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April 2012

April 24, 2012

Better Than College

by Theresa VanderMeer, Founder of WORK+SHELTER and The Lotus Odyssey

Remember undergrad? Semesters and weeks of learning fascinating, paradigm-shifting ideas and concepts? Marx, Freud, Kant? That was great. But THEN the real, working world happened. You quickly found your Anthropology, English, or other generic liberal arts degree to be largely irrelevant to prospective employers or even in your own initiatives. Further, even when you did get a job or launched your start-up even seemingly basic tasks like creating a project timeline or updating an Excel spreadsheet had to be learned. Suddenly what you could actually “do” mattered.

Don’t get me wrong - I value my liberal arts education more than anyone I know, but even for those of you who did pursue a more “employable” or “practical” degree, you still may feel like there’s a lot left to learn.

So, have an hour or more and want to actually learn how to “do” stuff? NYC is chock full of amazing resources for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike. Below are a few of the organizations on my radar that are teaching useful skills. Also, if you know of any courses or institutions that are relevant for female entrepreneurs we’d love to hear about it! Feel free to use the comment field to share. 


Who they are, in their own words: Skillshare is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone.  
Expertise: They’re low-risk. Some classes start at just $1!
Available classes: here!
Recommended class: Building the Machine that Builds the Business

Other Skillshare Notes:
Maybe it was the classes I took, but I often found myself thinking, “where are all the ladies at?”

3rd Ward
Who they are, in their own words:  3rd Ward is a multi-disciplinary workspace and education center.
Expertise: A myriad of offerings for you “creative” types in addition to professional development courses
Available classes: here!
Relevant upcoming class: Business Plan Workshop

Other 3rd Ward notes:

  • A casual, artsy atmosphere. As in, my instructor wasn’t always on time, and sometimes had technical difficulties resulting in lost productivity
  • Exciting discount code just for NYWSE members! : Enter “NYWOMEN” for 20% off any class - must use by April 30th
  • Also, take a tour
  • and get a $25 gift card

Girl Develop It
Who they are, in their own words: Girl Develop It is all about, “Teaching women how to code!”
Expertise: Creating a welcoming environment for aspiring female developers
Upcoming class: Intro to Android with Java

Other Girl Develop It notes:

  • In the old days people learned French. Now, it’s important to be fluent in “code.” But according to Girl Develop It, 91% of developers are male. If women want to shape the future we need to learn the language of the future!
  • Join their Meetup group to hear about upcoming classes
  • At $20 per class their courses are a major steal!  

General Assembly
Who they are, in their own words: General Assembly offers classes, and events at the intersection of technology, design, and entrepreneurship.
Expertise: In-depth technology-focused courses you won’t find anywhere else
Available classes: here!
Relevant upcoming class: Finance Fundamentals for EntrepreneursAn Intensive Workshop

Other General Assembly notes:
In addition to classes, General Assembly offers events 

Fashion Institute of Technology School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Who they are, in their own words: New York City’s internationally recognized college for design, fashion, art, communications, and business.
Expertise: Fashion-related industries
Non-credit classes: here!
Upcoming classes: Creative Enterprise Ownership Noncredit Course Suite

  • Class offerings include planning, finance, marketing and more
  • $55+
  • Classes available now and through the summer

Other Continuing Studies notes:
Individual classes are actually part of larger “certificate programs” so if you want to get really into one subject and walk out with something to add to your resume, you can.


About Theresa VanderMeer

Theresa VanderMeer is an American professional interested in development economics, what it means to be human, and harnessing technology and innovation for social change. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, founder of WORK+SHELTER and The Lotus Odyssey, and member of the NYWSE leadership team. She deeply identifies with the statement, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Contact her at [email protected] 

April 21, 2012

Earth Day Profile: Hot Bread Kitchen Is More Than A Bakery

Hot Bread Kitchen's mission is to "br-educate" New Yorkers about the tasty and important contributions of immigrant communities. It is a non-profit social enterprise that creates better lives for low-income women and their families through their business incubation program, HBK Incubates

"The business model of HBK is based on sustainability. In order to reach this goal, we sell a line of breads inspired by the countries of origins of our bakers. Women working with us bring recipes for bread which we then produce and sell in over 40 retailers. The money from the sale of breads goes to fund our training programs, allowing women to, in effect fund their own training. By allowing women to shape our product line and contribute to their own professional development we empower our bakers and educate consumers about immigrant communities." ~Jessamyn Rodriguez, CEO


Support Hot Bread Kitchen!

