Living by Giving: Finding Fulfillment in a Tech Nonprofit
There is an idea that seems ubiquitous with growing up that we should find what we love to do and then we will truly be happy. This concept is ever present yet it seems like so few actually attain that goal. I am here simply to share my journey to attain that goal and how I found fulfillment working at a mission driven company, Replate.
The idea of working for a mission was not completely new to me. In college, some friends and I created a volunteer organization called Companion Care. We worked with the local underserved community to lower barriers of access to healthcare services that were available in the county. I found this work fulfilling and envisioned myself continuing to serve my community. At the time, the only path I saw to make a career out of service was to become a doctor and I knew that was not the path for me.
Post college I went from job to job never quite finding something that fit my values. I landed an amazing opportunity to be a Project Manager at a Financial Technology company. I was making more money than I ever had before. I thought maybe this was where I could attain my dream of loving what I do.
After a year and a half, it became more and more apparent that this was not what I needed to be happy. I felt like I was a cog in a machine, unable to have my ideas heard and unable to effect the world in the way I wanted to. I started asking myself the hard question, “what do I need to be happy?” It was at this time that I left my cushy FinTech job that was seemingly “the path” I should take.
After quitting my job and exploring what I wanted to do next, I kept in mind that idea: find fulfillment in my work everyday. Years had passed after college and this idea began to feel like an unattainable pipedream that people just tell you as you are growing up to make you feel better about the world.
It was during this time that I started talking more to Maen Mahfoud about the nonprofit he started, Replate. He told me that Replate picked up surplus food from businesses and delivered it to nonprofits that feed people who are experiencing food insecurity. He also told me about his vision of a world where everyone has access to nutritious food and no food goes to waste. It immediately captivated me and I wanted to learn more about his vision and the mission his team was working towards. It was an almost impossible idea to me; that you could work everyday to make the world a better place.... and be paid to do it.
I started to volunteer at Replate, just one day a week to start. It was a small team and we were all working towards a mission that we believed in. It was exciting and I couldn’t get enough. One of my first days volunteering, an unplanned food rescue came in for over 100 catering trays of food. In an instant we had 800 pounds of fresh, catered food that needed a home. In an instant the whole team switched over to calling rescue missions, soup kitchens and shelters to find people to feed with this food. It was after this that I was hooked.
I started to volunteer more and more hours and soon was offered a job as a Product Specialist. I immediately found it inspiring and empowering to get to work full time for a cause I believed in. I was able to see the change the projects I worked on had and see how I could make a difference on the mission that we were all working for.
There is something inspiring and human about rallying together with your co-workers to go after that mission. We see the impact we are making in the stories we hear, in the jobs we create, and the number of meals we rescue for hungry neighbors.
I would invite anyone who does not feel fulfilled in their job and wants to give back to their community as a lifestyle, to look into nonprofit and mission driven organizations. Whether it is as a new career direction or simply to volunteer your time and skills towards a cause you believe in. You have the ability to feel fulfilled, you just need to choose to take it!
If you like what Replate is working on and are interested in donating, volunteering, or working with us, please reach out on replate.org.