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Fast Pitch hosts Innovator Orientation — Volunteer Picnic a sweet success.

Posted by Deborah Drake

The first (and now) annual Innovator Orientation at the SVP Fast Pitch Volunteer picnic was a success in every possible way. If you were present, thank you for coming. If you couldn’t make it, we understand but you really did miss a superb event—so join us at the Final Showdown and plan on coming with friends!

2015 Innovator Volunteer PicnicOn August 22nd, the weather was Seattle-summer-perfect – the food was plentiful – the location had everything we could have hoped for as 100+ innovators, coaches, and Fast Pitch volunteers gathered; and some softball even got played!

Prior to the official start of the picnic, 49 of 57 Quarterfinalists arrived bright-eyed and eager for an innovator orientation to learn about what was expected of them in the coming months leading up to the Final Showdown on October 27, 2015. Maureen O’Hara and Anthea Fernandes walked innovators through the details of the road to the Showdown and answered innovator questions before releasing them to take on a scavenger hunt—that they might connect with each other and the SVP volunteers and make some valuable connections.

What has been the benefit of the Fast Pitch experience so far Innovators?

Time and again, innovators expressed the same quality of appreciation for the day.

Katy Warren of Math Moms put it:

“The application process really made us think about how to structure Math Moms, how to evaluate its impact and how to think more broadly about its long-term sustainability and potential reach.  As I mentioned, I really enjoyed the picnic, and we’re looking forward to the next stages, including getting down and dirty on our pitch with our great coaches.”

Zac McMurray of Vitruvian Energy had this to say:

“The biggest benefit thus far in our involvement with Fast Pitch has been the opportunity to meet and talk with other entrepreneurs whose social impact ventures are at the same stage as Vitruvian Energy. This enables us to collectively share the knowledge we’ve gained through building our businesses. Even though Fast Pitch is a competition, we believe that business can always involve win/win interactions if people and companies have the right mindset.”

Adriana Moscatelli of PlayWorks Studio summed it up beautifully (and she also enjoyed playing softball—check out the photos)

2015 Innovator Picnic softballIt’s only been a couple of weeks since the start of our journey with SVP and I already feel that we’ve benefited from the experience. It started by meeting other like-minded entrepreneurs, volunteers and coaches at the kickoff picnic event. It should not have surprised me that we knew several of the people who were accepted into the program. We have a great community of social entrepreneurs in the Seattle area and I believe that we should be proud of it. SVP and a handful of local organizations are bringing us together, which is invaluable to us. If we really want to effect change, we need to build strong communities.

The interaction with organizers and coaches has been very encouraging. It was very clear, very quickly, that the coaches are interested in helping us succeed and do support our mission. The focus of an organization is a lot sharper when it is able to articulate a clear vision. Luckily, we have a strong mission for our organization, and the coaches resonate with it, but now it is our job to communicate our vision and values concisely and clearly to a larger audience. Our coaches expressed that they want to see us succeed and they are helping by asking good and difficult questions in an effort to help us clarify the vision and sustainability of our company. I also appreciated that the area of expertise the coaches bring is the one we need the most support with. It has been a great experience so far.”

2015 Innovator Picnic 2

A good showing of coaches and SVP volunteers made every innovator feel welcome. Innovators and coaches connected and some even jumped right into coaching discussions.

Combining the picnic with the innovator orientation has already smoothed over logistics and revealed some important FAQs that each innovator cares about.  Thank you Microsoft Alumni Foundation for hosting and the offer to host the Volunteer Picnic and Innovator Orientation again in the future.

Check out ALL the great pictures on Facebook!