is playing; did you know how many charitable events are affiliated with #SB53 Atlanta?

  1. LIII Recycling Rally teamed up with the National Football League, Verizon and the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee.

  2. Super-Bowl-A-Thon’ Rolling for (Autism) and Epilepsy; teamed up with Roddy White, De Shaun Foster, Mike Boley, and Keary Colbert.

  3. 1st & Goal Comedy Bowl at the College Football Hall of Fame. Rashad Jennings Foundation teaming up with the All-Pro Comedy Show.

  4. Taste of NFL Party with a Purpose event. All ticket proceeds will be donated to 32 NFL cities food banks provided by Party with a Purpose and Kick Hunger Challenge.

  5. The renovation of John F. Kennedy Park located in Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhood. Restoration provided by the Super Bowl Host grant providing $2.4 million dollars and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

  6. 48in48 Event that built more than 700 sports-related nonprofit websites, impact exceeding $19 million in 48 hours hackathon. This Hackathon was made possible by Delta and the event took place in Atlanta, Indiana, Boston, Ne York, North Carolina and London.

  7. Infants, children and teens at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston and Scottish Rite hospitals received hundreds of baskets filled with toys, games, and crafts. All of these gifts were given by the members of the Dunwoody’s first Baptist Church of Atlanta and Basket of Hope.

  8. Girls INC. partnering with CBS Corporation through a 20 sec airtime commercial spot during #SB53. This airtime is roughly a $3.36 million slot. As many of us saw, the New York Giants football team along with the Macaroons team created a commercial that promotes girls empowerment.

  9. And our favorite; The Big Game Give Event put on by the @givingbackfund, hosted by @ludacris and featuring @blackeyedpeas.

Did we miss one? Please share!


(2019). Retrieved from

Big Game Big Give | The Giving Back Fund. (2019). Retrieved from

King, A. (2019). Super Service for the Super Bowl: Website Building Charity Event Calls for Non-Profits, Participants - Hypepotamus. Retrieved from

NFL Foundation, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation & Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee Contribute $2.4 Million for Renovation of John F. Kennedy Park in Atlanta’s Westside | Super Bowl LIII. (2019). Retrieved from

Pearl, D., & Pearl, D. (2019). Girls Inc. Is Running a PSA About Empowerment During the Super Bowl. Retrieved from

Super Bowl: Events in Atlanta related to the big game. (2019). Retrieved from

Zoo Atlanta - Conservation in Action. (2019). Retrieved from

I am woman. Hear me roar.

I started a post last night on Facebook and Twitter in a moment of both anger and inspiration. 

I was disheartened by all the stories about sexual violence against women, followed by the collective discrediting of women by Congress.

Yet at the same time, I was energized by my day and how incredibly empowering it was to be collaborating with all these women who are doing  incredible and diverse work. Simply put, I am overwhelmed with the number of women I know that are changing this world.

I contemplated how honest and real the conversations are with my women colleagues. There is no posturing. No nonsense. I don’t have to pretend to get off because of “another call”.  I can just bluntly tell them “I just arrived to pick-up my kids! I will take look at the document after bedtime tonight.”  I can tell them how tired I am because my five year old insist on snuggling with me in the middle of the night. I can share about my frustrations with parenting. And yet, we can also talk about the project and manage to get an eight hour day of work into an hour meeting. 

I agree with my sister in law, who wrote about the different badasses. Badass does come in a variety of forms. Inside and outside of the home, quiet and loud, social media expert, and those that don’t even have an Instagram account. Or those that spend their adult life caring for their adult parents and those that travel far for adventure and work. 

I know I come from white privilege. I recognize it, acknowledge it, and respect it. I recognize that most of my world is also privileged. With that, I recognize that race, poverty, and lack of education have an impact of on this cycle of success for many women.  

But if you are a woman and you are raising kids, working, volunteering, educating, participating, donating, supporting, learning, creating, leading, selling, dancing, writing, painting, fundraising, planning, running, training, or anything else that gives YOU purpose and meaning—then you are changing this global conversation about women.

I can’t claim to be a “pure” feminist. I like dirty and inappropriate jokes. I loved to be cared for by my husband. I don’t mind when I am praised for external factors. And until recently, I didn’t see myself as different than a man. 

