Was there something specific about the Groundwork mission that also connected with you?
There’s always satisfaction working with people who have mission and passion. There are not too many places I’ve worked at or volunteered with that are like Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. Like the work we are doing with culinary medicine and the conference we are planning for this fall. It’s very rewarding seeing this come to fruition, and also seeing the churning of ideas around this topic and bringing in very talented people from around the country to visit and be a part of what we do, be a part of it.
This is important work. Whether it’s related to health care or helping bring about new business models for farming, or being able to assure that children are eating healthy food, and also learning about healthy food, the educational piece, where they are being taught nutrition and the value that has for their lifestyle and how long you live and how well you live. This is a great place to be able to do that.
As a biotech entrepreneur, obviously the idea of starting things and thinking beyond boundaries is a big part of you, and I’m wondering if that part of Groundwork that starts things also resonated with you, because it revealed that people here are not bound by traditional notions of nonprofit work.
Yes, absolutely. Hans as a leader has a great way of respecting people’s ideas and what is meaningful to them, and what is also meaningful to the region. There is nothing cookie-cutter about how to do things at Groundwork. And that’s exciting. There are exciting things going on in each individual program. And nobody works alone here. There is great team effort and people are able and willing and committed to what they say they are going to do.
You saw the startup spirit here.
Yes, the incubator spirit, I absolutely saw that. I saw the joy that comes from success. It’s also the voyage. The journey we are on.
What else about the culture of Groundwork made an impression?
We celebrate. That is another important thing. Celebrations for jobs well done. That is done here. That drew me in as well. People here are not so serious about themselves. They keep their personality. Keep who they are. It’s a place I’ve made a lot of friends and had the opportunity to meet some very hardworking, creative, intelligent, and purposeful people who really have a goal and go after it.