Born from a Love of Community & Connection

Hi there! I’m Amy Arcand.

It all started in the early ‘90s, when I was studying community organizing in Namibia and South Africa after aparthied…

But before we go there, I’m so glad you’re here! You’ve found the place where nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies come to reconnect to their mission, help their people do their best work, and better connect with their community.

How? By getting real about your pain points, embracing change, and having real conversations with the community. After all, those ideals are what drew me to study the fearless leaders and everyday people who eradicated apartheid.

Facing change head on is no fear of mine. I consistently choose what is right over what is comfortable to help your organization halt limiting patterns that keep you from thriving. At times, there will be difficult conversations, new ways of thinking, and differing opinions or beliefs. But that’s where the magic happens. Because truth be told, discomfort is just a sign of new beginnings.

I founded Willow Consulting in 2013 with a mission to put people first in every aspect of business. During college, I studied community organizing in Namibia and South Africa. Today, these skills help me to promote progressive change in neighborhoods, government, and nonprofit organizations. I spent the next two-plus decades at nonprofits in executive leadership roles, where I supported organizations through times of transition, chaos, and change.

I’m passionate about good governance, community engagement, partnerships, and building strong organizational foundations.

My experience is enhanced by a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business from Augsburg College and a Master of Public Affairs degree with a concentration in Leadership and Civic Engagement from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. In 2007, I received the Thomas Swain Fellowship for Leadership.

Stick around and we’ll quickly get to know one another.

Let me break the ice

Happy Place  Voyageur National Park

Superpower Saying difficult things for the greater good, all while remaining respectful and compassionate.

Oddest Job Worked on a tourist boat in Alaska for a season and had to harvest glacier ice onto the boat for visitors’ viewing pleasure.

Always Promoting Social justice, feminism, and community engagement

For Fun Traveling, kayaking, spending time with family and friends over food and drinks

A few more things

that mean a lot to me...

Inclusivity I believe in the power of making decisions together. When we open space for diverse voices to share their unique opinions, beliefs, trials, or needs, we can make better, more informed decisions that benefit (and sustain!) all of us.

Flexibility I can work on-site or virtually. I can deliver projects independently or become part of your team. I take on both small and large projects. And I tailor my services to meet your budget. Because growth requires flexibility—from everyone involved, including me.

Candor I don’t shy away from speaking up when things are messy, so you can count on me to tell it to you straight—and I hope you do the same in return. I lead fearlessly with honest, yet compassionate, feedback on how you can better serve your community.

Over the Years: From Africa to Minnesota, this is the story of Willow Consulting until today.


Kind Words from the Community

“Amy came to our organization in a crisis situation. We had hired a new executive director and that person had pulled out two days before our state convention. Amy started less than three weeks later and jumped in with both feet. She got our ship headed in the right direction when we really needed it. Even though Amy was only with us for a short while, she took the interim position seriously and put her tremendous experience and skill into the position to get us well situated for the new executive director to come into an organization ready for its next phase.”

Stacy Doepner-Hove

President, MN Statewide Non-Profit Organization

“Amy engaged in the work immediately. She worked diligently with the board of directors to establish a plan to solve our myriad of dilemmas including vacancies in staff, poor financial oversight, unresolved legal issues and ongoing program commitments among others. She immediately met with our public and private funders to secure their patience and cooperation as we worked through our transition.”

Jerry Schaefer

President, Harrison Neighborhood Association

“Amy is a born leader. She sets a strategy, follows a timeline, and gets the job done with meaningful outcomes. She is funny, smart and hard working.”

Jocelyn Hale

Miller Hale Associates

“Amy came to work with us at the right time. I had an idea of what I thought we needed and had contracted her to do that work. I am glad that Amy used her professional expertise and insight once she had started with us to recommend what she found out we really needed. Amy helped us pivot in the direction and build the infrastructure we needed to go and well on our way to serving our communities better and achieving the mission and vision of our organization efficiently."

Nelima Sitati Munene

Executive Director, African Career Education & Resource, (ACER) Inc.

Willow Consulting might be right for you if...

A gap in leadership has you covering day-to-day operations, leaving no time for strategic thinking or planning.

You need a trusted partner to facilitate meaningful conversations and jump-start problem solving.

You want to engage community members in leading change.

You’re struggling to adapt your programs to meet emerging needs while staying true to your mission.

Your agency initiative needs community input and support.

You want to plan a kick-ass community event.