New Year = New Friends

Starting off the new year in Raleigh was one of the best starts of any new year in my life. I would have never known about this opportunity if it weren’t for the Sullivan Foundation. I learned about social entrepreneurship through their spring retreat and they have been fueling my learning experience. This experience is an outcome of The Sullivan Foundation, which I thank them for! Throughout the program, the group has become incredibly close, we all have a new bond from Leadership ExChange. Let me introduce you to my friends:


Nicole is a fashionista from Prague, Czech Republic. She has a popular Youtube channel with her sister called A Cup of Style. She just recently hit 100,000 subscribers so you can say she’s pretty impressive. She’s constantly filming and we have all become pretty accustomed to being on camera (I honestly feel a bit like a celebrity). Nicole is always the first one at breakfast with her beautiful cereal dish she always catches in video (I wish I could make my berries look that good in granola). She is always ready to try something new and doesn’t hesitate on taking the jump first. She’s not only a cool, famous, Youtube celebrity, she is one of the most humble, sweetest, and enthusiastic people I have met and I’m going to miss her dearly at the end of the journey.


Oh, Steven. He’s from Sydney, Australia and he wins the award for being the sassiest Australian I ever have met. But really, Steve is one of the most genuine guys I have ever met and he’s so much fun to kid around with. He’s an undercover cook, a financial genius, and a psychology enthusiast. Steve is always ready to cheer someone up if they feel pressured or exhausted. If you ever want to meet a stand up guy, hit Steve up and you’re sure to have a good time. He knows how to have fun, but can switch to being serious in one second. He and I are at a war to see who can make the better joke (smelly). I’m gonna miss you when you get back to Australia!



Gabriela is a travel enthusiast from Monterrey, Mexico. She loves to talk about her time in Tazmania and swap travel stories with others. She has a lot of passion for her travels and for helping people. Her passion shows and inspires me to get more involved in social causes. Gabriela can make some mean Mexican dishes as well. Hot sauce? It goes on everything! Her talks about her culture are interesting to everyone in the program. Gabriela is a total rockstar and I’m going to miss her when she returns to Mexico.




Well, I’m the only American in the program and I can honestly say I looked at my own culture with a new set of eyes. Apparently, all the food is too sweet, huge servings and sweet tea is not popular with anyone outside of the Southern U.S. I was the guide in whether or not something is normal and the number one go to for food suggestions. I showed them the deliciousness of Bojangles french fries, Cookout’s milkshakes, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. These guys have been so much fun and I could not have asked for any better housemates, classmates, and friends!

Until next time…. Nashledanou, Adios, See ya later mate, Goodbye!  Thanks again, Sullivan Foundation, for making my dream a reality!







My Experience with North Carolina, Nicole Ehrenbergerová

Coming to the US is a huge deal for most Czechs or Europeans. It is far, it is unknown and it is a little scary. I was a little scared myself, asking questions like „Will I make friends?”, „What about my english?”, „What about their english?”. Coming on the plane was a test of my nerve system, but I already know that it is such a great experience to feel like that. Curios about what is ahead, but knowing, it’s going to be something amazing.

After I arrived, all of my fears disappeared. I made friends immediately, my english was fine, and to my surprise I could understand well, too. The adventure began. We met our great hosts Elizabeth & Dan, took tours of the lovely city of Raleigh and started coming to HQ Raleigh, one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been to.


The first week ran by so fast and we started getting used to the rhythm. That is when I started noticing things and habits I am not used to in Europe. „Bless you” is always coming your way, stop sings are awaiting on every corner, and people can actually turn right when the red light is on!


And about the second, third and fourth week? We have learnt so much about starting our ventures, gotten motivation and inspiration from various speakers, companies and places and helped HQ Raleigh start ups through interning for them. My internship was with Pitch & Primer, an aspiring retail shop making shopping fun and enjoyable experience for guys with cool brands to shop and craft beer to drink. We’ve rebuilt the webpage, shot editorial pictures, started a blog and boosted social media. Oh, and not to forget, had a great time doing that!


