Saturday, June 6, 2009
Nomi Network and Me
I discovered Nomi Network, through a friend, in January, and volunteered in February.
For Nomi, I have been identifying retail stores that sell goods made without child or slave labor. The stores that I have identified sell goods that are either, Fair Trade Certified, Rugmark Certified, made according to ethical labor practices, or otherwise fairly traded. I also do research and writing on global human trafficking, and the economy of Cambodia.
For my whole life, I have always admired those who fight for social justice. I grew up hearing my mother praising Dorothy Day (founder of the Catholic Worker Movement), hearing inspirational stories about Catholic missionaries, as well as reading about and seeing on T.V., the activists who were part of the social justice movements of the 1960’s--the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement, and the war on poverty.
But I am not a leader or an assertive person. However, once I started getting into my fifties, I started feeling things like, "Hey--I'm getting old. When am I really going to start doing something!" and, "Isn't it about time I started acting on what I believe!" and "Shouldn’t I be setting an example for others, especially my children?"
Last winter, I completed my master's degree in administration. In the program, I learned about the management of non-profit organizations. And so, I had my eye out for a non-profit organization to get involved with as a volunteer, with an eye towards working full-time after I retire from my day job.
When I discovered Nomi Network, I recognized it as a perfect opportunity. It was for a cause that I felt passionate about, and since it was a start-up, I thought I could get involved in a way that would be impossible in a large, established organization.
My first official contact with Nomi Network was with the co-founder, Diana Mao. I had studied leadership in my master's program, and my first impression of Diana was that she had all the characteristics of an outstanding leader. How badly I wanted to work for someone like that! And later, I discovered that the other co-founder, Alissa Moore, was also an outstanding leader. Further, I discovered that the founders are passionate about developing the talents and interests of those in the organization. How wonderful is that?
Working for Nomi is a refreshingly change from working for a large, for-profit corporation. In my day job, the motivators are only extrinsic--compensation and job security. But if you are a person who gives a damn about anything in life, there comes a point where you would like to do something that you actually believe in. At Nomi Network, everyone is intrinsically motivated. We believe in it. We are passionate about the cause. It makes for a far different experience than being in a private corporation.
Some people may dream of getting rich by joining a technology start-up, but I'm happy working for no money, trying to make the world a better place.
Stephen M. Bauer