Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. The centers embody the University’s mission to unite students and faculty with Silicon Valley leaders to address significant public issues. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity.
(Image courtesy of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Post by: Misja Ilcisin, 2015 Global Social Benefit Fellow)
Moving to Myanmar to work for Koe Koe Tech was not part of my post-college plan. As a 2015 Global Social Benefit Fellow (GSBF), I had the privilege of working for Operation ASHA – Cambodia, a social enterprise that works to eradicate tuberculosis worldwide. Having had an incredible experience with them, I planned to return to Cambodia to continue working with them in March 2017. However, shortly before I was expecting to leave, organizational changes made that an impossibility and I suddenly found myself without a job, any semblance of a plan, and a one-way ticket to SE Asia.
I quickly reached out to my contacts at Miller Center and, incredibly, they connected me to GSBI alum, Koe Koe Tech – an IT social enterprise in Myanmar that was in need of an Operations Associate. Their mission of providing affordable, quality, sustainable technology for Myanmar’s health sector aligned well with my interests in health systems development and strengthening. So, in a leap of faith, I accepted the job offer and moved to Myanmar on a two-week notice. More than one person thought I was crazy, but one of the most significant skills I gained as a GSBF is the ability to adapt to whatever new challenges and opportunities a situation presents. In the fellowship, we were constantly thrown curveballs and had to develop real time solutions to continue to push our research forward. This is a skill that I took to heart and have applied to my own life countless times since the completion of the fellowship, most significantly when I embarked on this new chapter in my life.