We only have three days left now, and we don’t feel ready to leave. The experience outgrew my expectations and the people I`ve met will be terribly missed. I hope to welcome everyone in Prague or come back to Raleigh soon.  Nicole Ehrenbergerová




Creativity surpasses consumerism

It has taken about 70 years for the computer to evolve from room-size ‘brain machines’ exclusively for technicians and expert users to what is now a lounge room Do-it-yourself packet for ages 6+.  In the information age it is not simply enough to have access, we need users who are also producers.  We need capacity making education systems to ensure we each are able to meet a 21st century potential.  We see that social innovation is the bridging tool to feed our curiosity and inspire our curiosity.  Recognised in the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list is one such innovator who has recognised the need for this bridge and where it must be targeted.


Alex Klien, 24, from the UK has developed Kano.  A tactile, piece-it-together type product, inspired by what he describes as ‘the creative generation’. The design allows kids to physically construct a computer ‘brain’ that connects to a TV or monitor screen using pictorial storyboard style instructions inspired by the simplicity of LEGO.  The concept behind Kano is not simply the assembly of the product but rather the on-board programing that teaches users coding skills in a format that is the product of 10,000 hours of user-experience analysis from educators, artist, parents and kids.

Increasingly, concern has developed over the amount of time spent in front of screens, to the point where ‘screen time’ has evolved into common usage.  The concerns range from reduction of physical exercise patterns to fears over the impact of computer use on critical thinking and evaluative skills in contemporary youth.  Klien’s approach with Kano engages with kids on a creative and critical level.  It is a masterstroke that aids to build social capacity through creativity.  Recognising that we are surrounded by inexpensive tools, which all make up parts in mainstream market computers, Klien observed that not many of us know how to use them to make our own. This brings on larger observations of how society is much more comfortable to go along with the flow of consumer demand rather than recognise where capacity gaps exist; most of us are limited to swiping, tapping and typing.

The brilliance and innovation showed by Klien and Kano is that while the mainstream of society is taken as the barometer for product design and success, here we see that an oft forgotten client group is placed front and centre; kids, the next generation.  Capacity and thirst for creativity and innovation is handed over to this younger and mentally athletic cohort of our society to build with provided tools, their world.

The benefits of allowing, teaching and fostering creativity at the consumer level befit the true origins of the word innovation; a new method and idea process.  Coding and creativity are required by technology to go hand in hand, but both do not need to remain in the purview of those already held by the market system to create consumer products. This innovation hands individuals the power and capacity to demonstrate ideas that may not have otherwise been realised.

-Kristofer Gilmour

#HUBCrawl16 student


For further reading have a look at these links:

July usually stands for two things across the United States: hot weather and the 4th of July

July 2015 will forever have an extra asterisk next to it in my Big Book of Things I’ve Done.  From exploring the cute, hipster, urban Raleigh to making frequent visits to the North Hills Target, the GLPers and I are trying to see it all.  We’ve seen the dirty, gritty organic Raleigh (shout out to Raleigh City Farm and their hydroponic lettuce, homegrown veggies, and stubborn weeds) and the change-making, social impact area that never ceases to amaze us with nap rooms, ping pong tables, and patios (Citr!x, Red Hat, and HQ Raleigh thanks for sharing your secrets!). 

We’ve been introduced to countless amazing entrepreneurs like Christopher Gergen, who blows you away with everything he has accomplished from the people he knows, to the places he’s been, to the things he’s done. Jason Widen, an entrepreneur, father, and someone if you’re lucky enough you can be like one day. And Liz Tracy - the most connected, respected, butt-kicking director of HQ who knows-it-all and will always help you find your way. 

But what I’m going to remember most is not the number of places we visited or who had the coolest start-up story, but the memories and moments that I had with the people here.  So, Tomas, to steal the layout of your previous blog, I’m going to break it down by person.


You never cease to make each and everyone of us smile.  Whether we are referring to you as “our little alien” or laughing with you as you hit in me in the head (usually with an umbrella) you are always smiling.  My favorite moment of you was the day you went for the bar.  Despite your reservations, you decided to partner up with Chris and take on the duo challenge at the high ropes course.  You embraced your fear and went higher and further outside of your comfort zone, proof that when you reach for what you want you will always find a way to get it.



