ABOUT Impact Mākars
Impact Mākars focuses on poetically humanizing workplace communication. We provide Mākarshops which focuses on teaching employees transferable communication skills by practicing creative self-care through spoken word poetry to create an engaging corporate culture.
As part of our partnership, we were able to interview Isaiah Mākar to get an inside scoop on Impact Mākars’ story and impact.
Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
I used to hate poetry as I had the fear of public speaking and social anxiety in high school. I overcame both of those phobias after joining the Oak Park & River Forest high school spoken word club my junior year. It taught me how to communicate better and cope with adversity. I gained these skills at the right time as my mom suffered a severe stroke from work-related stress during my senior year. She used to work in human resources. I decided to combine my experience in spoken word poetry and being a caretaker to help employees relieve work-related stress to perform at their best.
How does Impact Mākars use technology to teach communication skills and engage the audience?
Video and social media. I believe there are key factors in providing services now that we are in the streaming era. Because Impact Mākars is centered around spoken word poetry and performance, capturing footage and seeing people engaged in Mākarshops is vital.
How is the Impact Mākars’s impact measured? What means of technology are being to measure the impact?
Besides the Mākarshop Reflections, which is a three-part survey, narratively styled testimonials and "striking line" statements is what we've used so far. However, a new concept that we are experimenting with is Mākarshop Books. These are collections of poems written anonymously by participants and conducting a literary analysis of the content. Employees have revealed a lot of "data" through their writings about themselves, co-workers, and their employer. The goal of Mākarshop Books is to figure out what is the narrative of a company's culture and if this narrative is positive or negative. If it's negative, possibly sitting with department managers and dissecting the narratives and figuring out how to change the narrative by implementing different approaches in the workplace is an option. A second option if the narrative is positive, we can identify techniques that will keep the culture positive. We will explore software that will categorize literacy using a grounded theory approach.
Are you collaborating with similar organizations on a local, regional, or national level?
Right now we are looking to partner with HR associations and organizations that have a community focus. We don't want to limit our services (Mākarshops) to companies but focus on groups who experienced trauma and use poetry as art therapy to overcome anxieties. This can range from youth, families, women, people of color, and community members such as the police department, fire department, and public transportation workers. They interact with people on a day-to-day basis and can absorb a lot of anxiety and stress from their work. Impact Mākars wants to help alleviate those anxieties and transform it into empowerment. Communication is the foundation trait that makes us human and we plan on enhancing that trait in a creative fashion.
Where in Chicago neighborhood are you from? Do you still live there?
I am from Oak Park and currently live there. I also enjoy Wicker Park, Logan Square, Hyde Park, Pilsen, and the West Loop area.
What is your favorite thing about Chicago?
I think the dynamic diversity. Not just the diverse range of people, but cultures, places, foods, businesses, arts, and opportunities. There is too much to do. It's somewhat frustrating knowing you can't get involved with everything. But, a lot of options is the best problem to have and there are a ton of them in Chicago.
Who is a Chicagoan that you admire and why?
I don't have a Chicagoan I admire, but I do admire CPS students. From doing teaching residencies for students on the west side and south side of Chicago, they are inspirational. My mom is from Morgan Park (South Side) and my dad is from the K-Town area (West Side) so with Impact Mākars I am looking to give back to those students in the near future.
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