So the semester has just reached the halfway point and things with Driftour have been great! We have been able to partner with some great Tallahassee business, like Axios Lifestyle Spa and War Horse, to plan what we call “Immersions” for our subscribers. I have accompanied Driftour on two immersions so far and got to learn how to do some glass blowing at Magnolia Glass Studio and made smoothies at Axios!
One thing that I really love about Driftour is how it connects people with the small businesses around Tallahassee. During the immersions, our subscribers get to meet the owners, hear the stories behind the businesses, and really identify with each business’s mission. When an immersion is over, the attendees have a greater appreciation for small businesses and the participating businesses hopefully have gained new life long customers. Being the daughter of a small business owner, I really see the value in this.
Aside from all the fun activities, I have been working mostly on marketing and social media for Driftour. Exposure and customer education are two of our biggest challenges, and our goal is to grow our subscription base. Unfortunately, I have had a few trips to the hospital this semester, but I am hopping back on the horse. This week I am trying to the learn the art of Facebook Ads, which has been a lot more challenging than I thought- but hopefully by the end of this semester I will be a social media guru.
I was really excited that I got the opportunity to do the SEI Internship program a second time around. After heckling Mr. Manciagli for another class to take, he suggested I try out a different internship. I decided to go for something totally different than my first office administration like internship with INIE and pursue a position with Driftour and amazing founder Val Rodriguez. Many in the SEI community know Val, but this was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with her.
Driftour is in its beginning stages and still overcoming a lot of operating challenges. I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with a start-up and see the decision-making and thought process behind overcoming the various and numerous obstacles that so many start-ups face. If you don’t know what Driftour is, I highly recommend visiting the website and checking out the different subscriptions available. In the short time I’ve been working with Driftour, I’ve gotten to know Tallahassee and all it has to offer better than I have in the past 3 years living here.
With the year coming to an end there are a lot of things on INIE’s plate. We have been working on preliminary planning for the NESI conference in March and I have been able to meet the board and sit in on some meetings which has been a really cool experience! NESI stands for Nonprofit Enterprise and Social Innovation summit and the goal is to bring leaders from all different sectors to create an event that’s really positive for all who attend. There are different tracks with different workshops to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. That’s primarily what we’re working on at INIE right now- figuring the tracks and workshops that will give the most to those who attend. It’s difficult because there is so many amazing ideas that have been brought to the table, it makes this decision process tough. However, I will not be there for all the planning for this conference as my internship is coming to an end in December. I do plan on volunteering for this event and I’m really excited to see how it comes together.
Tonight was the night of the event I had been working on for E-month- the Social Entrepreneurship meetup. And I think it went really well! There was a great turnout from the people who are already involved in Social Entrepreneurship as well as those who want to get involved. It was nice to see so many FSU students there as well. Representatives from DOMI, Redeye, Commu, and more made this a really great networking opportunity for them. We had food and great conversation! I was afraid it might be awkward because there was no facilitation, however, I was proven wrong. Everyone was engaged and overall I feel the event was a success. There were a couple things I would’ve changed if I could do it again.
- Contact more Social Enterprises in area (and hound them to come)
- Introduce INIE and some of the amazing people we had in the room at the beginning of the meetup
- Have some note cards with questions for some of the more timid people in the room
- Have a couple interactive and optional activities (perhaps a big poster posing a question with some markers for people to write their answers)
As many of you know, the month of November in the Tallahassee- Leon County area is E-month (entrepreneurship month). The past couple weeks at INIE I have been working on our engagement in this. I have been attending meetings with my mentor who is on the E-month board at the Office of Economic Vitality. It has been really interesting to see the engagement between all the partners. Everyone is working together to further the presence, value, and recognition of entrepreneurship in the community while also furthering their own organizations interests. I can see benefit across the board. INIE recognizes the importance of nonprofits and social enterprises being a part of this, to help close the gap between the sectors for profit, nonprofit, and socially innovative businesses. My mentor has put me in charge of a Social Entrepreneurship Meetup event that will be held in our space. It will be a mixer event where people have the opportunity to converse and connect with others in the community with similar goals and mindsets. I have been working on contacting local social enterprises to attend as well as students who have genuine interest in this field. So if any of you reading this would be interested in this event, it’s Monday Nov 7th, from 5:30-7. Come out! It will be a great time!
In 2008 my mom went on a trip to Vietnam, and it changed her life.
She went with her best friend as support during the adoption of her son. They spent a week at the orphanage, getting to know her new son and going through the proper rituals and procedures so that she could take him home to be a part of her family. But not only did they fall in love with the little boy, they fell in love with all of the kids. My mom wanted to bring them all home, but she knew my dad probably wouldn’t be too happy about that. So she promised them she’d come back the next year, and she did. And the year after that and the year after that.
She felt really inspired by the children and this prompted her found Big Big World- a nonprofit to support these children and help them pursue an education after high school which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. I have seen the difference that she had made in the lives of these kids and how much they have grown and succeeded just because they have some people who believe in them. This is the reason the nonprofit sector is something I have always held close to my heart.
However, I also saw all the obstacles and struggles my mom has faced over the years. Founding and running a successful nonprofit is not easy, and seeing my mom have such a hard time when all she wanted to do was make a difference was sad to see.
So, when I heard about the opportunity to intern for the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence I was very excited. INIE is a nonprofit fro nonprofits. Our whole goal is to provide the resources to local nonprofits they need to succeed. There is space to rent so organizations who don’t have offices can come and have a professional workspace. We host many workshops on topics geared to helping nonprofits get on their feet, thrive, and prosper.
So far I have met so many amazing people. The executive director, Jessica, is an inspiring and passionate woman and I love getting to work closely with her everyday. I have been working on our event rental system and getting that organized so we can provide the best possible service to our clients. I have also been working on organizing a Social Entrepreneurship Meetup that we are hosting in our office to try and help those interested in social innovation have a forum to network and speak about their interests. There are a lot of neat projects coming up and I am so excited to be helping a nonprofit who’s goal is to help others work and grow and better our community!