Pollyanna's mission of creating platforms for discussion and knowledge-sharing around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion motivates Leah Johnson to serve on Pollyanna's board of trustees. She believes Pollyanna is necessary because across the country, "people are trying to have difficult conversations about race, bias, bigotry and prejudice: it's important to give people the platform to have these conversations." 

Leah recalls recognizing the power of student voice during her first Pollyanna conference. A student from New York spoke of his mother who lived in China. When he and his mother talked on the phone at night, his mother would say, "Look at the moon, we're seeing the same moon." Leah reflects on hearing this story, "We don't always think about what kids are grappling with day-to-day. Seeing kids express poignantly what they experience made me feel what we were doing was important...the beauty of it was in the safety developed in the morning of that conference." 

Leah hopes future Pollyanna participants will encounter a space to share stories without judgment and listen. She strives for participants to "build a sense of community, and learn how to be not only an ally but a leader in this space." Leah sees potential for Pollyanna to spark dialogue not only within the conference, but for participants to carry conversations forward "to their dining table and to their workplace." Her favorite part of the conference is working with individuals on the ground floor, building ongoing relationships, and developing a community of expertise.