Because I fail at contact across time zones, I want to write this one for all of you around the world who are wondering what’s going on. So, for those of you I would otherwise be calling at 2am (you’re welcome), here’s the update!
It’s been about 7 weeks since I landed in berlin, and it’s been wild. Though my touristing is sadly underdeveloped, I have done and learned so much. The DO School, which is hosting my fellowship, is a hybrid for profit/nonprofit that partners with major businesses and corporations to challenge and develop young entrepreneurs with a vision for social good. They’ve worked with corporations as big as H&M, BMW, and, the one my fellow group is working with, Axel Springer. We’re quite literally developing a “future of audio entertainment” product for one of the biggest digital publishing houses in Europe. It feels unbelievable some days.
What does a “future of audio entertainment” product even look like? Who knows. We’re working on it. But it does look like an unbelievably diverse group of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve ever met from around the world coming together. And they are inspiring. I’m in awe every day I get to live, work, and talk with them. Just to name a few:
There’s a woman from Canada who fractured 27 bones, spent the last year recovering and healing her body and soul, and now is using her power and story to uplift Ghanaian women – by empowering their stories and connecting their conscious products with conscious buyers in Canada.
A woman from Pakistan starting an AI program/robot that talks to young Pakistani women about the most taboo topics in their communities, like sex and women’s health. Because she saw a woman harassed and killed because of her beliefs and stories online, and decided she needed to do something to stop the violence against women’s voices.
A filmmaker from Kenya who escaped a life of violence and crime because of his love for the camera, and now runs a media company in Nairobi that trains youth to escape crime and poverty through media skills.
I could go on and on, but the point is I’m so thankful to have all these incredible people in my life.
We’ve spent the last 7 weeks doing business planning, business coaching, market research, target analysis, public speaking, pitching… dreaming, focusing, and planning. In just 3 weeks, we begin to “DO.”
It is terrifying, but also so, so exciting. In part, because: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by men, but especially women, “Why do you need to start something new? Why you? Why not just work for someone else?”
I’ve realized in the last 7 weeks that the answer to their question is:
Because I’m an entrepreneur, and I need to build something that helps people.
It’s still in development, but I am starting a program that empowers artists to change lives through art. I intend for it to be big and life changing. I’m not afraid of falling, and thrilled at the possibility to fly. We’ll see what happens.
What you can do right now is let me know! If you have any experience with life changing art. If you have any ideas, examples, or opinions about how art can change lives or communities. Comment, message, post me! I want to identify those amazing creative changemakers out there already changing lives through art!
Thanks for all the love and support!
Jessica Ciccarelli, the recovery poet