As the founder and visionary of the Big Shared World community building initiative, Colleen does a little bit of everything, but her favorite part of this whole adventure is connecting with people about meaningful topics in an effort to widen perspectives and worldviews, including her own! Every experience she encounters only expands her curiosity to explore more. This attitude has guided most of her educational, professional, and personal decisions over the years as she relishes new opportunities to learn. with an undergrad degree in psychology, minor in anthropology, and master’s in international development, Colleen has always loved learning with people at the center.
In the fall of 2014, Colleen embarked on Big Shared World with a motto and goal of “3 Questions. 30 Countries. 300 People.” 40 countries later, Colleen had asked her three questions to over 700 people. The initial endeavor was the foundation of what Big Shared World has become today. What started as a social experiment has blossomed into a growing start-up company. Exploring the world at large or her own backyard in a meaningful way is what drives her, and this project, forward. Colleen is really looking forward to having students across Minnesota engage with the activity book and companion lessons this coming school year. She also is eager to finish her travel memoir, a book for adults, about the Big Shared World project.
When Colleen is not elbow-deep in building Big Shared World and Our Minnesota Community, you can find her hanging out with her favorite Minnesotans, her beloved family (preferably at their cabin in northern Minnesota). A world-traveling homebody, she’s just as likely to be off carpe-dieming on an adventure or working on a puzzle while watching comedian specials on Netflix to recharge. Colleen always loves the idea of how a quick (okay, sometimes not so quick) plane could take her to a completely different world than her own. Thanks to her mom’s airline employee benefits and standby travel privileges, she has become an expert at the last minute getaway for a change of scenery and inspiration!