A Sabbatical that Connected Me to My Roots & Enabled Me to Give Back — Experteering Spotlight with #ImpactTeam Alumni Ting Ting

Milleigh Vo

Milleigh is a marketing professional, community builder, and a Global Fellow at MovingWorlds.org

In August 2017, I left my nonprofit job at TechSoup, a technology social enterprise based in San Francisco, to move to Taiwan with the sole intention of learning Chinese. I wanted to carve out this period of my life to learn my mother tongue before I committed to transitioning into a career in corporate social responsibility. Having spent my entire educational and working career in the social impact/nonprofit space, I couldn’t let myself live abroad without doing some sort of community service, which led me to MovingWorlds and Impact Teams.

In addition to finding a meaningful way to give back during my time in Taiwan, I wanted to develop tangible and transferable skills that would support me in my professional transition. Joining Impact Teams, with its myriad of resources on cross-cultural exchanges, social enterprise, and professional development was a happy marriage of all of my goals. And the community of impact-driven professionals I got to work with throughout my Impact Team experience was the additional cherry-on-top. I could not have asked for a more perfect support group to be a part of as I embarked on this new phase of my life abroad.

Ting Ting - Impact Team - 2017 Community
Celebrating the end of a full weekend at the local children’s community center.

My Experteering Project

While in Taiwan, I Experteered with Buy Directly From Farmers, a Taiwanese social enterprise dedicated to bringing fresh healthy agricultural products to consumers while supporting the livelihoods of the eco-friendly and organic Taiwanese farmers. I helped BDFF create three promotional videos for their ‘Weekend with Farmers’ events to invite consumers to learn and gain an appreciation for the rewards and struggles of the Taiwanese farmer lifestyle. My last project is to create a branding video of BDFF’s story so the organization can share their mission to consumers in Taiwan and abroad.

Along the way, I got a chance to visit two different farms with BDFF. While I was there to document the work of BDFF in these beautiful, lush farmlands, I also got to participate in fully-stacked itineraries including tending to vegetable plots, cooking Taiwanese delicacies, touring the countryside, and having quality conversations with farmers themselves. This allowed me to meet and engage with all our beneficiaries in one serene location, which is the most meaningful, direct-impact experience I could have ever expected.

Ting Ting - Impact Team - MovingWorlds Experteering
The community happily getting our hands dirty on an organic sweet potato plot.

My Advice to Future Impact Team Members

The MovingWorlds staff were on top of their game in terms of the learning content provided, trainings, and follow up support, tailored to each fellow’s individual interest. I really appreciate their attention to detail and positivity throughout the cohort experience.

My general advice to future cohorts is to:

  1. Engage with your cohort! I wish I devoted more time to engage with my cohort! The cohort is made up of such passionate individuals and it was incredible to hear about the truly impactful work that came through the Slack channel, especially when I felt like the least experienced person in the group. I got so much out of the cohort just hearing about others’ experiences and all the different sustainable solutions they delivered to their host organizations. Online communities are difficult to maintain without the diligence to keep the conversation and the momentum alive, and I wish I contributed more to show my appreciation!
  2. Select an Experteering project that aligns with your goals and skills set. I wish I asked for projects that aligned more closely with my goals and my skills set instead of taking on a semi-exciting project with an awesome organization too quickly. This way, I could feel like more invested in the work itself.
  3. Be ready to invest in your community. Let me repeat – Be ready to really invest in the Impact Teams community. Take the time to read the articles, respond to prompts in a timely manner, and actually talk to your cohort! If you join the impact team, you must already be passionate about social impact, so take advantage of the network that will only make you more excited to do good work.
  4. Give back in a meaningful way. If you have the time, Experteering is a way of volunteering that makes your impact feel that much more meaningful because organizations don’t often come across assistance with such specialized skills. Make sure your intentions are good and that you leave the project with both the organization and your happiness in mind.
Ting TIng - MovingWorlds Impact Team - 2017 Dinner
Excited to eat the meals we made ourselves using fresh local ingredients.

To connect over my experience in nonprofit program management or the Moving Worlds impact team, feel free to find me on Linkedin.

If you’re interested in sharing, collaborating, or learning along with me about corporate social responsibility, impact investing, and cross-sector climate change solutions, visit me on my website (Connect the Thoughts). I also use the platform to dabble in other fun projects including travel vlogs, photography, and music ☺

Ting Ting - Impact Team - 2017 - Cake
Ting Ting taking a quick break from shooting videos to make organic radish cakes

 

Want to be a part of the Impact Team community? Apply to join our next cohort!

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