As of this week I have now transitioned from my full-time role as Co-Founder of StartSomeGood.com to that of an advisor. Below is the post I wrote for the StartSomeGood blog sharing the news as well as reflecting on my journey as a changemaker — intertwined with the story of StartSomeGood — over the last three years.
Four years ago, in the middle of a dusty field in Ahmedabad, India, my life changed forever. I arrived in India an idealistic, if uncertain, wannabe policy wonk; I left the country with my mind and heart filled with visions of collaborative social change. On the surface, I spent my days coaching girls from the local community in ultimate frisbee, but really we were using sport as a tool to empower them as individuals, as leaders and as young women in their community. For the first time, I witnessed the power of a community coming together to create its future.
Three years ago, I joined my friend, Tom, in a number of brainstorms about how we could combine our shared passion for technology and social change and create a toolkit that would empower changemakers anywhere in the world — like our group in Ahmedabad, India — to create those new futures themselves. Spoiler Alert: the result was StartSomeGood.
Two and a half years ago, StartSomeGood went live to the world, my stomach filled with excitement, nerves and two weeks of excess caffeine. One of the greatest honors of my life has been cultivating and caring for a community of over 25,000 people from around the world, all together helping 200 (and counting!) new social ventures and projects become a reality through funds raised on our site.
Six months ago, I moved to Stockholm, Sweden. No, it wasn’t the weather, the meatballs or a desire to get better at building IKEA furniture that brought me here. It was an amazing woman that prompted the move. Though Stockholm and Ahmedabad might have little in common on paper, in both cases they have helped me renew and refocus my energy and goals.
Today, these four moments all come together as I transition from my full-time role with StartSomeGood to that of a committed and dedicated advisory board member. Just as seeing the world through the lens of a new culture in India shaped the trajectory of my life as a social entrepreneur, so too has my time in Sweden inspired me to take on some fresh projects here in my new community.
Bolstered by an incredibly talented and committed team around the world, and a truly visionary and inspiring CEO, I make this move knowing StartSomeGood is in great hands and I look forward to advising the team as we grow. As for me? I’ll be spending the rest of my life working on various new projects, but all towards the vision that began in Ahmedabad and that StartSomeGood embodies: creating a world where anyone feels empowered to be a changemaker. And rest assured that whatever I do, I still won’t be any good at building IKEA furniture.
A few visual highlights of the journey:
The first time I ever pitched the idea of StartSomeGood (then CrowdSplash):
The first-ever mockup of CrowdSplash:
The first ever StartSomeGood logo:
An early brainstorming session with my co-founder Tom, laying out our “big, hairy, audacious goal” of creating a world where every person has the tools to make good things happen:
Photos from our StartSomeGood launch party, held at the Case Foundation in Washington, DC, March 17, 2011:
Presenting StartSomeGood at a TechCocktail event in DC:
A typical StartSomeGood team meeting:
The DC-based team, in February, 2013:
Presenting StartSomeGood at the US State Department’s TechCamp in Ukraine:
It’s been an incredible journey and I’m excited for what StartSomeGood will become in the coming weeks, months and years!
Dusting off that old podcasting microphone of mine to host a new StartSomeGood project: The StartingGood podcast. For the first episode I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Charles Best of Donors Choose!
StartingGood Podcast - Interview with Charles Best of Donors Choose
For the first episode of the Starting Good Podcast, we talk with Charles Best, the Founder and CEO of Donors Choose. Donors Choose, one of the first websites to popularize the field of crowdfunding, allows public school teachers to create classroom project requests for needed resources and then enables donors to pick the educational projects they want to support. All told, Donors Choose has helped teachers raise over $170 Million.
Listen to this episode for Charles’ advice for social entrepreneurs and to hear how his mom’s delicious pear dessert served as a catalyst to launch what would become Donors Choose.