Lula Defersha joined the Fairmount Park Conservancy team in September 2022. As Director of Coalition & Convening, Lula is responsible for convening community members, citizen advocates, and public space partners around key geographies and common issues.
Lula is a nonprofit leader who spent 12 years working as a community collaborator, facilitator, advocate, and youth development specialist. Lula is passionate about uncovering and amplifying the inner stories of people within organizations, communities, and in their own lives to help them unlock new successes both collaboratively and developmentally. Lula excels in nurturing strategic relationships in cross-cultural work environments and helping people unlock their true potential, connect better, and move forward in unison.
Learn more about Lula via the Q&A below.
Why do parks matter to you?
Parks play a massive role in bettering our mental, social, economic, and physical well-being. Especially during the pandemic, having easy access to parks, green spaces, and recreation areas played a critical role in the well-being of our community.
Why are parks important to communities?
Parks provide identity for residents and are a significant factor in the perception of quality of life in a given community. Parks provide gathering places for families, groups, and individuals of all ages and economic statuses, regardless of their ability to pay for access.
What gets you most excited about your role at Fairmount Park Conservancy?
I am excited to utilize my community mobilization experience to convene community members, advocates, and public space partners around common issues, equitable access to parks, and civic engagement.
What’s one thing you’d want to encourage park visitors to do (or not do!) for their parks?
I encourage park visitors to take care of our parks. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, your local park is the perfect place to lend your services. You can plant trees, clean up trash, plant a community garden, etc. — it’s a great way to make friends, get kids involved, and give back to your local park.
What is your favorite park in Philly?
Clark Park. When my family migrated to Philadelphia, we lived near Clark Park and spent much quality time there as a family.
Share something interesting about yourself?
English is my 3rd language. I was born and raised in Ethiopia/Eritrea and moved to the U.S. when I was 13 years old.