Pulling Hen’s Teeth

I must confess that I really don’t like to write newsletters so it was like pulling hen’s teeth for me – not so much as to report on me (well, maybe just a little) – but to tell you more about the great folks that I have had the opportunity to work with over the past year with Hatch.
I began 2017 with a January trip to NYC to work on the SourceFunding.org project with partner Michael Short.  I returned in March to slog through a spring blizzard for a round of fundraising meetings. Although I have taken a less active roll, I’m thrilled to announce that Sourcefunding.org is now up and running and fulfilling its mission of “inclusive finance!”Sadly, March marked the last convening of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network for which I had served as a coach-mentor for the previous three years. Like children, I love all the fellows that I mentored equally, but I am truly proud to see two of them elected to public office in New Orleans. Ethan Ashley is representing District 2 on the Orleans Parish Public School Board where he continues to be fueled by his passion to change the infamous school-to-prison-pipeline. The amazing Cyndi Nguyen became the first Asian American to earn a seat on the New Orleans City Council when she unseated the incumbent, serving District E. Cyndi and Ethan both inspire me in their service.I continue to work on a variety of projects through Hatch. Ironically, now that I live in North Carolina, my two newest clients are located back in Louisiana! The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center is coming to life in Natchitoches, a charming city, but not one without the social, health and economic disparities that are ever present in today’s society.  I am also assisting a start-up in Baton Rouge which is being based on the Liberty’s Kitchen model. Bayou Kitchen is still in the earliest organizational phases, but I am excited to help grow their vision to a mission that is badly needed in North Baton Rouge.  Some past clients are really rocking it such as Root in Salem, MA. They recently held their one-year celebration which was attended by Governor Charlie Baker.As a self-confessed conference junkie, I attended only two this past year, both in Atlanta, and both worthwhile. The Hope Global Forum keeps getting bigger and better – so I will be returning for a third year in April. I also participated in the Net Impact Conference designed to guide attendees to careers with impact and threw in a little one on one mentoring while there.In October, I had the extraordinary honor of serving as a judge in the T.I.M.E. Challenge sponsored in partnership with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Technology Transfer Office and Institute for Local Innovations, Inc. The challenge asks individuals or teams of HBCU students to review and evaluate NASA technologies that are available for licensing and develop strategies to take them to market.

All said, my greatest joy this past year has been watching Liberty’s Kitchen not only grow, but thrive! Without me! In September, I was pleased to attend the seventh annual fundraiser “Come Grow with Us!”. It was a sellout crowd of over 700 people – a far cry from those early days of parking lot parties.  Speaking of growth, Liberty’s Kitchen fulfilled the vision of expanding with a second location downtown and the addition of 3500 square feet at our ReFresh location on Broad!  Most importantly, however, is that we are now able to serve more youth and serve them better.

Looking forward to 2018, I am excited about two potential clients right here in North Carolina! And did I mention that I am starting a new business  in Asheville (where I now live)  – Nest Antiques & Wares – located at the Screen Door?

I do like to stay busy, but not so busy that you can’t come visit me. Please let me know if you plan to come this way – I’d love to show you around my new hometown!

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