Justin Lyons is a master persuader for social justice.
He’s spent his career working to inspire others take action, and he personifies a generation of talented people who want to use their skills to help others. The best part: he wants to share his experience and knowledge with anyone interested doing good and cultivating change.
Justin is a U.S. senior campaigner for the world’s largest petitioning platform, Change.org. In this role, he helps petition starters successfully launch national and international campaigns using storytelling, media relations, email marketing, stakeholder engagement and social media.
In his role, Justin primarily focuses on issues involving race, discrimination and human rights. One noteworthy campaign he was involved in was former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s petition calling on the NFL team to release its complete discrimination investigation report to the public. Kluwe filed the petition believing that his support for LGBT rights cost him his job. With Justin’s guidance, the petition reached more than 80,800 supporters, and the Vikings agreed to make financial contributions to five LGBT charities and enhance its existing sensitivity training for staff and
But before entering the world of politics and advocacy, Justin began his career in the realm of sports PR. He first started working with the NBA to help grow its fantasy basketball platform. While writing blogs to engage NBA fans in the digital platform, he began to imagine what it would look like for him to combine his skills in writing with his interest in sports for social good. Before long, Justin grew the NBA’s international outreach initiatives through NBA Cares, hosting events and telling stories about the good things the league was doing around the world.
Today, Justin works on a range of causes where there’s no such thing as a typical campaign. A few of the projects where he’s currently supporting petition starters include:
- Helping a brother fight for the immediate release of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian from Iranian custody.
- Supporting a family who lost a young son in a cruise pool drowning to make it mandatory for cruise lines to employ lifeguards.
- Guiding a resident to push local authorities to change the name of the Waldo Tunnel in California to the Robin Williams tunnel.
Justin entered the public sector when he joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s campaign in 2013 as a field organizer in South Jersey- an experience that showed him how to leverage the relentless power of messaging for social good.
“The Booker campaign reinforced my understanding in the power of people coming together for a common cause,” said Justin. “I refined my art for persuasion. Why is this issue important? Why will this action help? I was moved to help other people tell their story and to inspire others to act.”
Justin uses his natural power of persuasion to work with passionate people in the U.S. who need to bring more attention to their causes – stories previously not brought to public light before digital and social media.
“Technology has transformed the way we communicate,” said Justin. “The growth of platforms like Change.org is proof of this transformation. We’re learning how to better strengthen and advance people-powered campaigns, where people take a moment from their lives and help build local, national, even global movements for social good.”
Justin’s mission is to position a person’s story for power. He wants to close the gap between decision-makers and the people who want to take action on issues affecting their lives and communities.
Justin will present on the creative ways that people are using digital platforms and tools for action on June 26 at Cause for Design, an exclusive summit for top creatives in social good. During his talk, Justin plans to discuss how organizations and movements can engage people in away that keeps them involved.
“A lot of it comes down to human-interest storytelling. The most powerful stories address issues that affect other people’s lives. I’ve found that there is much more that connects us than divides us. Issues in human rights and social justice connect us all as humans and have the potential to reach then move a mass audience toward the common good,” he said.
Interested in hearing more about Justin’s story and advice for persuasive messaging? Request an invitation for Cause for Design, a one-day summit on Friday, June 26 in Chicago.
Jonathon Hosea is the community & content manager at Achieve, a national research and creative agency for causes.