* Retailers

* Greenmarkets

* CSA Information

* The Global Bread Box

April 16, 2012

Something to Muse About - "How She Does It" Dinner Recap

by Susan McPherson, Senior VP at Fenton

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to speak at a NYWSE "How She Does It Dinner". Naturally, I accepted the gracious invitation and was asked to speak about my career in corporate social sustainability (CSR) and how I manage to incorporate social good and "shared value" into my daily life.

Not knowing quite what to expect, upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by the enthusiastic, Cynthia Hellen (@CynthiaHellen). At the lovely Crepes Du Nord restaurant, she was surrounded by 15 other accomplished, professional women, staring at me with hopeful eyes.  With their gaze, I immediately put myself in their shoes and determined to be uplifting, optimistic and hopefully inspirational.

Over the next two hours, we dined, clinked wine glasses and connected in a way that only women do – with honesty, sincerity and a bit of humility. My career has reached that magic mid-life timetable (25 years of employment, gasp) and I have developed the confidence to share both the good and the bad, along with some very embarrassing tales of woe.

Questions ranged from what is the difference between CSR and social entrepreneurship, to how to make a career transition from working for nonprofits to doing so for for-profits (although, I recommended to the group that we use the new verbiage coined by my friend Adam Braun (@adambraun) to use the term, "profitable purpose.") I cautioned against disregarding a position in the nonprofit or social entrepreneurship world, due to a fear of low-salaries or less than stellar benefits and explained that many such entities are competitive especially here in New York City. I also recommended diving head first into all the key social media platforms including Twitter (to engage and listen more than "talking"), LinkedIn (especially due to its terrific group option covering thousands of interests), Tumblr (great for short bursts of ideas) and of course, the power of writing blogs/content. Still more advice ranged from the importance of networking as much as possible and not being afraid to request meetings and informational interviews.  Although my schedule is completely wacky and crazed, I make a point to meet with those looking to work in the "social good industry" and I surely can't be the only person maintaining such a mantra.

We also spent several moments talking about the fear of starting-over. I opened my kimono, and shared my experience of going through a divorce at the ripe age of 38 and moving 3,000 miles to reboot. My candor opened the flood gates and the stellar crew began sharing their own experiences.  My top advice given to me by my late father was as follows: "nothing is a prison sentence, you can always go back if you need to." Retelling those words in my brain has enabled me to take risks and that’s what I recommended overall. Taking risks is healthy and empowering – we should all do more.

In the two weeks since the dinner, I've connected with most of the women and look forward to getting to know them better in the future. Thank you, NYWSE, for a wonderful and uplifting event.

April 11, 2012

We Made the List! "The Top 30 Social Entrepreneur Blogs to Watch in 2012"

SPECIAL THANKS to "The Entrepreneur Blog" for featuring Young Women Social Entrepreneurs on "The Top 30 Social Entrepreneur Blogs to Watch in 2012"!

1) Social Entrepreneurship Initiative

2) Duke: The Fuqua School of Business

3) Ashoka Peace

4) Pam Lawhorne: Online Business mentor

5) Green Marketing Tv

6) Acumen Fund

7) Social edge

8) World Economic Forum

9) Kristen@Wooster

10) Dowser

11) Seforum: Social Entrepreneurship forum

12) MakeSense

13) NFIB: Young Entrepreneur Foundation

14) The Causemopolitan: Cause-filled living

15) A scouting movement for the web

16) Social Startup 48

17) Young Women Social Entrepreneurs

18) Social ROI: A Social Entrepreneurship Blog

19) The Social Entrepreneur

20) School for social entrepreneurs

21) BrinQ

22) The BOP project

23) The New Pioneers

24) News for Social Entrepreneurs

25) Rethink Social

26) Students for Social Entrepreneurship

27) Social Entrepreneur Work In Progress

28) David Pidsley

29) On the Up

30) Social Entrepreneurship in Africa