By Co-Founder & Managing Director, Lisa Jackson, Ph.D.
Being at the founding stages of a startup like College for Social Innovation (CfSI) is a feeling unlike any other. Taking an innovative idea and transforming it into a scalable model to drive change is no small feat – you need a strong, dedicated team, who can communicate and work well together. While there is a lot of pressure at these early stages, there are also many rewards as you reach new milestones and see your team grow, along with its mission.
One of our recent milestones was our launch event, hosted on the new lawn in front of Boston City Hall. On Wednesday September 16th, over 100 of our friends and colleagues came to learn about and support this endeavor. My dear friend and colleague, Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education for the City of Boston, spoke about the need for the talent pipeline CfSI will generate over time and how critical social innovation is to city government (thank you to the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics for all your help and support!). Yusi Turell, Co-Director, Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise at the University of New Hampshire told the audience how important experiential learning is for undergraduate students and how excited the University is to be CfSI’s founding higher education partner.
While by all accounts the event was successful, it was some of the seemingly more mundane activities that took place before the event that made it so exciting for me. Things like,
sending emails to friends, family, colleagues asking them to come,
figuring out what my remarks would be,
unrolling the banner we used at the event that had our logo on it in bright orange – then figuring out how to hang it up,
meeting and working with 5 volunteers who came to blow up balloons, serve food
register guests, and hand out swag and, setting up tables and chairs on the lawn (praying the sun would go down just a little!).
“Sausage Making” as I call it is where I tend to derive my energy and excitement and we are definitely in the throes of that right now. We are building partnerships with colleges and universities, we are creating the selection process to identify what social sector organizations will take our Fellows, we are trying to find our Fellows a place to live when they come to Boston, we are continuing to build out our website and develop our CRM, and the list goes on and on…
While our team of four (including two interns from UNH) has done an awesome job to this point, now is the time to bring on more talent so we can accelerate the work and hit the goal of kicking-off the pilot cohort of Social Innovation Fellows in fall semester 2016. We are currently hiring two National Service Fellows to work with us. These two young leaders will play an integral role as members of College for Social Innovation's startup team, working closely with us to invent a whole new approach to a college education while pioneering a new approach to national service at the same time.
I invite you to check out our Indiegogo campaign where we are raising money to pay for these two Fellows, and contribute if you can. We appreciate any and all support.