Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach
This final blog post will include my last week as well as my wrap up half week. I am truly floored at how quickly my summer has gone by. I have loved every minute regardless of how stressful, scary or frustrating those moments were. Speaking of all three of the adjectives, my event was last weekend! It happened, and people came! I was shocked. The week before I had every nightmare possible about the event, anything that you could imagine going wrong is what I imagined and 100 things no sane person would think of.
Did things go wrong? Heck yes. Did we recover and still have an amazing evening? Of course. It was a blast and my friends and family were amazingly supportive. I met so many fun, interesting and well connected people and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. There were about 100 people there at the peak of the event and the night was sunny and beautiful. It was over in a flash and I almost passed out in the car on the way home. We had sushi, Asian salads, Asian wings, all kinds of vegetable tempura, pot stickers and much more. We had drinks of all kinds, people even drank enough to try tango dancing with the professionals that we brought in. The band played beautifully whenever I stopped running around and actually listened to them. I made all the centerpieces myself and everyone complimented them. The raffle was very successful and our items looked great. The evening didn’t go perfectly, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
It is crazy to be writing thank you notes for an event that I feel like I started planning just yesterday. My boss was very happy with the event and it actually ended up making a good amount of money for our cause! I am very relieved to be done but I have learned so much from this process and part of me wished I could give it another try. I just feel like I could make it even better given a second try.
Because this is my last post I wanted to quickly talk about my co-workers and everything I learned from them and then look at the overall lessons I have garnered from this experience. The people who work at ITEMP and The GODS CHILD Project are a pretty amazing group. I will start with my bosses. Jon Okstad and Katie Wolfe have taught me an immense amount. They are so professional, yet never cold. Katie is incredibly sweet and has taught me that honey really is more effective than vinegar, a lesson that has very often gone over my head. Jon is a taskmaster that GETS THINGS DONE, his commitment to his work and belief in our programs is contagious and he has shown me how powerful leading my example can be.
Rebecca and Ross were the interns who I worked with every week, they were my comrades in the trenches and I will miss them so much. Ross was great at networking and was constantly giving me pointers on how to better market myself. I am usually not focused on image or connections and would prefer to just keep my head down and work, I forget how important networking and marketing yourself can be and Ross was great at reminding me. He made me realize that it didn’t really matter how good I was at my job if I didn’t have the connections or marketing skills to get a job in the first place. Rebecca was an incredible influence this summer as well. She has a true passion and fire for righting the injustices in the world. Not only did she inspire me with her own dedication but she also validated my own desire and passion for these issues. Often times when you are radical about recognizing human rights violations and trying to fix them people think you are a fanatic. It is an uncomfortable subject that most would rather not talk about and many figure that the problems will just take care of themselves. Rebecca’s unapologetic attitude about bringing these issues to peoples attention and her drive to fix them made me feel so much more comfortable committing myself to this cause and pursuing it in a fashion that was as dedicated and passionate as I think it deserves.
I have also learned that although no organizations is perfect there are places out there doing some pretty amazing work for those less fortunate than themselves. I have made connections with all kinds of amazing and inspiring people at this job. I have figured out that although I don’t want to work specifically with human trafficking victims that I do want to work with those who are having their rights violated. I have learned an incredible amount about the non-profit world and I am not entirely sure if I want to work for a non-profit or not. I think I will be better suited working in the government trying to fix things in a different way. I certainly do like the sort of rouge way that non-profits swoop in on a problem and try to do something about it without waiting for all the gears in government to start turning.
I loved Minneapolis and think it is a pretty great city, I would certainly live here again. My friends from this summer were amazing and I will miss them and the city more than I can express here. It has been an incredible summer and I have the fellowship program at Cornell as well as those here at the Institute to thank for it. Thank you so much.