Five Good Ideas Podcast

Five Good Ideas about building power for change

Five Good Ideas Podcast
Five Good Ideas about building power for change

In this session, originally recorded on February 26, 2020, we look at how to build democratic power for change. Our speaker for this session is Michal Hay, the Founding Executive Director of Progress Toronto. As an organizer, her focus is on bridging the gap between people and the political power needed for progressive change.

Our cities are becoming increasingly unaffordable and income inequality is widening faster than ever before. People, communities, and an entire generation are being squeezed out. The decisions made in the halls of power can either take us down a more progressive path or deepen the divide. Unfortunately, many decision-makers are removed from the day-to-day experiences of the people they represent. So how can we influence and shape the decisions being made? What power do we have to create meaningful change and transform our cities? In this Five Good Ideas session, Michal Hay shares her experiences on building power, winning, and making change. She offers five good ideas for building democratic power to win.

Five Good Ideas

1. The power we have is people

2. Our power increases as our numbers increase, and for that to truly/deeply happen we need distributed leadership

3. Invest in building power. That means training people and giving them the opportunity to apply the skills and lead

4. Share your strategy, goals, and priorities with people to help train and motivate them

5. Every campaign is an opportunity build power and ideally to build on what was built before


1. Movement School’s Campaign Fellows. This 10-week intensive campaign simulation cultivates leaders to run, and win, grassroots campaigns. Movement School is an initiative connected to Justice Democrats, a coalition working to elect more progressives in America.

2. Our Revolution. This organization was formed after Bernie Sanders first presidential campaign in 2016. Outside of the presidential election they have run issue-based campaigns and supported candidates in local and state election.

3. Barcelona en Comú. In 2015, Ada Colau became the mayor of Barcelona from a historic campaign that involved as many people. Her organizing and leadership is changing the city.

4. Make the Road New York. They focus on building the power of immigrant and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice. Check out their leadership development programs — and victories to be inspired.

5. Push Buffalo. A locally based organization that believes deeply in people power by mobilizing residents to create strong neighbourhoods with affordable housing through efforts like expanding local hiring opportunities, and advancing economic and environmental justice.

For the full transcript, visit

About Michal Hay

Michal Hay is the Founding Executive Director of Progress Toronto. Her focus in organizing, whether through an issue-based or electoral campaign, is bridging the gaps between people and the political power needed for progressive change. She hopes to create the space for people to advocate for the city they need.

Michal was 2017 Campaign Director for Jagmeet Singh’s successful NDP Leadership Campaign, and she was one of Chatelaine’s Top Women in Canada of 2017. She is on the Board of Directors of the Broadbent Institute and the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Michal was Chief of Staff to Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton for six years, and in 2014 she was Field Director for Olivia Chow’s Toronto Mayoral Campaign. Through her work and activism, she has had leading roles on a number of issue-based and electoral campaigns at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels across Canada.


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