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A Year in the Life as an E-Community Coach

By: Shelley Paasch

shelley 2018
So, I was asked by the ‘boss-man’ (Erik Pedersen), during our busiest time of year (Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge) to write a blog---(my 2nd by the way).  My first thought was ‘Sure, let me get right on that, Erik.  When should I squeeze that in?’  When I’m traveling 3.5 hours north to Leavenworth (and also attending their Growing Rural Business class), when my pipes froze (again) at my house in January, sitting in on the inaugural Maker Space Boot Camp (February) or in between the E-Community leadership and financial review board meetings (continual)?  I jest, simply because I have a great relationship with, not only the ‘boss-man’ but with my colleagues affiliated with E-Communities; and I couldn’t be more #fortunate.

Let’s start with, I’ve been involved (some way or another) with NetWork Kansas since 2008 and, we have been well aware of each other, the program and what NetWork Kansas stands for:  Promoting an entrepreneurial environment across the state of Kansas.  #SIGN.ME.UP!

When NetWork Kansas hired me on a contract basis in the first quarter of 2016, I was asked to be an E-Community coach for the communities in the eastern region of Kansas.  My job was to drive behavior through an organic yet holistic approach of using their loan fund and strategically planning for programs and pilots.  Needless to say, I was in my element.  To make it even more fun, I became reacquainted with many friends from my past work-life (Downtown Coffeyville Main Street Director), and met dozens of new colleagues.  It took me a while to come out of my shell and talk with the new friends…ah never mind, I couldn’t even type it with straight face.  J #feelingwelcomedANDaccepted

I felt at home with this job and the other talented members of the E-Community team and was elated when I became full time in January 2017.  #thattooksometime

In the past year, I even had to ‘give up’ a few E-Communities (tear) to my colleague in the central region and I am proud to say Ciara is doing an outstanding job with them.  It’s challenging (for me) to delegate and entrust someone else to fulfill your efforts; to ensure they would do as good a job as yourself, but I am delighted Ciara is as connected with them herself and forming new relationships.  #whew #shesgotmyback

I am fascinated by the amount of engagement, passion, experiential projects and “grow your own” mentality in the eastern region and the amount of respect and trust that flows both ways.  From youth entrepreneurship to critical thinking & mindset; aggressive lenders & community round table seminars, regional & collaborative philosophy to introducing new communities into our mix.  I am thankful for the many diverse people, backgrounds and outlooks I get to work with every day.  We don’t always see eye to eye, and that’s okay.  I actually don’t mind the divergence (I actually welcome it at times) and that’s because I learn a lot from my E-Communities and their leadership teams. #theyteachmestuff

I now oversee 32 E-Communities in the eastern half of the state and through this venture I have been enlightened by leadership & financial review boards, point people, state & local representatives, entrepreneurs, employees and many more.  I look forward to learning more of this adaptive partnership and relationship and watch as the entrepreneurial needle progresses and the ecosystem develops.

#ilovemyjob #dreamcometrue #bestorganizationEVER #mycolleaguesROCK #empowercommunities #entrepreneurship #61ECommunities #ecodevodriven #iseearaiseinmyfuture   #kidding_sorta   #inspired   #passionate   #motivation   #kseship