You’re the mexicano to my güerita. I will never forget the day I convinced you to go to yoga with me.  As we were awkwardly forced to do some sort of stretch that neither of us could do, I just remember thinking how lucky I am to have a friend like you who will literally suffer pain just to hang out with me.



You’re fearless and always helping us find our way.  You tackled the enormous flying instinct, saving me, and the whole Thinkhouse, from extinction. Without you, this blog post would not have been possible!  Every time there was music, I knew I could count on you to dance with me! I could not have asked for a better partner in the ice cream eating contest (we’ll win next time for sure!). Continue to bring the fun wherever you go next in this big world!



Your New York personality and “charm” kept us all laughing.  My favorite moment with you was when Serge, Rhiannon, you, and I went for a run.  I’ll never forget you almost being able to catch up to me, but ending up lost in the middle of downtown Raleigh.  I know I can be a pain, so thanks for putting up with me.  I can’t wait to see what you and Kenny accomplish and all the musicians you will influence together.



My favorite moment together with you was our walk to and from the YMCA.  You are always so positive and happy, qualities that are definitely infectious.  I loved getting to know you just a little bit more and to hear all about your aspirations.  I can’t wait to look back on the day when I can brag to everyone about how I know an Ambassador of the United Nations!



With your dry sarcasm and your affinity for food, it’s no wonder we got along so well.  I loved hearing about your family (it makes sense that we are both eldest children) and Skye.  We all loved you showing off the cute little shoes that you bought her and we hope to one day meet her in person!



Kennnnnyyyyy. You’re just a guy, but you have a way of touching all of our hearts.  My favorite moment with you was one of our first nights here when we all went out to Oak City Meatball.  You and I sat next to each other and it was the first time I had really talked to you and learned how cool of a person you are.  Thanks for putting up with me and I can’t wait to see the impact you are going to make on young musicians.



You’re my go-to guy for advice. You are always keeping the Thinkhouse semi-livable and me sane.  My favorite moments with you are the times we walk together to and from downtown Raleigh.  From passions to adventures we always have something to talk about that leaves me thinking about it for hours. Keep inspiring your fellow Czechs to keep thinking!



Some of my most memorable moments in Raleigh have happened with you.  From struggling to line dance to being your model for Freckle, I never have a dull moment!  One of my favorite moments with you was the day we did the high ropes course.  You and I were exhausted from crushing all of the obstacles so we sat down and just watched the rest of the group persevere through the course.  I’ll never forget sitting there and thinking how lucky I am to have met someone as cool, friendly, and amazing as you.  Keep being yourself and helping others to find themselves as well!



Hands-down, you are the best intern ever.  My absolute favorite moment with you was when we celebrated Cow Appreciation Day 2015 the right way, a.k.a. we covered ourselves in spots and literally drew on our faces.  I always love being around you (even when we force ourselves to go on a run) because I always have fun.  Thanks for making Raleigh one of my new favorite places to live!



Whether you are running around introducing us to new, amazing people or inspiring us to follow our passions, you have always believed in every single one of us.  Every time I talk to you, I walk away feeling that I am on the right path.  Thanks for helping each and every one of us to follow our paths to greatness.  Keep inspiring and believing because one day (hopefully soon) we’ll have to thank you for it!


In conclusion, I could not have asked for a cooler, kinder, or more awesome crew to spend the past month of my life with.  I truly look forward to the day where I can tell the stories of how I knew each of these great individuals when they were first just starting out.  Thank you all for a life-changing experience and I’m already looking forward to our reunion!


Jamie Wadovick is a Sullivan Foundation Service & Social Entreprenuership Fellow from Rollins College.

168 hours are gone

One week is over.

Though some of us measure the distance in miles, while others in kilometers -- or for some us the temeprature outside is 81°F, and others it is 27°C -- the time is probably the only quantity that we measure all the same.

And as we know, time is super fast. Last week, we were complete strangers. But no more. Only a week has passed and I feel as if we are more than a random bunch of people.


