Advice to the Echoing Green Finalists
Tonight, the Finalists for the 2012 Echoing Green Fellowship will convene in New York City to begin the process for this year’s selection for our next class of Fellows. Their whirlwind weekend begins with our annual Big Bold Benefit with special guest Chelsea Clinton, where they will have sixty seconds to pitch their enterprises in front of nearly five hundred people. It can be a little unsettling (and exhilarating), to say the least. Mark Hecker, a 2011 Fellow and founder of Reach Incorporated, says that his favorite part of the benefit was when his pitch was over—we imagine that will be true for most of the Finalists!
Mark’s advice to Finalists: “Be honest and be yourself.” It’s a fairly straightforward suggestion, even outside of our selection process. It takes much more effort to be inauthentic than it does to just be who you are—after spending so much time together, judges and fellows Finalists will be able tell if you’re not. More than anything, we want to hear their story, understand their motivations, and get a sense of how they will withstand the highs and lows that come with being an entrepreneur.
Less than one percent of the applicant pool has made it to this weekend, so we think they’re a pretty impressive bunch. As Mark says, that means it’s also an incredible opportunity to learn. All of the Finalists, along with all of the evaluators, bring different life experiences and their own learnings from creating enterprises in their communities and issue areas. We hope that everyone takes a moment to create connections as leaders for social change—regardless of the outcomes.
Following the Benefit, Finalists begin a series of interviews with individuals who may have expertise in the issues areas they are addressing, or the regions in which they are operating, or those who have started enterprises themselves. They will be grilled on their ideas, business models, knowledge of the field, their abilities to garner more resources, and how they handle themselves under enormous pressure. Getting through the first interview is likely the most difficult—we understand. Mark questioned whether he belonged at Finalist Weekend, but after some encouragement from our staff and staying calm with those first few judges, he sailed through.
So, our advice to Finalists? Just keep breathing! It will be an exhausting forty-eight hours, but enjoy the experience as much as you can. More people than you know are rooting for you.
And a little secret about the weekend that even the Finalists may not want to tell you? We bring in a professional photographer to take some polished pictures of everyone—and yes, a little makeup is involved. Hey, we never said this was going to be easy.
It’s also a tough weekend for Echoing Green—not like it is for the Finalists—but on Monday, we begin the difficult task of selecting our next class of Fellows. Mark said that after his Finalist Weekend, he couldn’t imagine a single person not being selected as a Fellow. In many ways, we feel the same.
But, this weekend is also one of the biggest highlights of our year. Some of the most impressive individuals, committed to changing the world, are sharing their vision with us. It gives us tremendous hope and leaves us incredibly humbled to be surrounded by so much drive, passion, and innovation.
Echoing Green Live
May 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM
Fellows in Brief, May 2013
May 23, 2013 at 10:04 PM
echoinggreen: thx! RT @modelcitizen: @echoinggreen leading the charge in funding #socent. My kind of people. :) #openco http://t.co/3eUTPkvmLv
May 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM
How do I apply for a grant?
May 22, 2013 at 04:00 PM
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