While I may be tired, and feel like I cannot go on, I want to give a special shoutout to all of the exceptional women I have had the pleasure of meeting this semester. I feel so empowered every time I get to see the strong, hard-working women in my cohort and organization. These ladies and women have the determination to make a difference, and they are an inspiration to me.
Since February, I have been able to attend and experience many events and meetings that have been transformational, from a student standpoint.
On February 28th, I was able to attend the Women in Leadership conference #WIL2017.
On March 9th, I attended my first 5k Program Committee meeting, officially participating as the Volunteer Management Coordinator for our Spring 5k.
On March 22nd, I was able to celebrate my advisor, Ericka McKibbin, on being awarded one of 2017’s Trailblazing Women in our Community, through #TCCswomenshistorymonth.
And On March 30th, I attended both the Nonprofit Enterprise and Social Innovation Summit (#NESI) hosted by INIE (s/o SEI interns!), and my second 5k Committee Program meeting.
All in all, this I’ve been surrounded by inspiration and celebration in accordance with all of the hard work the GOTR team has been doing to prepare for our 5k. In fact, if you’re interested in volunteering, e-mail me (email@example.com) for more info. We’re almost to the end!
12:38 a.m. and we are just leaving E3 Church after setting up for NESI 2.0 for the last 4 hours. Everyone is tired but we know we have to be back here in a few hours full of energy for an exciting day! So fast forward to the next morning and people are piling in as they check in and head inside for the start of the event. The parking lot is full and there is a buzzing energy around the facility. Alyce Lee Stansbury kicks the event off and we are underway! Shortly after, our keynote speaker Austin Buchan from College Forward is speaking and he has a remarkable story to tell. Going from college graduate with no MBA to CEO of a nonprofit that is helping over 30,000 students achieve their dream of going to college. Most of these students are first generation college students and this really hit home for me since I will be the first male to graduate from college on my dad’s side of the family. IT also resonated because that s a goal of mine to help low income and first generation students get to college and graduate college. Because this starts a positive life cycle for the entire family.
So the conference is going great at this point which is exactly what we all had hoped for. One of the best parts of the conference for me was seeing Bruce Manciagli and Hannah King there. They both were speakers for the conference and both did a fantastic job! The amount of knowledge that was given during the conference was phenomenal and all of our guests truly received a return on their investment. Seeing different sectors and walk of life interact, network and idea share is definitely one to marvel at. From Mark Mcnees of Redeye Coffee to Sabrina Torres from Domi Station there was something for everyone there to learn about. The growing awareness of Social Entrepreneurship and the Nonprofit sector is truly amazing.
6pm comes and the conference is ending. Everyone is all smiles as they enjoy the wine from the event an continue to network. Having a mix of college students and professionals made for an awesome atmosphere because of the vast differences which was fantastic. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves at the event as it was truly a success. All of the months of preparing and hark work setting up finally came down to the last hour of the event and it seems that al of our attendees really enjoyed themselves. This was one of the moments where I felt like all of the hard work of our team was so beneficial and showed how big of a staple the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence is in the community and will be in the futrue!
The Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence is a robust, vibrant and vital part of our region’s nonprofit sector and today they showed the community why. NESI 2.0 is a conference covering the spectrum of social enterprise and high impact nonprofits. We had our keynote speaker fly in from Austin, Texas and almost 220 people registered for the event which was more than twice the amount of last year! The event started this morning around 7:30 with registration and the conversations started there.
The morning keynote address was given from our special guest from Austin, Austin Buchan. His keynote address helped people’s innovative and entrepreneurial mind’s expand. He is the CEO of College Forward which is a nonprofit located in Texas. His story was inspiring to most of the students, including myself, because his training and background is very unorthodox. No MBA. No Masters in Social Entrepreneurship. No Prior experience. Just simple right place, right time, right people, hands on experience. The beginning of College forward was a grass roots movement to try to fix the problem of students not succeeding. The founder’s background was also unorthodox although her success came out of curiosity. She used the resources she had and the skills she had learned to start from the bottom up and ask students what their needs are and how they can best be met. Austin Buchan’s background was in sociology and he somehow found himself creating a start up tech business within a nonprofit organization. Personally, I loved this transition because as a student with an interdisciplinary subject matter I am sometimes concerned about specific training that I might need for a future career.
Today was filled with a wonderful spread of theories, passions and exuberant ideas. Some of our very own close colleagues and students were there, including Bruce Manciagli and Hannah King who were both excellent speakers at the event. I was honored to see them there and watch their passions show through their words. At the end of the conference we had a reflection and I realized that social enterprises, social innovations and high impact nonprofits are not always fully understood due to the changing and blurring of lines, at least in my perspective. I think it is a wonderful time to be involved in this sector and I see myself more and more every day doing something in this area. I love it because everyone can do it, well not everyone. But if you have a dream, you can do it. With a little hard work, some networking to find the right people and times of trial and error your dreams can become a reality. This sector is changing the way business is done and how it is thought about. By having conferences like NESI and starting these conversations with the right people about what can be fixed and improved then we may have a chance to really make a difference.
My experience at TAC continues to be very beneficial as I continue to learn more about social entrepreneurship and the different aspects of non-profits. The past few weeks have been very interesting in the way that I am able to work with a team and I am able to contribute to the development of Voices For Florida, a project directed by Linda Alexionok. In order to contribute, I am required to think critically and apply my knowledge of Social- Entrepreneurship into the development of the project.
For my assignment, I am teamed up with my partner Jaqueline, a Sociology student at Florida State University. Working with her has been very interesting because she is able to apply what she knows about sociology into the project we work on. together we are working on a logic model that follows the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s logic model as a way to organize the resources in place to operate the program, the activities planned, and the intended results from the activities.
Furthermore, Jaqueline and I have been assigned to work on the current definitions of the 5 C’s, which are elements essential to creating social change in the community. The 5 C’s currently include community engagement, credible experts, consensus, continuity of resources, and continual improvement. However, after a lot of thought and consideration, we decided to narrow the elements down into 3 C’s (actions) and 2 E’s (actors). The Actors include Experts and the Engaged Community. The actions include Consensus, Cross Sector Collaboration, and Continual Improvement. Narrowing down to 3 C’s and 2 E’s allows us to better understand the process in which change is made for Florida’s children and families. I am looking forward to seeing what the next few months have to offer and how the project continues to develop.
Gardens and Change, that’s the topics that have been at the office at FAVACA these past few weeks. My time with FAVACA has been immensely insightful and diverse to say the least. What I love about my development intern position at FAVACA is the variety of projects and areas I get to work in. My main role as a program coordinator is to recruit volunteers for international projects and ensure everything they need to travel is completed. Our work at FAVACA however is never limited to our international projects.
FAVACA takes the knowledge from it’s agriculture programs abroad and use that expertise for local projects in our community. So as I work to place volunteers in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, I also work with Tallahassee elementary schools to bring innovation and impact locally. FAVACA is looking to expand the work it does in Tallahassee and I am fortunate enough to be part of the team during this time.
These past few weeks I have been researching rooftop gardens all over the country and programs that teach children about agriculture and enterprises. With this knowledge, FAVACA is taking an effective model and innovating it right here in Tallahassee. Throughout the rest of the semester I will be researching, planning, and fundraising with the team at FAVACA and school teachers to begin community gardens at local elementary schools.
Because most of the work we do at FAVACA is international, it is very rewarding to do local work as well where I can see the immediate impact of our efforts!
FSU Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation interns blog about their experiences.