This week I attended a panel discussion on the Future of Fundraising and one of the panelists was Tammy Tibbetts, the co-founder and CEO of She’s the First, which supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school.
Tammy is a first-generation college graduate and has given international speeches, including a TEDx talk about being the first and finding your passion. Tammy discusses being the first at something and explains that it does not matter if you are the first in world history, in your community or in your family. Either way, she says, “it takes guts and courage to be the first and to stand up to your critics – especially your own inner critic. It takes passion and persistence to charge forward and meet your goals.” Tammy also speaks about generosity, giving back and working with others to help them be a first, “never underestimate your ability to make someone else a first –the first person to support them or believe in their dreams.”
This speech made me think about our students, teachers and staff in Zambia and how many of our students will be the first in their family to go to school or learn to read and write. For our teachers, it is often the first time they have a stable income and an opportunity to work outside the family farm. It is only with the support of our network that Impact Network is able to help these students and teachers be “a first.” Additionally, Tammy’s talk made me reflect on the work of Impact Network to be one of the first to bring e-learning and access to quality education in rural Zambia. Being the first can be challenging, but it can also lead to the biggest rewards.
Heading into the weekend, I think we should all think about two of Tammy’s favorite questions, “what are you the first to do?” or ”what will you be the first to do?” Mostly importantly “what will you do to help someone else be a first?”