Reflections on a summer of learning and discovering personal values and strengths
by Amanda Bamford, November 2016
Since discovering social enterprises back in my first year as a Sauder School of Business undergraduate student, I’ve been keenly interested in working within the social impact space to potentially quell the dissonance between my interest in business and my desire to do something good for humanity. While I once believed that positions within the social enterprise space were few-and-far-between—that you basically had to found a company which I am not certain I would ever do—this experience opened my eyes to so many more possibilities about how I could do good for the world through business.
Over the summer, I worked with Awake Labs, an early-stage social venture that seeks to improve autism care through a device that can help monitor anxiety. While working with Awake Labs, I produced digital marketing and social media content during the crowdfunding campaign for the development of their wearable device called Reveal. The work I did encompassed creating Facebook ad campaigns and regularly posting relevant and interesting social media content. Through my work, I helped Awake Labs expand their existing market research information.
I also provided communications support to the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub (CCS iHub). I was responsible for creating communications assets for the purpose of promoting the upcoming call-for-applications for the 2017 cohort of social ventures. I also interviewed over a dozen interns and social entrepreneurs (both those currently in the program and alumni) and wrote narrative articles about their experiences with the CCS iHub, impact investing, and the social impact sector in Vancouver.
I can’t really pinpoint one key learning from this experience. I have changed and grown as a person too much to really narrow it down to one thing. I’m definitely a lot more efficient in my work and have a greater appreciation for the scarcity of time. I understand what type of work motivates me the most—generally activities where I am learning and thinking—and that sometimes your work can be tough and that’s okay. I also just have a much better appreciation for how important employee-company fit is, as a bad fit can make or break an experience. Efficiency, intrinsic motivation, and fit are all things you hear about in business school but I had never really applied that knowledge to myself before. Prior to this internship, I severely underestimated all three and now I know what type of work motivates me the most and I know when I’m feeling the most productive so I can schedule my work for the day accordingly. I’m very pleased that I’ve been given the opportunity to come to these realizations now when I’m still a student opposed to later in my career.
Moving forward, with three years left in my undergraduate degree, I’m enthusiastic to focus more of my studies around social impact and responsible business strategies, as well as marketing. For me the Sarah Dodds summer internship at the CCS iHub has meant gaining the confidence that I can turn my interest in social impact into a solid career that I will love and be proud of. There are more opportunities in the impact space than I had ever imagined and I have been inspired to seek out other values-centered organizations where I can work to make a positive, tangible impact.