My dad began to lose his sight and stopped working when I was 2. This changed everything. I started looking for ways to make money and minimize my burden on my family.
At 6, I discovered entrepreneurship. I began selling candy during recess in 1st grade. I was hooked. And not just on the candy.
I discovered volunteering at 12 with Earth Club–we helped recycle paper at my school. I truly enjoyed doing good and was always the most eager volunteer.
Around 12-13 I started reading encyclopedias for fun. You can spot the nerds early….
I began working at 14. I got paid to go to school and learn job skills. It was great. I loved working then, and still do.
My high school was an experimental school. We were able to choose which classes to attend and when, and choose when to turn in our work (to a point). It was empowering, except we abused the freedom. In my case, I studied little and instead founded 3 organizations, experimented with microbusinesses, worked, and did competitions.
A turning point was when I founded my first organization at 15–it was a team to compete in an international space settlement design competition for high school students. This was my first deep entrepreneurial experience and it changed my life. I competed 9 times in local, regional, and international competitions across 3 coasts of the United States–as much or more than anyone else in the world at the time.
At 16 I lost my mother, an absolutely remarkable woman who deserved a much better life. Since then I’ve dedicated myself as a change agent. Much of my work is done in her honor.
College was amazing for me. I ended up as a triple major/quadruple minor. But I spent more time building organizations, doing research, and working than I spent on academics. I founded 7 organizations, held 7 part-time jobs and internships, and helped with 10 research studies before I graduated. College was my first time truly experimenting with a life of purposeful self-direction.
The next 5 years were a blur. After 2 years in a well-funded startup trying to redefine the museum industry, 2 sabbaticals, some time traveling the world, and a brief stint as a medic, I found my way to Singapore where I first studied the social impact sector, and worked to build capacity in it.
I’m currently building a new social enterprise and advising 2 others.