The past two weeks I’ve encountered more interesting and amazing opportunities, as well some insight on how I’d like to frame my year. A few weeks ago I connected with Emily Weiner, a director of The Lewis Institute at Babson College. The Lewis Institute “employs Babson’s methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action as an accelerator for chance. They create unexpected and fruitful collaborations between those who believe that business is a force for good and that societal dilemmas can lead to powerful market opportunities.” Emily was kind enough to sit down with me and let me share what I hope to achieve this year. From there, we got brainstorming about different organizations I could work with. Emily invited me to sit in on a summer class she is teaching at Babson. The class had two guest speakers, both who were using business as an agent for change – I was hooked.
At the Emily class, Professor Elizabeth Goldberg spoke about a company she works very closely with, Made By Survivors. The company employs women rescued from slavery, and gives them high paying, respectable jobs metal-smithing jewelry in various parts of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Professor Goldberg was asked why her company chose a for-profit platform rather than the expected non-profit. Her answer stuck with me, “Because we believe in business as a solution.” I’m totally hooked. I have been searching for a way to structure a theme for my Insight year, and this might be it!
As a Babson graduate myself, I also had the opportunity to speak at Babson event for incoming students. I took a trip to Nantucket to welcome the students, and was asked to say a few words about my Babson experience, and of course, my Fellowship. As I struggle to find placements, and sometimes find myself generally overwhelmed with my responsibilities, this was the perfect time for me to sit down and think. I had to succinctly express my past experiences and how they helped me arrive at the Insight Fellowship. In doing that, everything seemed a lot less overwhelming, and I had some clarity again.
Just before my Babson event, Kartik Madiraju, the 2013 Insight Fellow, invited me to New York City to sit in on a training session he was hosting at the United Nations. When I arrived at the office the morning of the training, Kartik answered the phone and said, “I’m not sure we’ll even be having a session, there seems to be an issue with the booked room.” When I got upstairs I yet again saw Insight practicing what they preach. Kartik was calm and collected talking to the secretary using Insight buzz phrases like, “Can you help me understand that?” or “I’m hearing that you need another representative from the office, is that correct?” Of course, Kartik is fantastic at what he does, and we were able to find a space to continue the training. I’m so grateful Kartik let me observe because it felt like a glimpse at what I could be doing after my fellowship. When I practice, I struggle with facilitating, and that was certainly one of Kartik’s strong points, so I’m so happy to have seen a few tips and tricks from someone who was in my position not so long ago.
August 1-15, 2015 – Concord, MA
After a summer of being introduced to some amazing people, I decided to make an attempt at returning the favor by introducing David, Insight’s President, and Enid, Insight’s Operations Director, to two of my favorite people in the world – my parents. I picked up some lunch from one of my preferred restaurants in town, La Provence, and the five of us got to chatting. We ended up talking about some of the different places we’ve experienced through travel, and that made us all think, “who or what was it that gave us the travel bug?” I was lucky enough to be sitting with the two people who passed it on to me. It’s reassuring, to say the least, that my parents are as excited for this year as I am.
Earlier this week I had another amazing opportunity to observe an Insight Partners workshop, this time with a focus on Difficult Conversations. Stevenson Carlebach, a Senior Consultant at Insight Partners, joined David to co-train the two-day session at The MathWorks in Natick, MA. I had been a student in Stevenson and David’s Mediation course at Harvard through the Program on Negotiation, and was very excited to see them both outside the classroom setting and through a new lens as the Insight Fellow. Rather than learning strictly content, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how to engage with an audience and facilitate a workshop – two things that have made their way onto my list of learning objectives for the year.
Early on this summer, David and I talked about what an ideal mindset would be for sharing this content over the next year. I realized that what it boils down to is heightening people’s awareness of the material. I continued to think about that and found that a key skill is being able to adjust how I share Insight’s work. After talking to Stevenson I was wowed by his experience in catering specifically to what makes the most sense for his clients. While I’m sure it takes a lot of work and experience to obtain such a skill, I’m grateful I had some exposure so I can continue to reflect on it and incorporate it into my year.
Both Stevenson and David have an incredible knack for being incredibly present during their classes and workshops. Their genuine curiosity shows their audience and students how engaged they are as facilitators, and demonstrates how much they care about their work and how it can impact the people they work with. Here at Insight, curiosity is a mindset, and I’ve found that it’s something I need to work on. I’ve found that I am exercising my curiosity muscle, just in very low stakes situations. For example, asking my seven year old cousin about his extensive knowledge about airplanes, or by trying to figure out why he likes hot dogs and hot dog buns, but not the two together. Two months ago I would have let that slide, but now I’m dying to find out why!
On a completely different note, with the help of Dan Green, I am on my way to securing a placement in Uganda. Hopefully in my next entry I’ll be able to share some very exciting news!