It turned out to be the very best group of people I could possibly ask for when heading to America.


Let’s see who these amazing people are.

Yessica: The Mexican girl with a firm handshake who dreams about bringing light in the places full of darkness through emotions we all feel. The girl with passion for jewelery and surprises. The person you can easily share your story with, a passionate and supportive listener, and the lover of Italy.

Serg: The Mexican guy who is always fun to hang around. Always in a good mood, ready to share his deepest stories, passionate AISEC member. The boy who likes to joke around and the one who is really passionate when speaking. The guy who wants to innovate consulting.

Rhiannon: Originally Malaysian with British, Welsh and French roots, living in Australia where she loves to explore new cultures. Independent, strong and nice. Always smilling with the intention to reinvent the Australian market which is close to her heart.

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Allison: A phenomenal synchronized swimming teacher who you can ask for anything and she will help you. A pure New Yorker with roots in Hong Kong. A curious person with passion for dancing and culture - and also a super fast book reader. The one who wants to dig in and innovate cultural perspective in her community.

Chris: The New Yorker with his roots in Ecuador. A strong and tall guy who can easily switch between English and Spanish. Gym and music addict, New York Yankees fan, and the boy good with numbers. The guy who wants to connect the wisdom with ideas.

Kenny: The silent force from Bronx. He doesn’t speak a lot, but when he does - it has an impact. The boy who can hear the beats, a phenomenal dancer, and the best performer. The boy whose dedication to help youngesters in his community is admirable.

Jamie: The lacrosse lover from Rhode Island who brings her stick anywhere she goes. The used-to-be soccer player. Sport addict and gluten-free pancake lover. The person who you can ask anything, and she just knows the answer. The one who wants to innovate and heal the world we all live in.

Josh: The tallest Australian I have ever seen which is not that hard to be because I haven’t seen many Australians before this week. A passionate coffee drinker who always has something to say, an innovative mind, proud father of one, and a badass over statistics and econometrics.

Sarah: The anime lover from Beijing, living in Australia. An amazing sketcher who is determined to wrestle with poverty and disease. The girl who challenges herself and develops herself as much as she can. Passionate about children and health issues. Our little eccentric.

Katie: The girl from Charlotte, NC who is the person we all ask when in trouble or wondering. The morning person who needs her cup of coffee and a nice breakfast in order to have a good morning. The yoga master-to-be, professional enthusiastic cheer initiator, and the kind hearted girl who you really want to meet one day.

Ryan: Our partner in crime who make this happens every day. A facilitator and ideas promoter. A passionate person always wondering, asking a lot of helpful questions, and the one in charge. Vegetarian, traveller, and speed-driving enthusiast. Urban farming ambassador.

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And then we have me and here is a description Allison wrote about me:

Tomas: Hailing from Prague, Tomas brings a well-balanced maturity to the group dynamic. He frequently shares stories about Prague and is constantly contributing to discussions. His grandiose vision to be a change agent for Prague is both admirable and inspiring.

Through our first week we bonded to a perfect pack where we feel safe and secure to share our world-changing ideas that we have long pursued. Ideas that we are continually developing so they form a shape and direction - with the help and influence of all of our mentors and inspiring people we have met.

Cannot wait for what the next three weeks will bring, guys. We rock!



Tomas is a passionate traveller and enthusiastic blogger of currently based in Prague, Czech Republic.


Steve Case visits e51

Steve Case, co-founder and former CEO of American Online, went on a cross-country road trip, highlighting entrepreneurship for #RiseofRest.

He stopped at HQ Raleigh, home-base of the e51 community, and took note of how many female entrepreneurs are in the Triangle area.

Heather McDougall, co-founder of e51, takes the opportunity to meet with Case to discuss the power of women in entrepreneurship. 

Heather McDougall, co-founder of e51, takes the opportunity to meet with Case to discuss the power of women in entrepreneurship. 

Someone asked what action steps should be taken to increase diversity in the startup world. Case responded that groups like ours, that focus on female entrepreneurs, are making great strides.

