January 15, 2021

MentorTalks: Starting – and Running – a Successful Nonprofit

Transforming an idea into reality is no easy feat – from identifying one’s business goals to mapping out a detailed marketing strategy, starting and running a new enterprise requires time and work. On Thursday, January 28, 2021, exchange alumni entrepreneurs Julia Beabout and Brian McCarty joined us on MentorTalks to talk about their endeavours founding nonprofits and how their exchange programs - and exchange alumni experiences - shaped their careers. They also shared details on different types and categories of nonprofits, as well as what it takes to maintain a business in pandemic times.  

Julia, an award-winning social entrepreneur and alumna of a Critical Language Scholarship to China, also spoke about how she juggles her time between managing a for profit organization, Novaby, and the nonprofit she co-founded, Tech in the Tenderloin. She credits her participation in an Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (TIES) in 2016 for sparking her interest in the overlap between technology and global affairs, which led to her efforts in engaging youth through an augmented reality hackathon project.  

During the show, Brian, who was a Fulbright Specialist in China and Hong Kong, highlighted the need to be clear about what you are pursuing and to hone in on your mission statement as you grow your idea. From his experience as President & Executive Director of War ToysⓇ, Brian also noted the various challenges that one faces early on in the process, such as a lack of funding and resources. In addition to reaching out to friends and family, and others in your network for support, he recommended doing whatever you can with what you have.

Expressing the value of teamwork and collaboration, Julia noted one of the most critical aspects of running a successful organization is recruiting a team that wants to partake in your vision and expand your vision. By “pulling the string, and following the trail,” Julia said, who knows what you can learn? Often, the best ideas come from the dialogue between people. 

Looking for more advice from Julia and Brian? Watch the video for all the details!

About Julia Beabout

Julia is CEO and Creative Director of Novaby, an award-winning, digital art production company specializing in virtual 3D experiences and augmented reality (AR) Placemaking, as well as co-founder of Tech in the Tenderloin (TNT), a non-profit that connects low-opportunity youth and families with high-opportunity tech through fun activities and events.

In 2012, Julia participated in the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program in China. As an exchange alumna, Julia participated in the 2016Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (TIES) on Climate Change, Global Affairs, and the Digital Age and the 2019 Art, Culture, and Transforming Conflict TIES. These exchange alumni experiences had a profound impact on her life and shaped the direction of her career.

She has a BS in Architectural Engineering and an MA in Asian Studies. She is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) and LEED Accredited Professional. 

About Brian McCarty

Brian is President & Executive Director of War ToysⓇ, a California-based nonprofit organization that positively impacts the lives of children who have been affected by war. He is also a photographer, art director, and producer.

Through art and conflict transformation, Brian hopes to tell the stories that aren’t being told by advocating for children who have been affected by war. As a Fulbright Specialist, Brian worked with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design (PolyU) to help create toys that will provide support for children in warzones, with an understanding of how toys can shape and reflect our culture. 

Brian’s work has been exhibited by museums and universities, acquired by prominent collectors, and covered by The New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Wired, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and countless other publications around the world.

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