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Emily Spivack on reinventing the wheel

   /   May 5th, 2010News


Last week Changemakers interviewed our director, Emily Spivack, about her experiences as the founder of Shop Well with You, a body-image resource for women with cancer. Emily started Shop Well with You as an undergraduate at Brown University and, nine years later, the organization remains a core resource used by health professionals, social workers and women across the country. We thought her no-nonsense advice would be valuable to readers who are entrepreneurially inclined.

Key takeaways:

  • Find yourself a mentor. I worked with some amazing mentors along the way…I highly recommend trying to find a mentor when first starting out. I would meet with a handful of women every few weeks who had also started related citizen sector organizations and we’d share stories and tips – about building a board, fundraising, developing programs, managing staff.

  • Don’t settle for “no.” I know this has been said before, but for me, when someone would turn me down for funding, I would always see it as a temporary answer. “No” never meant “no.” I would interpret it as “come back later” or “try me again sometime soon.” I’d stay in touch with people, be persistent without being annoying (I hope!), and keep plugging away.

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you have an interest and passion for a particular cause, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to start your own organization…Check around and see if there’s a related organization that’s making an impact. Reach out to them to see if you could join forces. If I had encountered an organization that shared a similar mission to SWY, I would have contacted them to see if I could work with them. You can definitely…learn quite a bit from working within an existing organization.

Read the full interview here. And if you have any questions for Emily – or any suggestions of your own – please pass them along.

Photo: Instructables

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