New Member––Lauren's Lean Journey

A successful Lean Coffee Chat was hosted by the Campbell Group in Grand Rapids in August, 2019 and was attended by a number of participates––including one who drove from Ann Arbor to participate!

After researching Lean online, Laura, a Social Impact Program Associate and Marketing Manager for Moves The Needle, decided to take the drive from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids to participate in the early morning Lean Coffee Chat. After the event, Laura approached Michigan Lean Consortium volunteers about hosting and leading a Lean Coffee Chat of her own in Ann Arbor!

The MLC is happy to help if you are interested in Sponsoring or Hosting a Lean Coffee Chat, please contact the MLC Events Team at

Lauren was kind enough to share a little of her Lean Journey with me:

Would you be able to tell me about your Lean Journey?

Continuous improvement and empathy are core principles guiding my personal life and my work in the social impact sector. I am currently the Social Impact Program Associate and Marketing Manager for Moves The Needle, a company that teaches enterprises, nonprofits, and local government how to create new value using Lean Innovation.

My academic and professional background is in community change through public policy and philanthropy. Additionally, I grew up with a deep knowledge on Lean as my father was the Director of GMS for General Motors International. Before joining Moves The Needle, I built my nonprofit consultant business on increasing efficiency and impact in the nonprofit sector through using Lean principles and prospect analytics. I am continuing to incorporate my knowledge and research on Lean, learn how different organizations are building a culture of Lean, thereby serving their communities better by incorporating the Lean principles.

What activities did you participate in at the Lean Coffee Chat?

I was welcomed in and each person gave an introduction into their Lean journey. We then broke up into three small groups. We individually wrote topics we would like to discuss. Then, we shared these ideas within the small group with the goal of picking one or two to talk more about. My group ended up combining similar or connected topics and focused our conversation on this group of topics, how they relate to one another, and specific practices or the culture that we have seen in our work. We then shared our group topics with the whole room. We gave feedback on this process, as well as feedback on the MLC annual conference.

How will you be able to incorporate these activities or discussions into your Lean activities at work or at home?

The topic that my group discussed was around embedding Lean into a culture along with sustaining that Lean culture and how leadership is involved in that process. It was helpful for me to know what has been working or not yet working in different workplaces. As a Lean coach, I can use this information to build my knowledge base and find the examples or key points to building a sustainable Lean culture.

How would you feel about participating in Lean Coffee Chats in the future?

I would love to continue participating. It was a very welcoming and inspiring conversation. I enjoyed meeting each person and hearing various perspectives.

How did you find out about the Coffee Chat in GR?

I found out about the coffee chat in Grand Rapids from the MLC newsletter.

Anything closing thoughts?

I am new to MLC and have so far found it to be a very inclusive, productive, inspiring group and I will enjoy continuing to learn from the members.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software