Reflections and reminders in first month as the Director for Global Community at GEN.
In early February, I wrote about attending the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC). At the time, I was working as a consultant and excited to, again, be part of the US delegation. Less than a month later, I was offered a full time position and joined the Global Entrepreneurship Network team. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind.
Coming onboard just as your organization is preparing to host over 2000 international delegates (and 10,000+ locals) in a foreign country, is like cooking holiday dinner in a new kitchen while your guests are arriving. While the work is familiar, you are in a new environment and it takes some time to know where the ingredients and utensils are, and learn how hot the stove cooks. Meanwhile there is an urgency for things to be perfect, and respond as your diners reach out for directions and show up. As much as you can anticipate, things do not go as planned. Best intentions of responding to all the emails and learning all the systems quickly has not happened. You need to simply attend to the things you can, making the best of the time together and learn.
Thankfully, I have been part of the community for a few years. Gladly, I have been doing this work for some time. Fortunately, I have wonderful colleagues and collaborators who offer assistance and grace. Much of the knowledge and skills I have acquired through the years have been essential in this transition and it feels like I have been training for this moment and opportunity.
When I started in this field, it was by invitation and recognition that I was an early adopter. I was a bootstrapping entrepreneur who left behind a career two decades in the making. “Entrepreneurial ecosystem building” was not a term that was commonplace and I had little idea of what it meant at the time. Through the years I studied and learned from thought leaders and colleagues, primarily in the United States. I helped compile a playbook, gather and convene over a thousand ecosystem builders, and was a consultant with the leading foundation…