Bye Bye Geekcorps, Hello Mercy Corps
I gots me a brand new technology job!
Yes, as you may have read in the Associated Press article on the OLPC price increase, I am now:
Friday was my last day as head geek, able to stop entire conversations with the simple, “I’m with Geekcorps,” which inevitably lead to a half-hour discussion on technology in the developing world.
For three years, I led Geekcorps, starting with a handful of CD’s from the previous staff and one program in the field. Through blood, sweat and a few tears, we built it into a successful organization by winning several large contracts:
And I leave Geekcorps at a high point – we just won a $600,000 one-year contract to bring needed communication technologies to underserved areas previously excluded from Mali’s active social and political systems.
Olivier Alais will be leading Geekcorps in developing five new radio stations in Mali’s far north, expanding on Geekcorps’ success in improving rural radio stations. He also has the opportunity to add ten additional radio stations in another multi-year contract with USAID if he is successful with these five.
I am confident that Olivier will be successful in achieving the Geekcorps goal of expanding private enterprise with sustainable information and communication technologies, and as much as I will miss the cachet of Geekcorps, it is time for change.
Tomorrow morning I will “be the change” at Mercy Corps, a large humanitarian relief and international development organization based in Portland, Oregon, but with offices worldwide, including Washington DC.
I will be the change, the Director to be exact, at MicroMentor, an online microenterprise mentoring program focused on helping small, start-up businesses in the USA grow through mentoring relationships with experienced business professionals.
My first task will be to bring the current MicroMentor website into the 21st Century with cutting-edge interactive technologies like social networking and user-generated content. Think of it as a cross between Linked In, Match.com, and focused on pairing thousands of emerging business owners with successful entrepreneurs from communities across the United States.
Over time I hope to broaden MicroMentor services to help entrepreneurs gain access to a wide array of resources and products that could help strengthen their businesses, but for tomorrow, I hope just to get my email working and meet my new colleagues.
So while I am sad to leave Geekcorps, and its amazing volunteers, I can’t wait to take on this new, different, and hopefully richly rewarding challenge: Being the change.