Spring semester of 2017 has been the most productive, exciting semester that I have had as a college student and I have truly enjoyed it. Most of these highlights have been made possible through my internship with INIE. Since NESI has ended I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things these last couple of weeks. I have gotten the opportunity to be a part of some really interesting meetings and help set up some awesome events.
So Jessica Lowe-Minor, the Executive Director at INIE gets into the office and she tells me she wants me to come with her to a breakfast meeting with County Commissioner Nick Maddox. I am instantly excited to she thought to bring me with her. So the time comes and we head to Savannahs Country Buffett for the meeting. Nick is a former FSU football player that went all the way to the NFL. He isn’t from Tallahassee but once his playing days were over he decided to come back to help improve the city on many levels. So we talk football for the first 15 minutes and then we all get into the reason why we are there which is to discuss funding for nonprofits and how budget cuts would affect them. So he and Jessica discuss different things around the subject for a while and then this great idea comes up, doing an EEP (Entrepreneurial Excellence Program) for nonprofits over a six week span that ends in a shark tank like pitch night where the winner receives a substantial amount of seed capital that the city and county would agree to co-fund. This makes everyone extremely excited because of the opportunity for everyone involved to improve the nonprofit sector by helping them to be more entrepreneurial minded by generating self-sustaining income. This is especially important to a nonprofit because keeping the doors open is the main priority with so much dependence on government funding.
Being able to be a part of meetings like these were a hope of mine but definitely not an expectation of mine going into this internship. I just wanted to gain more knowledge on the nonprofit sector and nonprofit management. Jessica has been so instrumental to me throughout this whole internship. With her open heart and willingness to always help it’s no wonder why she is so successful and I truly appreciate my time at INIE. This internship has exceeded my expectations, hopes and dreams, it’s been everything and more!
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!
So the past couple weeks at INIE have been very interesting to say the least. The fantastic experiences from INIE can be random and bountiful! So rewind back three weeks to our historical after hours talk at the TCC Center for innovation. INIE is located in the TCC Capitol Center which is now known as the TCC Center for Innovation. Jessica our Executive Director had asked me earlier in the week if I would cover the event since it was an after-hours event and we had to have a member of the staff on site during the event, I told her I would. Now it is about 5:30 and I check in with Brittany Christie, who is over the operations of the center. I get the key to lock up at the end of the night and I wait until the hosts of the event got there. I help them set up and then head back upstairs. Alyssa Duany who is also on this blog, arrives shortly after! So the event is going smooth and then Alexa who is our Office Manager notifies me that we all are about to get interviewed, per usual the random experience.
So the TCC anchor and cameraman give us a quick review before interviewing each one of us one by one. They also filmed us around the space for additional footage. This turned out to be an amazing and made for a very interesting watch as you can see for yourself here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4Gpwgfxfr8
Another highlight of the last few weeks was that I got to sit in on a Board Orientation Meeting. The new Board member was William McCluskey. He is the founder of Proper Channel. Alyce Lee Stansbury (Owner of Stansbury Consulting), who is the Board Chair was also in attendance as well as Jessica and Alexa. Being able to see firsthand how an organization brings a new member was a huge opportunity that I really enjoyed. We covered things from financials, to the history of INIE, the goals for the future and more. The meeting often times strayed away into great conversation that Mr. McCluskey initiated through his profound points of view. He has the zig when others zag mentality. It was truly amazing getting to know him as well as Alyce Lee.
For nearly a month I have had the pleasure of being an intern at a upcoming nonprofit named the Institute of nonprofit innovation and excellence. So far this has been one of the best experiences of my life. On the first day I was ready for whatever he day brought. It ended up being more than I expected it to be. The tasks can vary daily which is one of the reasons it is so exciting for me.
INIE was my first choice for internships and I was thrilled that I was blessed to get my top choice. I wanted the opportunity to learn and grow at one of the best up and coming nonprofits around. Also having the ability to work with an amazing director in Jessica Lowe-Minor is so beneficial. She is an amazing person ad never stops working. She is an approachable person and it always willing to help you with anything. She makes the experience very worthwhile. On my second day working she asked me to sit on a meeting with a potential INIE member. It was great seeing how she goes about her business and handling it all with poise.
I am the Rentals Coordinator so most of my work lately has been setting up reservations and potential renters. I email all potential renters and confirm them and put them into our system. I have a standard operating procedure that I have to follow. It helps having the procedure so that way I always know exactly what to do when making a reservation.
One challenge that I had so far was finally figuring out how to do an invoice and send it the correct way. The videos we watched on this made it seem easy but for the first hour I was scrambling. But I eventually figured it out and was able to send it of for a client that is renting the space at INIE for an event.
INIE is a great place that is committed to helping nonprofits sustain and grow. They have amazing contacts and networking opportunities that truly enhance the overall growth of a nonprofit. This is the area that I am most interested in when it comes to nonprofits because I feel like this is the most important.
So two weeks ago Jessica had a meeting so she would not be in the office, she called into the office and told me to sit in on a conference call for her and take notes. It turned out that I would be listening in on the Sustainability Committee meeting. This was an amazing experience for me and I was able to learn a lot just hearing their collaboration. It was one of those moments where I was like “this is exactly the experience I wanted from this internship”. After the teleconference Jessica came in about an hour later and I gave her the notes and told her about my interest in this and she told me she will assign me to the committee. This was a great moment for me personally.
The picture below is the board room where I took the phone call for the teleconference.