But that has changed for me this year. I am different. I am a woman and I am proud to be part of a community of women, who support each other, our endeavors, successes, and failures. 

So with that…keep the tags on social media coming and don’t be shy. Tell us why these women rock because we all want to know more incredible women. 

#Iamwoman #thefuturesifemale @thestratlabs

Elizabeth NeufeldComment
Working with the Parkland Students

It’s hard to do your own work-related social media. And although, all my clients are compelling and exciting (#chooseyourwork), one of my newer clients really got to me this week and I think worthy of kicking off a long overdue Strat Labs social debut.

About two years ago, while at ROMP, I started getting pulled into projects that were outside of the nonprofit world, but somehow related. In my “free time”, I began consulting with clients interested in taking a more strategic approach to their programs, products, and client development.

This took the form of a five step process that I had been developing which strategically audits, measures, evaluates, designs, and engages “audiences” to create internal change, tell a more compelling story, and ultimately sell more products, reach more customers, and raise more capital.

Enter: @thestratlabs.

During the developing and prototyping of this model, I have had the fortune and opportunity to meet, work for, and consult with some very talented and incredibly smart individuals, including those working at conscious brands, philanthropic foundations, school districts, municipalities, nonprofits, hospitals, and medical related industries.

In April, a colleague, mentor, and friend of mine (hi, Robert Wolfe), who like me, hides on social media and does a terrible job promoting all of his inspiring work, called to ask if I would speak with a group of students from Parkland, Florida, who were re-organizing after the march and needed some guidance.

Of course.

After our first with students from Parkland, I hung up and immediately called Robert. While I paced around my backyard, too excited to sit down, Robert and I spoke about how those students were some of the smartest people we had ever spoken to—smarter then any CEO, CMO, ED, CTO, MD, or whatever other title either of our clients had listed on their LinkedIn profiles. I mean no disrespect to those individuals, especially those clients that are currently reading. I both admire and have great respect all of the incredible contributions that I get to be part of, but if they had been on that call, they too would have said the same thing. These 15-17 year old students were so well spoken, so organized, and incredibly poised. Not only that they were getting shit done. It was clear that they were going somewhere and I was hoping they picked me to tag along.

Fast forward to this week, where I got to spend the afternoon in Parkland, Florida leading a strategic workshop with a group of students, who after being shot at, seeing friends die, having their worlds turned upside down, their youth stripped away, and their lives changed forever, got together to start Empower The People, which is an organization bent on proving to the world that the youth vote, maybe the only vote that matters both in this election and beyond.

While working in parallel with the other incredible organizations that have come out of the tragic events of February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, these students are barreling ahead with a nonpartisan mission of empowering every youth in this country to vote, especially those from areas that are underserved, ignored, purged from voter registration rolls, and generally unheard in this country.

And @thestratlabs is here to help advise, counsel, and guide them on their way.

The work centers around a partnership strategy (more is more) with groups that have incredible, existing infrastructure in this space, such as Inspire USA and others. Empower The People isn’t looking to recreate what is already there, but rather inspire and co-create a model of civic engagement that will inspire youth from around the country to take five minutes, look up from their screens, and see that a simple act such as registering to vote and subsequently voting, has the power to change this world. It really does only takes five minutes. They hope that in turn, each youth then encourages their parents, relatives, friends, and teachers to also VOTE. Not just in the big elections, but in every election. They recognize that sometimes voting can be hard (even and especially for adults) because of inability to understand the issues or to trust candidates. So as part of their work starting in 2019, they will be looking at ways to help educate youth on how to better understand current issues and candidates, all through a nonpartisan lens.

I am proud to advise on this project and proud to have some incredible co-consultants, who make the work lighter and easier and who contribute expertise, contacts, and humor. Thank you PSB Research (Jason Boxt, Alexis Bluestone, and John McTernan)

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing stories of inspiration, change, and leadership both on social media and on the Strat Labs blog. Please follow @thestratlabs on social media for further updates from Empower The People and other very smart, very worthy, and very incredibly hardworking clients.

If interested in how to partner with @thestratlabs, please email us We love advising, counseling, and co-creating with smart and dedicated individuals, companies, and fellow consultants on projects that have the potential to create change.

With Respect,

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Neufeld

Elizabeth NeufeldComment