Saturday April 14th was the Empowered Women International’s Marketing Lab. I had my first one-on-one meeting with a student from the United States named Jennifer. I instantly got along well with this lovely lady, who seemed as happy to meet me as I was to meet her. She started by asking me about my background in order to get acquainted, and then told me about hers.
After separating from her husband, Jennifer has been raising her daughter alone. Since then, she has been struggling with financial issues and had to move back with her elderly parents. Nevertheless, Jennifer is very ambitious and motivated to improve her standard of living and provide for her daughter.
Since she has working experience as a tour guide and broad knowledge about history, she came up with the idea of starting up a tour guide company. As described in her student story, “her business vision is to partner with local elementary schools and provide them with carefully planned trips to local historical sites”. Researching online, Jennifer told me that she found a competitor to her project in DC. To stand out with her project, she will focus on wealthier schools because her competitor is already working with poor or regular schools. Her business would also provide lunchboxes for the students and transportation. Different trips would be organized for each school level, and the students would learn through the organized field trips.
We talked about her project for the whole meeting. Mostly, I helped by giving her my opinion and advice. For example, since I have a lot of experience with people with food allergies, I suggested that she consider allergies when providing lunchboxes.
We also discussed marketing options. I explained to her what the social media Facebook is and what it can do for her business. We concluded that creating a website and a blog where she could post pictures, videos and testimony would be more beneficial. To advertise her business, we thought about distributing business cards and brochures that would transform into posters for classrooms.
I feel that Jennifer has a good chance to carry out her project. She has a solid and realistic business plan, she clearly is passionate about history and kids, and she is dedicated to her idea “live it, learn it”. It was a real pleasure to meet her and I am very glad I could help her in any ways.
Saturday April 14th was the Empowered Women International’s Marketing Lab. I had my second one-on-one meeting with a student named Valerie. It was a real pleasure to meet this adorable, lively and ambitious young woman. She seemed very excited to work with me on her project, and sharing the same name contributed to our bonding.
The minute she sat down with me, Valerie pulled out a pile of unorganized papers from her bag and displayed it on the table. She had already brainstormed about her project and had put all of her ideas on paper. Unlike with my first student, we skipped introduction and went directly to the main course, which was her business project. I got to learn more about her through her enthusiastic discourse. She impressed me because not once did she mention the difficult times she went through in the past. Surrounded by a loving fiancé and grandparents, she is really focusing on her happy present and promising future.
Obviously passionate about greeting cards and the environment, her goal is to create a green greeting cards business. Everything would be managed online through a website she already started working on, and she would meet clients in an office or a library when needed. She would use her talents and skills in graphic design and photography to make greeting cards for all sorts of occasions. The green idea is to make those cards works of art in order to reuse them after for decoration. Also, everything would be made out of eco-friendly materials, and she would provide a recycling service for used computers and technology equipment on her website. She is also planning to get eco-friendly business cards.
Valerie had a lot of information to share with me and she was bursting with ideas. It was impressing to feel her passion for greeting cards and the “go green” movement. How much she wants to make the world a better place and make people feel good at the same time was very inspiring. For Valerie greeting cards help people’s soul by making them feel special and valued. On the same note, she was thinking of sending her customers personalized cards for their birthday and to thank them after a purchase.
Valerie and I continued talking even when the time allowed was out. Mainly, I listened to her and shared my opinion and advice with her. I truly enjoyed my experience because she told me she was grateful for my help.
My name is Valérie Du Sablon, I am 21 years old and it was a pleasure to be a part of the
Empowered Women International team. I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, so my native language is French and I also speak English. I’m currently a third year university student in Montreal. I’m spending this semester abroad in Washington DC with The Washington Center program for an internship at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. After this semester I will graduate with a bachelor in International Relations and International Law. Next Fall, I will start a master in Public Administration, International Profile, also in Montreal.