First Person: Jennifer Chan of Exhibit Change on Early Lessons as an Entrepreneur
Jennifer Chan founded Exhibit Change to encourage impact through design thinking and to promote community building. The organization serves as a think tank for people to share ideas and designs, and to create healthier communities and neighborhoods. Here she tells Dowser what she learned in getting Exhibit Change off the ground.
Dowser: What’s something concrete and tangible you’ve learned in the last three months?
Chan: Make your ideas happen. I had an idea floating around in my head for a few weeks and I realized that the impact could only truly be realized when I set my fears aside and pushed forward, asked for help and executed my idea into an event. The event was called ‘Greening Ward 27′, it was a hands on community design charrette where we hosted 40 people. We brought together city councilor candidates, school trustee candidates, residents, activists, business owners and facilitators to talk about our vision for Ward 27, a downtown Toronto neighborhood with a wide range in economic status. We focused the areas live, work, play, eat and learn, around the concept of greening. We were able to get hundreds of community led ideas generated and a proposal of 5 project areas to increase community development and civic engagement.
What is a mistake or mishap you’ve learned from?
The sweetest juice is in the smallest fruits. Time is very valuable and there is always a really good event, conference, session, meeting, or person to meet, but that I can only do so much effectively. So, I am learning to say no. I am learning that things happen for a reason. And that the most value and sweetest juice is going to come from my most passionate and diligent work.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Chan