Remember when you were in elementary school, at the very end of summer, that night before the first day of classes when you would lie in bed in anticipation and think about how the following year would be so awesome!? How you would become the coolest and most popular kid in school by being the homerun kicker/defensive monster on the kickball field during recess? How you would become such a hot commodity among the ladies that the hottest girl in your grade (or at least the first one to hit puberty) would be your girlfriend (what do you do with a girlfriend anyways? Err, hold hands, duh)? When you had all those hopes and dreams to make a huge impact on the world (the schoolyard) for the coming school year? I find myself in a similar situation right now, but instead of the schoolyard, I have a country in mind, Ecuador. Tomorrow is my first day of work as a volunteer at Catapulta, an incubator for startup companies.
Earlier this year, when I was sitting at my desk at UBS, I was thinking about my next move and decided that I wanted to move to an emerging market with the general goal of making as big an impact as I possibly could given my background. In my opinion, I had valuable experience (3 years of i-banking) and wanted to leverage it as much as possible. My train of thought was that a waste of talent/experience/effort is a waste of life for more than just yourself. I´d crossed off teaching English early on because I felt that anybody from the US could do it. I nixed volunteering with an environmental NGO because although the environment is important to me, it is not something I had much experience (interest) in. In the end, it came down to microfinance and Catapulta. I chose Catapulta because it was the best opportunity for me to leverage my knowledge, build upon my skills and most importantly, make the biggest impact.
I may be consulting with entrepreneurs around the country in order to help develop operational efficiencies and financial projections for businesses, coordinating workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs, or fundraising for Catapulta. To be honest, I´m not exactly sure what kind of role I will be filling in the next year. Nor can I be sure of the impact of my efforts. Elementary school wasn´t exactly a cake walk for me and I´m not sure how the next year will play out. But right now, I have the same positive hopes and dreams in mind as I did that night before the first day of classes. And as I did on the first day of school, I will put my best foot forward tomorrow to see what kind of difference I can make.
I am updating this blog in order to raise awareness for my fundraiser¨"Race for the Fallen." Please visit the following link to support and read about why I am supporting this cause. Thank you.
Jericho Project - Race for the Fallen