Alumni Spotlight: Olivia Rosen

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This blog post was written by Sarah Rudd, Sage Corps' summer marketing intern.

When we say that Sage Corps provides access to an elite global network, we mean it.

About a year and a half ago, Olivia Rosen, a 2017 graduate of Dartmouth College, participated in Sage Corps’ Winter 2016 program and set out on a journey to Buenos Aires, where she worked with Wayra Argentina, a tech accelerator, as a consultant. This past April, she was notified by Sage Corps CEO Matt Meltzer of an opportunity to participate in a road trip campaign for WeatherHYDE, a product line connected with billionBricks. The campaign aimed to draw attention to their all-weather tents, which have been designed to help reduce global homelessness, by having participants camp across the United States in a WeatherHYDE tent and share their experiences on social media.

This opportunity immediately sparked Olivia’s interest, and she filled out an application with two of her friends. billionBricks had previously hosted Sage Corps fellows in Singapore, thus Matt was able to connect Olivia with its Founder and CEO, Prasoon Kumar, to discuss the road trip.

Olivia and her two friends, Sarah and Morgan, were ultimately selected to participate, and so their journey began.

When Olivia and I first spoke, she mentioned how inspired she was with billionBricks’ work and vision and how WeatherHYDE was designed to save thousands of lives. Little did she realise that she and her friends were an inspiration to us who took this challenge and felt a sense of commitment towards one of the most difficult social-economic problem to solve - homelessness. When I was their age, I could have never taken this step.
— Prasoon Kumar, Founder and CEO of billionBricks
From left to right: Sarah Guinee, Olivia Rosen, Morgan Finegan

From left to right: Sarah Guinee, Olivia Rosen, Morgan Finegan

We decided to reach out to Olivia to learn more about her once-in-a-lifetime trip. Here’s what she had to say:

Give us a rundown of your road trip. What was your day-to-day like? Who did you go with? Where did you go?

Our trip was 10 days long and spanned across 15 states - from Hanover, New Hampshire to Seattle, Washington! The three of us are close friends and sorority sisters who graduated this June from Dartmouth College. Some of the main highlights of the trip included Niagara Falls, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, downtown Chicago, Eaux Claire music festival in Wisconsin, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park.

Why did you decide to do this road trip? Why did you want to work with billionBricks? How did you become involved with the organization?

We initially decided to do this trip because the three of us are all originally from the west coast and were eager to visit some of the incredible landmarks in the USA that we had never been to. We had the trip almost completely planned out when we saw Matt's post in the SageCorps Facebook group about billionBricks and the WeatherHYDE Wayfarer campaign. It was a perfect fit with our trip and we were all excited to find a way to give back and spread the word about a product with such an impactful mission. Shortly thereafter, we sent in our application to billionBRICKS and were excited to be selected as Summer 2017 WeatherHYDE wayfarers!

Can you speak more to the mission of billionBRICKS and why it matters to you?

The goal of the WeatherHYDE tents are to create spacious, durable, and sustainable solutions for homeless families. The tents are engineered to solve specific problems faced by the homeless - they are reversible to reflect or retain heat, spacious to hold a whole family, and designed to ensure privacy, sturdiness, and accessibility. The tents are also sold for recreational use, enabling retail customers to help homeless families with their purchases. This mission was really interesting to us because it simultaneously solves so many issues faced by the homeless while also employing a creative business model that attracts non-homeless customers as well. We feel that this product has the potential to make a pivotal difference in the lives of homeless people around the world and we were excited to spread the word through the Wayfarer campaign.

Sarah and Morgan with a WeatherHYDE tent

Sarah and Morgan with a WeatherHYDE tent

What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of this experience?

The most challenging part of this experience was figuring out the timing of everything- we had so many things we wanted to see and do along the way but also had to fit in many hours of driving (usually around 7-10 hours per day)!

The most rewarding part of this experience was seeing how many people were interested in the WeatherHYDE tents and the positive reactions to our social media outreach.

How did your participation as a Sage Corps fellow impact your decision to complete this road trip? How did your experience at Sage Corps impact your perspective on social justice, social change, and international humanitarian efforts?

Participating in Sage Corps furthered my interest in entrepreneurship and informed many of the academic and career choices I have made since completing the program. I am really interested in combining this interest with social impact and am excited that Sage Corps continues to provide additional ways for me to become involved with startups that have such incredible missions.

In your eyes, what was the most rewarding or valuable aspect of your Sage Corps fellowship?

My Sage Corps fellowship helped to give me the confidence to look for opportunities outside my comfort zone and feel more inclined to step up and put myself in innovative and challenging situations. It also reinforced my interest in entrepreneurship and gave me confidence to pursue career goals that are different from more common career paths.  

Were there any specific aspects of your time at Dartmouth that inspired or impacted your decision to participate in this road trip?

I took a Social Entrepreneurship course at Dartmouth last winter that inspired my interest in the ways that businesses can be created in order to sustainably address social issues.

What advice would you give to current and future Sage Corps fellows?

My advice would be to try to be fully present in everything you do - while at work, meeting people, and seeing the city— and not be distracted by what's happening back at home or elsewhere. There are so many unique experiences that the Sage Corps program brings and many of the most memorable and constructive moments stem from unexpected challenges and impromptu decisions.

Olivia in a WeatherHYDE tent

Olivia in a WeatherHYDE tent

What’s next for you?

I am moving to San Francisco this September and will start a job in tech and healthcare consulting.

How can Sage Corps fellows or the general public become involved with billionBricks?

Visit www.billionbricks.org to find out more information and share to help spread the word! Tents are available for recreational purchase as well as to donate.

We are always thrilled to hear stories of Sage Corps alumni seeking success after their time as a fellow. We can’t wait to see what other experiences the future holds for Olivia and the rest of the Sage Corps network!

Photos courtesy of @weatherhypegirlz

Cara Rebernick