Thoughts from a Relentless Ecopreneur By: 2019 POG Young Adult Honouree Lauren Castelino
This summer has been quite busy. Not busy like you would think. I’m not going to the cottage every weekend, or sipping on cool drinks at the beach. I’m busy this summer planning the year for Pitch It Green.
What is Pitch It Green you might ask? It’s a non-profit I founded that aims to connect youth with sustainability-focused business opportunities. The past year we’ve done everything from organizing a Sustainability Pitch Competition, leading a workshop in a high school regarding conscious consumption and participating in conferences such as the Canada Youth Summit and International Student Energy Summit.
Despite what you might think, leading a non-profit is far from easy. Over the year, I have learned some really valuable lessons:
1. Tell people that they are doing a good job.
Appreciation pays off for real. If you don’t tell someone that you value them and that you think they’re doing a great job, they won’t want to work for you. This is especially true for volunteer placements, where there needs to be another motivation besides money. There needs to be an incentive for staying, and trust me, your appreciation for them is a big factor.
2. Set a good example and be reliable.
I like to call myself a reliable person, so I always attend meetings, stick to my word, and fulfil my promises. I’ve noticed the importance of maintaining reliability, and how people give you more respect if you keep your word.
3. If you are persistent and love what you do, you can achieve great results.
Lots of people ask me how I secure countless sponsorships for our events or receive exclusive opportunities. My trick for approaching sponsorships is to keep going despite the rejections. For every 9 rejections there will be at least 1 person willing to back you. Once people see that you love what you do, they will want to support your cause.
4. Be open to improvement.
At Pitch It Green we have performance reviews, and whenever I finish reviewing someone, I ask them for feedback in return. Just because I might have a higher position than someone, doesn’t mean that I am perfect. You must be open to improvement for not just yourself, but for the team.
5. Be the bigger person always.
If someone leaves the team, still help them if they are ever in need. If someone misses a meeting, give them the benefit of the doubt. If someone fights with you, forgive and forget. As life goes on, we must remember that we are called to be understanding and to help others.
6. As an ecopreneur you need to take time to take care of yourself.
The stress of running an organization is unreal. Scheduling back to back calls, making social media posts, and punching in numbers for our accounting takes a lot of time and patience. What I’ve realized is that breaks are an inevitable part of life. You can either schedule them, or succumb to them once you’ve reached a point of burnout. The latter isn’t something I want to experience this year, so my goal is to take more breaks.
Looking back, I’m incredibly amazed at what we’ve accomplished so far, and I’m thrilled to be starting a new year with some new team members! Some of the events we have planned are hosting a Green Business Conference where we will be discussing fostering a sustainable marketplace in Toronto and the GTA. We’re also looking towards touring across different high schools by hosting workshops regarding ecopreneurship, as well as hosting our annual Sustainability Pitch Competition event.
For more about my journey as an ecopreneur with Pitch It Green, follow us @pitchitgreen on our social media or visit www.pitchitgreen.org .
Warmest thanks to our 2019 Young Adult Sponsor https://bkifg.com