An Intern's View of Leadership exCHANGE Raleigh

It was the dreaded Monday... May 11th. No, that wasn't my first day of my internship with Leadership exCHANGE. It was the day after the graduation of the senior class of 2015 from Sewanee: The University of the South. I was packing up my car and there was an eerie sadness in the air atop our beloved mountain. Now, as a rising senior and member of the class of 2016, I still have one more year to learn and live in Sewanee, TN. One more year to pretend the "real world" doesn’t exist. I think to myself "If I never had to graduate and leave this place, I think I would be okay with that."

A view off of the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee.

A view off of the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Fast-forward a month. I am packing up my car to head to Raleigh, NC, where I will be interning for Leadership exCHANGE - a program for budding entrepreneurs to empower the next generation of change makers.  My nerves start getting to me and (some ridiculous) questions start flooding my mind.

So how exactly does one work in an office all day? 

WHERE will I eat without a dining hall?

Will I have any friends? (Oh yeah, Katie, because there are no college-aged people in the triangle area).

Fast-forward a week. I have just finished my first week of interning for Leadership exCHANGE, which is housed at HQ Raleigh - a collaborative workspace for social entrepreneurs. Now, I haven’t worked in many offices before, but I think I can confidently say that HQ Raleigh is one of the best workspaces.

The energy is palpable as inspiring, driven, and extremely intelligent people buzz around working on their different projects every day. 

Being surrounded by these successful people who crave to make the world a better place through their ideas and creations, prompts me to wonder: 

What are my ideas?

Where will my career path take me after college?

How can I be a change agent in this world?

Everyone upholds HQ Raleigh's 5 core values and is excited to network, mentor, or chat with you over a coffee or a beer from the café.

We select our Leadership exCHANGE students based on how well we believe they will live (and work) with these values at the forefront of their minds.

Did I mention that all of the coffee, tea, and beer in the café are free and always flowing?

Natural light floods HQ and through the windows, you can see the skyline of downtown Raleigh, NC - one of the most up and coming places in the country for entrepreneurs.

There are many open work spaces, so that you can move around and find a spot that encourages you to work your best and reach your highest potential everyday.

You can even make friends at HQ who share your values and similar interests!

And then you can all hang out after the work day is over! Also, did y'all know that real people go out on Thursdays in the real world too?!

Throughout the entire month of July, Leadership exCHANGE, HQ Raleigh, and ThinkHouse will host 10-15 students (from around the US and the world). In those 4 weeks, the students will take courses on social entrepreneurship, receive mentoring from some of the best entrepreneurs in town, and work here at HQ.

I am so excited for them to arrive and experience all of the opportunities Raleigh has to offer.

So, in conclusion, I guess the real world isn't so bad after all.


Stay tuned with our blog and check back to hear the perspectives of our students this summer!


We are still accepting last minute applications if you believe you could add value and make the most out of this program. Learn more and apply here.






                 HUMAN POPULATION           RECIPIENTS OF ANGEL FUNDS               

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Women may make up 51% of the human population, but we are still the minority in the business world. A mere 21 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Being a woman in any business environment can be challenging, especially in the realm of entrepreneurship.


 someone who accelerates something desirable to happen, which otherwise might not have occurred at all.


We want to help YOU become a catalyzer to your own career.  


The 51 kăt′ l- īz′ er will help you to develop the skills, framework and female peer group in order to gain the knowledge and spirit to succeed in your venture.

This two-week bootcamp will take place in at HQ Raleigh in Raleigh, NC -- one of the best places in the country for female entrepreneurs.

Female students aged 18-30 will get startup training, learn the ins and outs of start-ups around the triangle area,  and receive mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs.

After just two weeks, you will be a more connected, more confident, and more successful female entrepreneur.

Let's strengthen the female entrepreneurial ecosystem together. Apply today.   

Know someone who may be a good candidate?  Nominate her now.


Be inspired for 730.484 consecutive hours

Learn Here

Live Here

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Act Now

Although we strongly recommend applying three months or more before your start date, we understand that it’s not always possible to set things up well in advance and strive to be as flexible as possible in arranging programs with less notice.

