Episode 078: Pursuing the Path of Social Entrepreneurship in Ghana With Thea Sokolowski

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Thea Sokolowski MEST

Thea Sokolowski

Thea Sokolowski was working on digital marketing for Maybelline in New York City, when she realized she wanted to apply her skills to a greater purpose. She found her path to social entrepreneurship by becoming a Business Fellow at the Meltwater School for Technology in Acra, Ghana.

The Meltwater School for Technology (MEST) was founded by founded by Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of the Meltwater Group to who there is potential for tech entrepreneurship all over the world.  The school offers post graduate degrees, as well as an incubator program for entrepreneurs in tech industry.

As Thea learned about MEST from a college friend who went through the program. Once she learned all about it, she knew social entrepreneurship was exactly how she wanted to apply her branding and marketing skills.

Key UnStuckable Takeaway

Considering using your skills for a social cause!

Many of us have built our careers for the sole purpose of making money, which of course is a necessary need.

More and more people like Thea are now seeking ways to use their business skills to not only sustain them, but to have a social impact as well. This idea of course is not a new one. One of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes about the secret to entrepreneurial success, “Doing well by doing good.”

Quick Action to Get Unstuck

Write about your passions as much as you can.

Thea has recognized that she thinks about her passions in situations she might not have expected, so she writes about them as much as possible.

Every day, take some time to write about those moments you thought about your passion or something that naturally motivated you to act. As you write about your passion(s), give them context including:

1. How did it make you feel happy or satisfied?

2. What time of day did you think about your passion?

3. Where you with anyone when you thought about your passion? Who?

4. What were you doing when you thought about your passion? What do you think triggered it?

As you record when you thought about your passion(s) start looking for trends and emerging behaviors to help you further develop them.

UnStuckable Quotes From Thea

“Why am I using my skills for the wealthy when I can use them to make a difference?”

“I had a passion for what I was doing, but realized there are better ways to utilize my skills.”

“My driving motivation is to work on something with a bigger purpose.”

“I want to use my skills to create something, that can also benefit others.”

“I know I don’t want to end up back in an office.”

“Everyone has a passion. It’s buried inside you somewhere.”

“Once you figure out your passion, it’s about have that spark and that energy every day to do something about it.”

More Habits & Actions

  • Thea wants to use the branding and marketing skills she has learned to have a social impact.
  • While working in New York City, she started volunteering for Goods for Good, a nonprofit that was collecting excessive school supplies and clothes for kids in Malawi.
  • An opportunity to go to Malawi with Goods for Good wasn’t a perfect fit. but sparked Thea’s interest to explore other opportunities to work in West Africa.
  • She learned about MEST from an article she saw posted on Facebook by a friend who had been a fellow at MEST.
  • After speaking with her friend about MEST, she decided to apply for a fellowship.
  • Thea believes the ability to frame your persecutive is a crucial skill to understanding different cultures.
  • Learning quickly and on the fly is another important skill to have when working abroad.

Alternative Perspectives

  • Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of the Meltwater Group, MEST founded the Meltwater School of Technology in Acra, Ghana to show there is potential all over the world for tech entrepreneurship.
  • There is growing movement in Africa to “modernize” and make progress rooted in the local culture, rather than “Westernize” and copy a solution designed for a completely different culture.
  • If you want to work in the developing world, Thea recommends just going to the country that interests you and find work once you get there because the nature of the culture will change your plans anyway.
  • There are a variety of ways to work abroad including volunteering for a nonprofit, work for a social entrepreneur or consulting for a large firm.

Resources

Thea Sokolowski on LinkedIn

Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST)

Goods for Good

Skoll Centre

Medium

Questions & Feedback

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