Start It Up

I left you in suspense yesterday about what happened with the rest of my week.  I misled you slightly because Tuesday – Thursday were not all that exciting, but Friday was huge.  I actually accomplished one of the big goals I set for myself last year that I thought would take a lot longer to tackle!

What? What is it, you ask?

I am officially on the NYC advisory board for a non-profit called Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE which is pronounced “Nifty”.)  Very excited!

NFTE’s mission is to “provide programs to low-income students to encourage them to stay in school, recognize business opportunities, and plan for successful futures.”  They do this by teaching young people entrepreneurial skills and having them develop their own business plans.   The 2009 documentary TEN9EIGHT: Shoot For the Moon follows several teens who competed in NFTE’s 2009 National Business Plan competition.  (Not as good as Waiting for Superman, but pretty good! You can Netflix it if you like.)

How did this happen?  Patience, personal changes, and getting out there.  More specifically:

  1. I made a job change in 2009 that allowed me to have a more balanced life.
  2. I signed up for the NYC Service email list to learn more about volunteer opportunities in NYC.
  3. I learned about the United Way BoardServe program from the NYC Service email list, attended their Non Profit Board Service training in December 2009 , and realized this would be a great thing for me to do.
  4. I signed up for volunteer opportunities sponsored by my company this year, one of which was spending a couple of hours helping kids in a NFTE summer camp work on their business plans.  I loved it!
  5. I joined my company’s Community Involvement Committee and learned that my company provides grants to many education focused organizations including NFTE.
  6. I was the only member of the committee who attended when the NFTE Executive Director came in to speak with us at our office on a Friday afternoon this past December.
  7. When the Executive Director mentioned he was trying to overhaul his board I said “I am definitely interested” and sent him a follow up email the next day  (even though I assumed he would want someone with more “clout. ” I was wrong.)
  8. I did not cancel my meeting with the Executive Director this Friday even though I got a last minute fire drill from my new boss’s boss that had to be done by the end of the day.
  9. The choices I made earlier in life that are listed on my resume probably did not hurt (teaching for 4 years, getting my MBA from a top 10 school, managing a summer program that taught young girls how to create a business plan, etc…)

I am very excited about this opportunity.  This organization is aligned with the things I care about.  I really like the Executive Director and think he will do great things (he is new to the job.)  I am going to meet new people who care about the same things I do, learn a lot more about non profits, and have the opportunity to really give back in a meaningful way.

Maybe I will knock out all of my big goals in 2011?  It is only January 16th and I am on a roll!

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