Something I don’t think I’ve talked about nearly enough is how amazing the concept of this fellowship is. Not only do I get to gain real-life work experience every day at KIPP, but the Foundation also provides us with invaluable “learning sessions” every other week. At these sessions, we get to hear from interesting members of the Columbus community and to ask them questions about their personal experiences.
A few weeks ago, we got to hear from Doug Kridler, the Executive Director of the Foundation, about the path he took to get where he is today and why he loves Columbus. He gave us some amazing life advice with a bunch of fun anecdotes sprinkled throughout. And a few weeks before that, we heard from a panel of diverse members of the Columbus community about their work, which varied from empowering kids in foster care to a spoken word poet who wrote and performed a special piece at Columbus’s Bicentennial celebration.
This past week, we spoke with Jason Moore of Fulcrum Creatives about the concept of “benefit corporations” (or “B Corps”) and the importance of branding in marketing. I hadn’t heard much about B Corps before, but the concept really intrigued me. The certification comes from a corporation demonstrating their commitment to positively impacting their community. He talked about how much it really matters that every employee can answer three questions about their employer in the same way: “who are we? what do we do? why do we do it?” If this can be done, then the corporation’s “brand” is truly cemented, and they will be able to effectively show observers what they are trying to do and (hopefully) gain their support. I’d never heard branding talked about in such a direct, easily explainable way, and I found it fascinating.
We also had the chance to attend an etiquette luncheon this week, which besides providing a free meal (I’m a poor college student who appreciated that aspect of it!) taught us how to properly conduct ourselves in a professional eating setting. It was a bit of an embarrassing moment for me as I realized just how little I knew previously how to make myself appear professional and impressive while eating. Definitely gained some valuable skills from that! (Did you know you’re supposed to keep your hands on the table the entire duration of a meal so that you look engaged? Because I certainly did not.) I’m just feeling very thankful to the Columbus Foundation for all of these cool, enriching experiences that they give us outside of our specific programs!