About Elissa


Elissa Brown went to law school at a big fancy university and practiced law until she couldn’t stand it anymore.  Looking for something else to do she stumbled into city and regional planning and fortunately the big fancy university had a Masters program in planning so she got another degree.  After that she worked in community and economic development for several years in a medium sized city.  This was a great deal of fun but never really satisfied her deepest dreams.  In 1999 she started practicing Vipassana meditation and soon moved to North Fork, the small town in the foothills of the California Sierra Nevada range where the California Vipassana Center was located.  This was it.  She started a successful grant writing/program development business, made a lot of friends, got married, built a house on 15 acres of land with a stream running through it, planted a big vegetable garden and an orchard, adopted two dogs from the animal shelter, and settled down to a happy life.

One of the best things about this new life, Elissa found, was being able to contribute to getting things done in her new community.  People in North Fork had all sorts of great ideas about how to make the community a better place.  Adding her background and experience to the ideas, skills, and enthusiasm of her neighbors created a winning combination.  But eventually, like everything else, this wasn’t enough.  Why should North Fork have all the fun?  Everyone should get the chance to make their own little world a better place.

Elissa started writing How to Get Things Done in a Small Town on her birthday in the summer of 2009.  This website is a way of adding to the wisdom of the book by sharing stories from communities across the country, and maybe across the world!

If you would like to contact Elissa Brown, please send a message through the ‘Contact Us’ page.