iMentor event at Google

Unfortunately I didn't get to stay through the entire event last night but I was there for awhile.  iMentor had a panel to talk about volunteerism. 

There are a few things about panels, they must have amazing moderators in order to make the conversations flow between all the people on stage or it ends up people just talking about themselves. We are having panels are the Womens Entrepreneur Festival this weekend and we are hoping our format will work.  We will see.

I went to the event because both Rachael Chang from and Jessamyn Waldman Rodriquez from Hot Bread Kitchen were on the panel.  Two companies I am involved with and two women I highly respect. 

The conversation began asking each panelist why they got into a career of social good and then an addition to that a few other things which was way too long but that is another story.  What we found out after time is how few people volunteer in NYC and NY State and certainly the question is how do we get more people to volunteer their time.

When my Mom moved to NYC she wanted so desperately to volunteer somewhere that she was interested in.  In the end, she did a lot of work for the Obama campaign but never found anything else fulfilling in NYC and btw, it wasn't so easy to find.  That is why I so like what Catchafire is doing.  Taking people who want to give back their time, their time means not photo copying paper for the office but using their professional skills sets.  Catchafire matches professionals with a non-profit that could use their skills for a short focused project.  I really believe she is on to something.  I know she is by the growth of ther business. 

Hot Bread Kitchen is essentialy changing the world one person at a time.  A different take on social good.  What is interesting is Jessamyn came up with the concept of Hot Bread Kitchen over 10 years ago and slowly retooled the idea in her mind until the time came.  I like that.  Perry Chen did the same thing with Kickstarter.  He came up with the idea 10 years ago. 

There are so many ways all of us can give back to our communities.  It is worth checking out each of the sites above.  I will say the only downfall of last nights event was how it was organized.  I was invited to go and had no idea there was a suggested donation.  They literally held Fred and I hostage downstairs and called us out on the table before letting us in if we didn't get $20 a piece.  It wasn't a big deal but the way they did it was completely unprofessional and aggressive.  Didn't win any points in my book…just for the record.