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StartingBloc: Thoughts from an Alum

Often in my journey, I am asked my opinion on different experiences, affiliations, and networks that other young changemakers are pursuing. Recently, I was asked about my opinion on StartingBloc, an innovation fellowship that gathers “entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and  innovators working to create change” and connects them to “tribe” to help them access to the “resources, co-conspirators, projects and support they need to create the impact they want.” I was a Fellow of StartingBloc in 2013 while I was in graduate school and starting the groundwork that has now become Civic Creatives, and I was matriculated in the summer 2013 co-hort, LA13, in Santa Monica, CA.

The Question

Hi De,Hope this message finds you well. My apologies for the delayed response– our graduate program runs on a 8-week quarter system, and keeps me on my toes.I will be applying to the New York StartingBloc 2015 Institute, and just had a couple of questions:1) Can you briefly describe your experience? People you interacted with, activities participated in, skills/tools learned. I watched the online promo videos on the StartingBloc website, but it would definitely help to hear directly from a past participant.

2) What did you gain most from the program?

3) Who would you recommend StartingBloc to?

4) Any additional helpful information.

Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. Look forward to hearing your insights.

Best,

Axxxx Jxx

My Response

1) Can you briefly describe your experience? People you interacted with, activities participated in, skills/tools learned. I watched the online promo videos on the StartingBloc website, but it would definitely help to hear directly from a past participant.
StartingBloc was and continues to be a great support system for navigating the entrepreneurial world in the US and abroad. From connecting with Design for America, to learning how to master idea pitches and shine in any room, there are numerous skills I’ve built and/or finessed as a direct outcome of my experience. I am not someone who is heavily active programmatically as an alum, but I feel connected to our tribe through social media and conversations that we sustain when we are together. I always find it heartwarming that any time I reach to everyone with a question, a “big ask,” or a dose of inspiration, the feedback and response is always one of support. I appreciate that greatly.
2) What did you gain most from the program?
The StartingBloc network and opened doors are what I value most. Because of being a StartingBloc fellow, I was able to navigate to be supported in the Clinton Global Initiative University, Points of Light Civic Accelerator, Chicago Ideas Week semi-finalist, and even be an Echoing Green finalist. Investment opportunities, fellowships, and awesome competitions continue to be sent my way.
3) Who would you recommend StartingBloc to?
I’ve largely recommended StartingBloc to friends and colleagues who I know truly care about making an impact in the world. I don’t often recommend StartingBloc to those who seek to just “tiptoe” around their passions, but instead those who are willing to dive deeply and boldly into taking creative solutions and making them happen. This is not necessarily to say that I only recommend entrepreneurs. Some friends I’ve pointed toward StartingBloc have a passion for supporting innovation, social changemaking, and ideas, so I also recommend them as those roles are vital.
4) Any additional helpful information.
If you’re seeking to dive deeply, boldly, and fearlessly into your awesomeness, do it with StartingBloc.

Share your thoughts.

What are the experiences, skills, and benefits that you seek from your networks and support systems? What are the tools and resources necessary for navigating changemaking in the world? If you are a StartingBloc alum, share your thoughts in the comments about your experience with the program.