Event Recap: Defy Ventures Business Coaching Night

Last Tuesday I had the amazing opportunity of being introduced to Defy Ventures. If you’ve never heard of this organization then you’re missing out on helping with an amazing mission. Defy helps formally incarcerated inmates take the skills they learned while being street entrepreneurs and harnesses those traits to help them build thriving legal businesses. These street entrepreneurs are turned into Entrepreneurs in Training (EIT) at Defy. Most of the stories that we heard were about people being put away for drug related actively stemming from hard life circumstances that most people find hard to even fathom.

The night started off with me uncomfortably entering and not knowing what to expect besides people pitching their business ideas. After getting settled the staff quickly corralled us into another room to finish getting the room set up. When we re-entered we went through a human tunnel only to be greeted with bear hugs at the end. Before the evening even got started you could feel the love and passion for the work that was being done throughout the room.

We also participated in a “Step to the Line” exercise that really helped people understand the difference (and quite a few similarities) between those that had been incarcerated and those of us who were lucky enough to be on the other side of the line.

After getting to know one another that’s when the pitching got started. What I liked was that most of the business pitches weren’t huge, difficult, and/or expensive ideas. They ranged from industrial kitchen cleaning, dog walking/board, personal training, and so forth. All of these sounded achievable, and these people just need a little more business and marketing mentoring.

I’m glad to say that I’m not the only one who thinks that this organization is amazing. There were probably more volunteers then EIT’s at the event. It was a very packed (both with people and love) room. Also, famous folks can see the impact Defy is making. Just take a look at Sir Richard Branson’s blog post about them.

Okay enough with me gushing about this organization. Be sure to check them out for yourself and follow my blog to hear more about my experiences with this group, because that event isn’t the end of it.

Have I gotten you excited about volunteering? Then click here.

Can you only donate to help this program continue? No worries, just click here.


S.H.E Summit Press Event

via ClaudiaChan.com

All my friends in San Francisco know that I am a serial volunteer. I love to help out at events where I’m interested in the organization and the mission that they’re working towards.

So I thought that it was a perfect match that the  first NYC event I volunteered for was the S.H.E (She Helps Empower) Summit Press Event. S.H.E Summit events are happening all this week with the official conference kicking-off this Friday. The line-up looks amazing and hopefully I’ll be able to still make it to some of the conference after work. If not I’ll be closely monitoring what happens through Twitter.

For the actual event I helped at it was held at the BCBGMaxaria Showroom near Times Square. I also thought this was a perfect match since I used to work for them in college and immediately returned my paycheck with all the clothes I bought.

It was great to see so many amazing women early on a Monday morning networking and prepping for the inspiring week ahead. There seem to be a good mix of press that came to listen to the Sallie Krawcheck and Claudia Chan as they started of this busy week.

After reliving the high of the networking/volunteering buzz I hope I’m able to find more exciting events like this to attend and chronicle on this blog. If anyone knows of similar events or great non-profits to help out please let me know. I can’t wait to get to know the city, the inspiring women who work here, and the impactful non-profits that are run here.