Sometime last year, I decided that it was time for me to start something new… something BIG and something that felt like my own to play my part in enriching the university before my time was up. So over the last few months, I’ve been pouring myself into a new event with the idea of giving something back to other students with similar passions and aspirations. I thought that this was me giving back.
What I never expected was a complete role reversal. Since summer, I have met so many amazing people and learned so much about the world and myself. More than anything, I have been so humbled by the number of business people that have been willing to help me, and have been blown away by the applications I have received. The experience has reminded me of the number of truly phenomenal people there are out there.
I’m sharing a sample of one of the applications I have received below so you can be as stunned as I am and begin to understand my refreshed belief in the what St. Francis of Assisi and Robert Half said years ago..
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
“Giving people a little more than they expect is a good way to get back more than you’d expect.”
The application goes…
Why would you like to attend this conference?
For the past year I have been living in and relearning Vancouver. Despite the fact that I grew up here, I feel that in the last 12 months I have traversed more territory, met more people, and truly appreciated the uniqueness and creativity as well as recognized the challenges of a place that has been blessed with so much natural and social captial, than I did in the 16 years I was in school. Having worked on exhibitions addressing the city’s heritage restoration, gentrification, and building in light of the 2010 Olympics, and then conversely being involved in a social housing proposal for the DTES, and then on the other end of the spectrum sustainable mixed-use and mixed-income neighborhood development on the West End and the North Shore, I feel that there are many disconnects between the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors. The possibilities for value creation, I know, would be endless if we just chose to collaborate, and that is what I see this conference as, a space for collaboration.
What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship derives from the French word entreprendre, meaning to “undertake,” and inherent in that undertaking we know is a high level of risk, which means that the one undertaking the risk accepts the chance and the possibility perhaps of danger, but more importantly the possibility of opportunity in the face of danger. Social entrepreneurship redefines what this opportunity looks like. It says that opportunity can present itself for the good of more than a single founder. It says that opportunity can result in many rewards, not just one. And ultimately, it says that opportunity can truly mean success.
If you could start any initiative right now, what would it be?
INVEST in the poorest urban neighborhoods of Vancouver. LOOK to SEE and to UNDERSTAND what are the greatest challenges, and then ASK the residents what they need to fix them.
Employ the best MINDS, TECHNOLOGY, and urban planning/COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT practices to
CULTIVATE these forgotten streets so that SOCIAL INNOVATION and SUSTAINABILITY can
and SOLUTIONS can just keep on coming, like the rain. -Faaiza Lalji
So to everyone that has either helped in small ways, or been side by side with me throughout the path of starting this, thank you. I couldn’t appreciate your efforts more. And for all those coming, I really hope you take away from this as much as I have in the process of pulling it together!
On a sidenote, there are three spots remaining so if you would like to submit an application, click here, and if you would like to learn more, click here.