Impact Entrepreneurs Replication School: Week 5 Business Process Improvement – Day One
PSU’s Impact entrepreneurs, in partnership with Digital Divide Data and The Rockefeller Foundation, has been delivering Impact Sourcing Training to social entrepreneurs hand selected by Rockefeller. The training, hosted by digital Divide Data, is preparing these entrepreneurs from Africa and South Asia to launch or expand their own social enterprise initiatives in the Business Process Outsourcing space in their countries.
By Joel Barranger, MBA Candidate at Portland State University
My nerves were going crazy. I was walking into a room full of people I’d never met and only heard some stories about. They had already spent 4 weeks away from their homes, families and most of the comforts they enjoy in their countries. In total, there were representatives from 6 countries. This group was looking to me to teach them about business operations and processes. Considering what I’d heard about the participants, I wasn’t sure that they’d even find this subject matter interesting.
I’d taught in many different forums, including sessions with this subject matter. However, it was typically in front of Americans whose first language was English. Luckily, I have a great support network in the States and I had a facilitator in Cambodia. The best words I heard before I left the states were from my colleagues, re-assuring me that this would be no trouble for me at all. Neil, in particular, said “you have this natural way of teaching”. Thanks Neil, that helped me more than you know.
I’d spent countless hours working on content, from multiple sources. I’d sat cramped up on a flight from San Francisco to Seoul, S. Korea putting the finishing touches on my slides, only to find myself modifying them again the day before the kick-off (thank you Kathleen for your help!). I kept thinking to myself, “this is never going to end”. I had to step back and remind myself of an old quote, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good”. I shared this same quote with the group on the first day.
That first day came and went. In my opinion, we pulled it off brilliantly. It wasn’t perfect, there were flaws, but the most important part was that the students were more than satisfied. They shared their reflections at the end of the day. Some admitted they were not too thrilled about the subject matter and one was not sure how this subject could be approached. Others were quite thrilled to learn more and were really looking forward to the practical applications that would be forthcoming.
I was at ease, for now. I headed to dinner with Kathleen and discuss the many different aspects of how the 1st day had gone and I had a better sense of how to change future curriculum.