Kyla Carlsen

Co.act Detroit


In her role as the Senior Director of Program Strategy & Innovation, Kyla oversees the co-creation of capacity building programs and community-centered grant-making for social change organizations with an emphasis on equity and access, network building and cross-sector collaboration.

Kyla is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and has experience leading and managing teams, facilitating design thinking sessions to develop innovative approaches to solve problems, program strategy and implementation, project management, fund development and collaborating with stakeholders to scale impact. She previously served as Senior Operations and Financial Manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, overseeing small business programs with a combined annual budget of $8mm and supporting commercial corridor development, increasing resident access to goods and services, and economic mobility.

Kyla has a background in finance, facilitating access to capital, capital readiness, and closing the racial funding gap for entrepreneurs and social impact organizations. She is passionate about innovating alternative social and economic investment strategies to achieve more equitable outcomes.

Kyla is an alumnus of the Detroit Global Shapers hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that connects a network of young leaders driving dialogue, action and change in their communities. She enjoys traveling, supporting small businesses, spending time with her ten year old pitbull, wine and cooking.

What does inner wellbeing mean to you?

Feeling whole inside and out (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually), pouring from a full cup, listening to and prioritizing what my mind body and spirit need.

How would you define wellbeing in one word?


Are there any rituals or practices you use to enhance your wellbeing?

Meditation, journaling, gratitude, exercise, walking, laughing, spending time with people I love and my dog, enjoying sunshine or nature, writing, doing things that bring me joy, laughter and make me smile.

Why is it important that we prioritize individual, organizational and societal wellbeing?

We can’t heal our communities until we heal ourselves. Many of the social issues our organizations work to address – poverty, hunger, racial and social inequity, education and youth development – are rooted in system issues that require the collective healing of ourselves and our communities. Until this healing process happens at scale, we will continue to address these societal challenges reactively instead of actually eradicating them, and burning ourselves out while doing so.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or articles that you believe support, promote or educate on wellbeing and related themes?

Coact has a wealth of wellbeing resources and webinars in our resource library, we are also launching a Wellbeing Toolkit. Personally I’ve used Beth Kanter’s resources, and Rachel Hollis’s podcast and practices to create my own wellbeing rituals.

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