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Social Impact Fellow Reflection: Alexander Sean (Umi Feeds)

Social Impact Fellow, Alexander Sean

Alexander Sean

The Social Impact Fellowship program has been a vital part of my social impact journey at Georgia Tech. While our motto is Progress and Service, often we focus on progress and “Creating the Next” while service sometimes gets left outside of the equation. In high school, many of us Tech students joined various service organizations and completed hundreds of hours, probably millions collectively, but we forget to continue this journey once we enter the collegiate chapter of our lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to have served various nonprofits through my experience as Associate Director of Nonprofit Partnerships with Bits of Good and Vice President of Client Acquisition with Consult Your Community, but the Social Impact Fellowship allowed me to truly dive deeper into my passion for social impact and serving others.

Georgia Tech teaches us many skills and imbues us with the knowledge to achieve amazing things, but we sometimes forget how to incorporate social impact into our studies and work, a part of us that many shed after we get our high school diplomas. While being able to put my skills to actual work with a nonprofit, I gained another level of admiration for nonprofits and especially those that bootstrap and grassroot their nonprofits. I got to see first-hand on how often nonprofit founders have to sacrifice their own money, time, and effort to carry out their mission. Being able to support Umi Feeds and Umi, its founder, have allowed me to apply the skills and experience I acquired at Tech to make a better impact.

While first being chosen and onboarded for my marketing background and to support Umi Feeds in being able to fundraise with sponsorships and grants, I quickly realized that the need for a marketing intern pointed to a bigger problem that our nonprofits are sometimes a one person show with passion and not too much technical skills. Umi Feeds was one of these nonprofits. While watching Umi serve as the main person within the nonprofit, it also showed me how Georgia Tech and our students can utilize our technical skills to bridge the gap that many nonprofit founders have: bringing their passion and ideas to fruition. We shifted the scope of my work to focus on a 3-year strategic plan that help better articulate Umi’s vision for the nonprofit, provide a roadmap on how to achieve the 3-year vision, but also creating strategy around how to best achieve her goals and minimize the risk throughout the upcoming journey. Although I had background in marketing, I was excited to pivot and be able to use my passion for strategy and intersect it with social impact.

Having done my internship with Umi, I realized that her and many other nonprofit’s passion and personability is truly what creates the success for nonprofit. Umi has a unique ability to be able to go into a community and instantly gain their trust to to better support them. Such a unique soft skill is hard to teach or learn and must be led by the heart. Having the technical skills and ability to “build” or “manage” a nonprofit is obsolete without the ability to connect with people, especially those you serve. What we learn at Georgia Tech is only half the puzzle when it comes to social impact. Umi helped remind me that there is more than one way to create a social impact and that work and social impact isn’t mutually exclusive. “With great power, comes with great responsibility” said Uncle Ben. This internship helped remind me that we as Tech students should also use our degree to help make the world a better place. I highly implore students to discover ways that you can help create a social impact in anyway you think best fits you and your goals.

The Institute for Leadership and Social Impact is an interdisciplinary institute that promotes servant leadership and social innovation that contribute to a more just, caring, and equitable world. Learn more about our Social Impact Fellows program.

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