Co-Founder and Executive Director Dr. Neena Jain recently answered a few questions about what it means to reach our three-year anniversary, February 28, 2017.
How does it feel for you to have completed three full years of work with emBOLDen Alliances?
Dr. Jain: I am really proud of emBOLDen for the work that we have accomplished in these past three years. We’ve been pouring heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into this entity because we fundamentally believe that the mission is one that is being embraced globally and is one well worth being carried forward. We are very much so indebted to our supporters, donors, volunteers, team, board, and networks for believing in us and supporting us.
What are some broad lessons that you have learned in working with emBOLDen over the years?
Dr. Jain: I always try to learn from every partnership and conversation. In working with partners, the most important thing we have learned is to have listening as central to our methodology. Listening comes into every step in our cycle. We want to be learning and relearning that this is about our partners getting the tools and skills to succeed. We learn from our failures, which I see as opportunities for growth, by identifying what our partners did achieve and what the obstacles were. Many times, the obstacle is funding.
“There is a complementarity between the heart, soul, brain, and ear,
and we need all of that in order to unify our work together globally, both here in the US and across the globe.”
Why is emBOLDen’s work important to continue doing?
Dr. Jain: We know our work is important primarily because our partners feel it and embrace it. Additionally, our work is being carried forward by our partners. If someone invests in us in 2015, our partners are already carrying it forward in 2016 and 2017. For example, we did a robust response to the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Part of our response was a First Aid Train-the-Trainer program with a Nepali-led organization. We carried out that training to train teachers in remote areas in September and October 2015. In 2016, that Nepali-led partner organization developed their own refresher training that they conducted to teachers in that same region of Nepal, and they carried that forward without our intervention or support. To us, that is everything. We work to the point where we are no longer needed. That doesn’t mean our work doesn’t go forward – that means our work is amplified.
What does it mean to you to have co-founded this nonprofit that has bloomed into what it is today?
Dr. Jain: Being a co-founder means finding the power, strength, and inspiration within myself. It means finding the power, strength, and inspiration within each of our team members, board members, partner organizations, and everyone else involved in our community. The only way we operate is through partnership. At the end of the day, unity and collaboration are everything. Partnership is about exchange, listening, empathy, and compassion. We put aside our own agenda for a greater social good, which is defined by the communities themselves. To me, it’s truly a labor of love.
Can you speak on the interplay of your work with values like listening, empathy, and compassion?
Dr. Jain: They are central to everything we do. Yet, we have a very left-brain, right-brain balance in our organization. What we do is very much in terms of listening, empathy, compassion, unity, and respect for all, but it’s also about deliverables, measurement of impact, and maximizing resources. There is a complementarity between the heart, soul, brain, and ear, and we need all of that in order to unify our work together globally, both here in the US and across the globe.