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In the pause: Mr. Trump, let me use my design thinking experience to help with Mexico

I wrote this letter to Donald Trump. And then I sent it to every senator and congress person I admire and respect since I don’t have any voting representation as a D.C. resident. I figured it can’t hurt and it might help. I understand that this will likely fall on deaf ears. I write it not for any recognition but because I think we can and must do better than a wall and a 20% tax. Mexico is our dear friend, neighbor, and second largest trading partner. If this relationship falls apart, it could very well be a lynchpin to our economy and society. The consequences are literally painful to me, and I can’t just watch it happen without saying something, without trying to do something right now. I have too many friends living in Mexico and living here in the U.S. who are from Mexican descent. I posted this on Facebook and was roundly criticized for writing this letter by a few people. I stand by the suggestion that design thinking can save this relationship before it’s too late.

“Dear Mr. Trump,
As a fellow Penn alum, I’m hoping that I can help with the U.S. relationship with Mexico. I know that there are people who want you to build a wall, but I have a cheaper, more effective solution. I hope you’ll be open to hearing it.

What we need to do in Mexico, as in many areas of policy, is to discover root causes and treat them. Building a wall on the border with Mexico, while it may look like progress, is not. It is a bandaid that treats the symptom; what we need to do is work with Mexico to treat what’s ailing that nation and its economy.

As a business woman, product developer, and someone who believes and works in the design thinking space, what we need is a discovery process. Why are people from Mexico coming to the U.S. illegally? And then to go a step further, what would it take for them to want to stay in Mexico? That latter question is the difficult one to answer, but I promise you that it holds rich rewards. While we may assume that we know all of the answers to why people come to the U.S. illegally, I have often found that a design thinking project uncovers reasons we never even imagined were possible. The only way to get that learning is to sit down and listen to people. Ask open-ended and high-quality questions, and then let them tell you about their lives and what’s painful for them. Then, heal those pain points through collaborative efforts.

In this case with Mexico, we’d not only save money and develop a better solution, we’d also improve the lives of countless people. And isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all want a world that’s peaceful and prosperous? Don’t we all want to leave this planet a better place than we found it? Isn’t that the very basis of humanity and the purpose of life? I’d like to think that you share this belief, and that your advisors do as well. I can help.

I’ll make you a deal. I’ll do this project for free. I don’t need a dime. I’ll donate all my time, efforts, and talents. I’ll quit my job tomorrow and do this if given the chance.

Thanks for your consideration,
Christa Avampato”

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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