I’m coming to the end of my masters degree, and as a result of that I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done so far (not enough) and what I’m going to do next. At uOttawa, I revived and was president of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group. We went from nothing, to two events a month a strong exec committee in less than a year.
As I handed over my role with WISE, I wondered what my next challenge would be. There are many cool things happening in Ottawa that it would be great to be involved with. However this idea of starting an Awesome Foundation in Ottawa has been in my mind since I heard about it from my friend Emily, one of the founding members of the original one in Boston. I’ve met so many creative, inspiring people in Ottawa, some of them in the government even. However I’ve met others that have this dead look in their eyes, like their motivation and creativity has been sucked out of them by excessive beaurocracy and a culture of mediocrity. Ottawa is very much a government city. I think we need more awesome to compensate for that.
The Awesome Foundation is a group of 10 people who every month award a grant of $1000 to someone to enable something AWESOME. Examples include: a giant laser, a cotton candy cannon, and a “happiness hat” (my personal favourite).
Ultimately, the time isn’t later, or tomorrow, or next week. If we want to make change happen, if we want to “be the change we want to see” as the expression goes, the time is now. There’s always going to be a reason not to. There’s always going to be other things to do with $100 a month.
The question is, do we want to make Ottawa more awesome, or not. Do we want to make a difference, or not.
I do. I hope I can find 9 other people who do too.
This is why I announced my plan for the Awesome Foundation at Team Camp. Wannabe and existing entrepreneurs are the kind of people who are being the change they want to see, and they tend to be well connected too. Even those who couldn’t make the commitment to be on The Board of Awesome were helpful, retweeting and emailing my original blog post offering help with web-dev, other helpful suggestions and generally being enthusiastic. I really appreciate their help and support.
One of the things Ian suggested I write about was what my “vision” was for Awesome Foundation Ottawa. Honestly, I don’t have a strong vision. It goes no further than finding a diverse group of board members and promoting what we’re doing widely enough to get a good selection of proposals. The people who get involved will shape where we go from there. That uncertainty is part of the adventure. So I’m not inviting you to get on board with my vision, I’m inviting you to join with me and 8 others to shape a bigger one.
We’re already well on our way to the 10 people we need for the Board of Awesome, which is why next Thursday (April 8th) we’ll be having a meeting at The Code Factory for prospective board members. I hope, if this project interests you, you’ll come along and join us to find out more.
Thank you Cate!