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Living a Life of Purpose – How SVP Transformed Jeff’s Life

Posted by Lauren Beattie
Jeff Tollefson

“SVP changed the trajectory of my life”  Jeff Tollefson says.  Of course he had no idea this would be the case when he joined SVP in 2007.  While he knew the business-building skills developed during his 15 -year career in the venture capital field could be put to good use in helping promising nonprofits, he never dreamed it would become his life’s work.

When Jeff came to SVP, he was experiencing some significant changes in his life.  The venture capital firm he’d co-founded had taken a hit when the communication’s bubble burst and he no longer felt satisfied making a living off management fees. He wanted to give more value for what he earned but wasn’t sure how he wanted to do that.

Not long after joining SVP, Jeff was contacted by the SVP MN Executive Director asking him if he would like to meet with a guy named Rafael Alvarez.  Rafael had successfully launched Genesys Works, a nonprofit in Houston that connects disadvantaged youth to IT careers and college.   Jeff and Rafael met to discuss the prospect of getting SVP MN’s support for the creation of Genesys Works Twin Cities, the first Genesys Works outside of Houston.  Upon reviewing the organization’s business model and seeing first-hand the success of the program in Houston, Jeff decided to commit himself to the launch of the program by finding funders, and most importantly finding an Executive Director.

After working to start the program, Jeff realized he wanted to commit to it full time.  He stepped up as the Executive Director and is proud to be there today.  Under Jeff’s leadership the program has gone from serving just 11 youth in 2008, to serving over 200 in 2013.  In the most recent graduating class, 100% of Genesys Works Twin Cities students were accepted to college, many with significant scholarships.

Now focused less on personal success and more on helping others become successful, Jeff is having the time of his life as he now lives a life of purpose – and enjoying every minute of it.