It’s an amazing feeling seeing your name in print, especially among the names of others that are so highly regarded in the social enterprise world. SEEED Summit “is a collaboration between Brown University and Social Venture Partners Rhode Island (SVPRI), is the first national conference that focuses on what is needed to build an effective social enterprise ecosystem that can drive economic development. It aims to convene all ecosystem stakeholders including practitioners, business leaders, academics, impact investors, students and policymakers.“
I was invited to host a lunch discussion and sit on a panel both focused on building social enterprises. You can see the full agenda here.
For the last year, I’ve been going to conferences and events and listening to people say things I already know over and over. I was ready to take a break from the conference circuit. It stopped making sense to spend all that money to go to an event for a few new connections or to hang out with old friends.
I was extremely excited when Kelly Ramirez, the conference organizer, asked me to speak. (I will admit she wanted my boss, but he was already scheduled to attend another conference). At the same time, I had a ton of nerves. It’s always a little nerve racking (for me anyway) to be put in a room with a bunch of really smart people and think they might ask a question you might now know the answer to.
But here’s what I learned I have a lot of great things to say, and I might not have all the answers, but I have things to say that people want to hear and there will be others who have the answers that I don’t have. I need to take some time to get comfortable with the fact that I’m someone who has something to add to the conversation, and as Sheryl Sandberg would say “lean in” especially since this is the place I’ve wanted to be from the beginning.
Check out this local spotlight featuring yours truly on the Nonprofit Help L.L.C. Blog. Nonprofit Help L.L.C. is a provider of an array of services to help increase nonprofit program capacity through virtual administrative services.
Life is busier than normal right now. I was in NYC for a few days for Investor’s Circle last week and then went straight to Baltimore for Net Impact. When I left I was afraid that I would finish it exhausted and sick. Luckily, that didn’t happen and I actually ended it feeling pretty upbeat (and exhausted).
I made a lot of good contacts at Investor’s Circle, which made the trip alone worth it. Also, two of the companies whose plans I read were among the 12 pitching for investment, which was great to see. Three of the others that I read but didn’t make it to the pitch stage were exhibiting which was also nice to see. Overall it was a great learning experience. Seeing how angel investing deals work from the inside out by getting to sit in as note taker among investors was an experience that is truly invaluable.
Jigar Shah was part of the final panel and he gave a great presentation on how angel investors need to look up more often as to who the next investors will be and how to get their investments ready for that. This trip absolutely solidified my interest in impact investing and I’m looking forward to learning more about it.
I was also lucky to spend some time with Dawn Edwards of Mission Markets. It’s always great to be around successful women who are willing to share their stories and advice.
Net Impact was a lot more fun. I lost the draw of panel choosing on the first day, so I was a little disappointed. But, as part of my volunteer role, I hosted an intimate dinner focused on impact investing, which was fun, interesting, and led to some great connections. The last day of Net Impact was much better than the first. I sat in on a great panel featuring Lisa Nitze of Mission Measurement, who is interested in teaching in the AU Social Enterprise program. I spoke to her afterwards and am hoping to connect with her soon.
Also, the final keynotes at Net Impact were amazing. Lisa Hall of Calvert Foundation was inspiring. Jigar Shah for the second time in a week helped me understand what it means to be a successful entrepreneur and assist others with doing the same. Finally, Auret van Heerden almost brought me to tears with the story of how he was tortured and persevered, and has spent his career work for equality, currently with the FLA.
I didn’t think I had learned as much as I did until I was in class last night and had a ton of random knowledge to share. Another successful week!
Today I did a short video interview for the AU Social Enterprise program about what I did during my summer vacation. At first thought, I didn’t think I have much to talk about, but once I did I realize that I had an amazing summer. Here are the highlights:
I must say I’m a lucky gal and I have a lot to be thankful for!
I’m stressed. Thinking back of all the times I’ve been really stressed out over my (relatively) short life, I can only think of one time I’ve been more stressed than I am now. I think my problem is that I have stress in a number of different parts of my life: school (which hasn’t even started yet), work, wedding (too much to name), fellowships, event organizing. Normally, I have one part of my life that’s stressful and I find that much more manageable.
I know I large part of my problem is me. I’m wound rather tight sometimes and there are so many things out of my control right now that are making me antsy. Just the thought of all of the things I have to do this fall stresses me out (for me the fall starts in 2 weeks). Luckily, I just took a vacation - 6 days at the beach <3. I got to relax, but at the same time a week of (almost - deleting junk emails doesn’t count) unplugging completely made me even more stressed since I didn’t do any work during that time and now I have some more things piled onto my plate.
I know everything will get done - I’m not the type of person who can handle not getting things done to the best of my ability and on time - but I’ve found myself wondering how I’m going to do all this and get to sleep, eat, and see my finance. Luckily, I have the best fianceever.
So when the whole word is coming at you, how do you stay focused and calm?
I received notice today that I’m a fellow (again)! Huge thank you to Investor’s Circle, and especially Rachele, for selecting me. The 2012 MBA Fellowship is for MBA students looking to learn more about and pursue careers in impact investing. Since I’m not an MBA student I consider myself lucky to be a part of the program. I’m looking forward to reviewing business plans of investment ready social enterprises and all there is to learn about making investment decisions and due diligence. This fellowship requires that I sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) so while I might tell you a little bit about what I’m doing you won’t get any of the juicy details…sorry!
p.s. sorry it’s been so long since my last post…I’m trying to squeeze some fun into my summer and I hope you are too!