Provided you are flexible and prepared to move quickly, we will work with you.  

Raleigh, North Carolina is calling you.

"Don't Live Your Life, Lead It"

By Elizabeth Sweezey Morrell

October 2014

It dawned on me several years ago, but it took me a long time to act on it: when you achieve the self-awareness that you have the capacity to do something “greater,” something positive for the world or your community, and you actively do not pursue it, you’re cheating yourself out of the opportunity to make the world a better place, as well as depriving the world out of your capabilities, talents, and gifts.


For some, achieving this self-awareness and courageously acting on it comes naturally. As I mentioned, it took me years, but after having spent over six years working at an Internet strategy consulting start-up firm in Washington DC, I gave up my salary and benefits, overseas travel, and private office (window with a view and exposed brick) to do this “greater” thing at the end of 2013.


What that meant, at the time, I didn’t know exactly. One thing I did know was that I wanted to make positive changes in the world and, at the risk of using a cliché, “help people” in ways I couldn’t at the consulting firm. Additionally, I wanted to leverage my self-sufficient work ethic. I was ready to explore different types of businesses, management styles, and professional activities, as well as dive deeper into my passions and interests. To the former end, I was successful: I earned the business of a variety of clients on all types of projects, ranging from business development, sales, intensive research, event planning, fundraising, digital marketing, and creative writing. The latter was still not entirely satisfied.


About that time, I discovered the Sullivan Foundation through my alma mater Sewanee, through which I found the Global Leadership Program and Leadership Exchange, and the “New Venture Planning” course on social entrepreneurism based out of HQ Raleigh in Raleigh, North Carolina. I applied, was accepted, and made my way to Raleigh at the end of June to start a new chapter with hopes of learning new skills to find the fulfillment I was craving.


Needless to say (I am writing this blog post on the program after all), GLP was one of the best things I did for my career. Not only did I learn about starting a business and learning about being an entrepreneur, I was also hired by my internship company as a consultant after the program ended. This allowed me to continue to work out of HQ, build relationships, take on additional responsibilities, and build upon my new skills.


HQ Raleigh is a thriving co-working space where innovators and entrepreneurs work (and play) together in a renovated warehouse in the up-and-coming Warehouse District in Downtown Raleigh. Being around like-minded people was not only inspiring but also motivating. So motivating in fact that I took my GLP instructors’ advice to take chances, to “look up” for opportunities, and to use my experiences to create innovative solutions:


My family is from Central Kentucky and works in the Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding industry and runs a farm outside Lexington. After GLP, I spent a week working for my family’s business, and discovered the horse industry still uses the same clunky, un-user-friendly, unimproved technology as seven-plus years ago. I decided I was in a prime position to create a better solution for people selling horses that are bought and sold for millions of dollars.


One of my most important takeaways from GLP is that in order to create entrepreneurial solutions that work may require having felt the pain or experienced the inefficiency for yourself and, therefore, have the authority to speak authentically on the topic. Having struggled with the lack of usable technology myself, in addition to knowing how technology can make processes, reporting and analysis easier, more efficient and more effective. Furthermore, I have the connections in the industry due to having grown up in the business. I am the right person to build something that will have a very positive effect, and “help people.”


So where am I now? Literally, I’m in New York City, sitting at a table at my coworking space, New Work City, similar to HQ Raleigh, where I am surrounded by the same entrepreneurial-minded folks as those at HQ. Of course, being in NYC is not ideal as I build a business solution for people in Central Kentucky. However, I will be traveling back and forth to Lexington for meetings and customer interviews every other month or so. I’ve hired a developer (based in HQ Raleigh actually) who I built a good relationship with when I was working there. While he works on the demo for me to present to potential customers, I’m developing customer personas, conducting customer interviews, analyzing my market, including potential customers and competitors, and building out my network.


I recently read an article from the Harvard Business Review blog, and the title was all I really needed to read, “Don’t Live Your Life, Lead It.”  Needless to say, I don’t believe I would be leading my life this way, building my own business, and taking risks like this, if it weren’t for my experience at HQ Raleigh, and what I learned from GLP.