2019 Parents Fund Internship Grant Reflections: Blaise Servier

Blaise Servier

Internship Location: Ashoka

Journal Entry #1:

Hi there! My name is Blaise Sevier, and I am a rising 4th year in the Youth & Social Innovations (YSI) Program in the Curry School of Education. This summer I am interning with Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs -- individuals with innovative and practical ideas for solving social problems. More specifically, I am working on the Ashoka Changemaker’s team.

Ashoka Changemaker is one of many programs at Ashoka. It specifically uses the power of open challenges and social innovation knowledge to accelerate the rate of change. Some of the products that Ashoka Changemakers produces are social entrepreneurial boot camps, online courses, network mapping, and more. This summer I am working to prepare for the several social entrepreneurial boot camps.

One Bootcamp that I am learning more about now is the Emerging Innovators American Express Changemakers Bootcamp. Changemakers Bootcamp is a 2-3 day workshop and training event for new social entrepreneurs. The purpose of the changemakers Bootcamp is to build a community, explore both internal and external ventures, and learn skills (i.e., social entrepreneurial resilience skills) that fellows can use in their own lives. The value of the Changemakers Bootcamp is to prepare Ashoka Fellows, the selected social entrepreneurs, to make a positive, scalable change in their field.

So far, I have had a very positive experience here at Ashoka. Not only have I learned about the scope of my future internship work and how I can apply the skills from my major, but I have also learned about Ashoka’s progressive office structure.

The scope of my internship will be varied, but I know that I will be working under the direction of the Changemaker’s team to push through the current objectives: arrange various changemaker Bootcamps, and maintain partnerships with sponsors. In the first week of my internship, I have applied so many skills from my YSI major. Most notably, I have utilized our Logic Model from the Foundations of Social Innovation core class to work through and illustrate the American Express Emerging Innovators theory of change. Additionally, I have utilized skills learned in Elgin Cleckley's Intro to Design Thinking class ARCH 2070 to design a work plan sketch for a boot camp website.

The structure at Ashoka is unlike any workplace that I have been part of. To start, when you walk into the global office you are greeted with colorful walls, murals, whiteboards, and large inspirational sticky notes. Since Ashoka is in 93 countries around the world, the theme of the office reflects the diversity in style, food, communication and more. Just on my team, I have colleagues from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Austria, and Peru. Sometimes conversations shift from English to Portuguese to Spanish all in the same discussion.

The people at Ashoka are unlike anyone who I have met before. The Ashoka Talent Team (traditionally called an HR department) look for individuals who are empathetic, team-oriented, generous, patient, and very positive.

I am very much looking forward to what is to come with this internship. I have set goals this summer and look forward to continuing to check in with them throughout this journey.