Reflections and Lessons Learned as the Creative Artist and Writer in Residence
This summer, after graduating from Wellesley College, I had the incredible opportunity to engage with the Summer Catalyst program as the Creative Artist and Writer in Residence. Over the past 10 weeks, I have collaborated with entrepreneurs and the Blank Center team, contributed to marketing and communication efforts, and developed skills in sales, marketing, finance, and other areas of business. I’ve interviewed the venture teams, enthusiastically written startup profile blogs, and captured highlights in weekly recap blogs.
Art, creativity, and innovation have always played an important role in my life. I am passionate about various forms of creative expression including but not limited to: writing, photography, problem solving, design, martial arts, theater, and painting. Through my personal, academic, and professional experiences, I have been fascinated with the way my artistic passions intersect with my entrepreneurial interests.
So, I was thrilled for the opportunity to merge my creative skills and entrepreneurial passions while also contributing to the Babson community as the Creative Artist and Writer in Residence at Summer Catalyst.
A Day in the Life of a Creative Artist and Writer in Residence:
Each week, I would host the Team Updates sessions via Zoom. After dividing the teams into their breakout sessions, I would pop around and take notes on their “asks” to share with the Summer Catalyst community so the teams could receive additional help. At the end of each Team Updates session, I would capture a Zoom “photograph” as we posed with smiles, high fives, thumbs up, or “mustaches.”
Throughout the week, I participated in Summer Catalyst programming including Hot Seat sessions, Lunch and Learns, Office Hours, Coffee Meet ups, and more. I absorbed as much as I could, and then wrote about it in my weekly recap blogs– all of the Summer Catalyst sessions were incredible learning experiences.
Innovation, Writing, Photography, and Creative Consultations:
I was excited for the opportunity to innovate through writing, photography, and creative consultations. In my writing, I wanted to capture and convey compelling, unique, and meaningful stories. I interviewed Summer Catalyst founders and wrote startup profile blogs to share the inspiration behind each venture and showcase their goals, accomplishments, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. I also wrote weekly blog posts to highlight major events, lessons learned, and milestones achieved.
In addition to writing, photography is one of my greatest strengths and passions. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been experimenting with photography in this virtual realm. I started capturing screenshot selfies with friends and family over Zoom and did something similar when it came to capturing special moments in Summer Catalyst.
I hosted Creative Consultations, using my skills to support the venture teams. I advised entrepreneurs on various creative topics including marketing strategies, website design, content, photography, blog writing, social media, and more.
Here are a few specific examples. I contributed to UNfabrciated by recommending the phrase “Dress to Empower” as their slogan, which was incorporated in their Showcase pitch and website. I helped ReServe develop strategies for marketing, sales, product development, and website design. I advised Activly on their communications, marketing, and social media efforts. I also offered feedback on future product designs for Disliz. Above all, it was a rewarding experience to collaborate with each of these ventures that are on a mission to create greater gender equality, empowerment, sustainability, wellbeing, and happiness.
Key Reflections and Lessons Learned from Summer Catalyst 2020:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation and creativity continue to prevail. To learn more, check out this recent blog I wrote.
In addition to accelerating your business, Summer Catalyst helps with personal development and growth. The entrepreneurs develop stronger communication, leadership, problem solving, and collaboration skills. In the end, regardless of whether or not the business succeeds, skills learned in Summer Catalyst are incredibly valuable. I look forward to using the skills I’ve learned in future endeavors.
Advice for Future Summer Catalyst Entrepreneurs:
One: Approach Summer Catalyst with an open mind. Soak up as much information as you can. Welcome new perspectives, ideas, and feedback.
Two: Reflect on how the Summer Catalyst experience can help you grow personally, while also helping your venture accelerate.
Three: Take advantage of all the incredible offerings. Go to as many office hours as you can, attend all the sessions, take notes, listen carefully, ask questions, and participate actively.
Four: Make time to connect with your peers and advisors one-on-one. Get to know each other, ask for help when you need it, offer advice, and build your network of friends and mentors.
Five: Follow your heart, chase your dreams, do what you love, and have fun!
To learn more about Summer Catalyst check out my blog series!