Lisa Curtis of Kuli Kuli

Kuli Kuli would not exist [without the Peace Corps]~ Lisa

Listen to the story of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who leveraged her experience in Niger to bring Moringa (super food) food products to Whole Foods.

Key takeaways:

  • Moringa solves multiple problems- it is highly nutritious, it grows in hot, dry climates (common in the developing world and growing because of climate change)
  • Lisa learned about Moringa from the local health center in the area where she served
  • The importance of creating a market and knowing the community you are trying to serve

Watch other interviews from our Journey to Social Entrepreneurship Summit.


Josh Schukman of Social Change Nation

Podcasts have become one of the fastest growing mediums for storytelling and are a great space for entrepreneurs to play. Josh served as a City Year member back in the pre-AmeriCorps days, before their 100% education focus.  At just 18 years of age, he served as a volunteer coordinator in Cincinnati. He categorizes City Year as social justice work and said it laid the foundation for “everything that I [Josh] have done in my life.”

In this conversation, Josh talks about unrealistic expectations many millennials have around becoming a social entrepreneur and the importance of taking service into the traditional workforce.

Social change in business is becoming business as usual, Josh is telling this story at Social Change Nation. 

Neal Gottlieb of Three Twins Ice Cream

Ice cream, ice cream, I scream for ice cream, especially organic, “green” ice cream. Neal Gottlieb, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Morocco, says “Peace Corps is definitely an exercise in patience” this patience has been critical to founding Three Twins Ice Cream, in fact, he is still waiting for the company to be at a point where it can turn a profit (not uncommon in the food industry).

Learn how Three Twins Ice Cream is expanding the organic market while preserving the planet.

Note: this interview starts abruptly because your’s truly forgot to press record at the start :-(

Meet the Guide: Kaitlyn Bayley

Name: Kaitlyn Bayley

Profession: Assistant Director of StrongPoints©, Meredith College, Raleigh, NC

University: College of William & Mary (B.A. in American Studies, 2009), Northeastern University (M.S. in College Student Development & Counseling, 2013)

Service Type: Americorps*VISTA, Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Fredericksburg, VA (November 2009 – November 2010)


I began my interest in service with a service-learning semester on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota as an undergraduate at William & Mary. After graduation, I served as an Americorps*VISTA with Rappahannock Goodwill Industries in Fredericksburg, VA, helping to create a community volunteer program there. That year of service helped me to define what I wanted my life to look like and what I wanted my work to focus on.

My career in higher education has been focused on helping students find personal and professional success, but it’s always been grounded in the belief that higher education is the pathway to economic mobility. Access and success for first-generation and low-income students has always been a priority for me, and I hope to eventually work on higher education policy to ensure that access to higher education is ensured for those who ready, willing, and able.

Service is a powerful experience for the students I work with, and is often the best means by which to discover what problem you want to solve, as well as where and how you can best apply your strengths to do so. If your heart is in it, a year of service can help point you in the right direction, give you some valuable experience and skills along the way, and change your corner of the world.

Leading the Hard Conversations

NGS founder, Anna Lenhart, interviewed Breannah Alexander about women reVamped and doing a year of service.

Breannah Alexander is the Founder and Managing Director of women reVamped. She studied Criminal Justice and Public Administration at Grand Valley State University. She currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Women reVamped is a nonprofit that advocates for female socioeconomic mobility through education and mentorship. Breannah works to provide resources for women in the juvenile justice system as well as provide empowerment for young women.


(Re)Defining Feminism is an annual campaign Breannah works on with women reVamped. It is a platform for women to tell and share their stories, whether it be about successes, struggles or whatever the truth is. This campaign helped (Re)Defining Feminism understand that storytelling can be a transformative experience for not only the storyteller but also for the people on the receiving end, said Breannah.


Before Breannah found women reVamped, she served a year with Americorps. Her year of service helped her to rediscover her purpose and reflect on what kind of work she wanted to do with nonprofits. She said that “a member should never leave service the way they came. Otherwise, they did not get out of it what they should’ve.”


Watch the interview to learn more about Breannah and her work of service.

Written by Calli Pererson

Learnings from the World of EdTech

NGS founder, Anna Lenhart, interviewed Shonak Patel 

Shonak Patel is the co-founder of Gather Education, a virtual classroom platform that makes teaching and learning on-line simple, natural and more accessible to all. Currently, he is working as the Vice President of Sales & Operation at Testive, an online personalized SAT/ACT prep program.

In 2009, Shonak served in AmeriCorps as the Finance and Development Fellow with the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative in New Orleans, LA.

“I was the one who benefitted most from the experience,” Shonak said. “You don’t realize ’till you go and do it.”

His year of service helped him to notice a problem he wanted to fix: access to education. He found that access was the underlying problem in a lot of neighborhoods. People are trapped and not able to step outside and gain the experience they need.

While serving with AmeriCorps, Shonak learned that the right way to sell, recruit and communicate with people is to listen and ask questions. Common questions he asks are, “If you could wave a magic wand and you could have one thing, what would it be?” and “What was your experience using ‘X’? What was missing? What do you wish it had?”

He said a lot of it has to do with showing people and not telling.

Shonak has worked on a few ventures, but currently he is working with Testive.

“What I love about Testive is we’re revolutionizing, I believe, the way online education is delivered,” he said.

At Testive, they don’t focus on educational content or how to access the content but more on how to get the student motivated for online education. They create a lot of tools for teachers to help with motivation and compliance in an online environment.

Shonak’s advice to those looking at working in EdTech is to recognize that there are two roles: selling or building. He said you need to identify with one of those.

“You just have to listen and ask questions and have the energy to do that,” he said.

Watch the interview for more information on Shonak and the world of EdTech.

 Written By Callie Peterson 

Pathway to Not-For-Profit Consulting

Have you ever considered what it would be like to work for yourself, from home, on a rotating array of projects that interest you? Well Porsche Holland and I discuss the challenges and awards that come with this career path and how AmeriCorps can be used to gain marketable skills necessary to go free-lance.

This was one of our most inspiring and honest conversations during the Journey to Entrepreneurship Sumit. Check out the other session here.

Urban Farming Meets Independent Publishing

You have probably heard the advise: “Pick one thing and gain mastery in it.” That is not how NCCC works and it is not how entrepreneur Nic Esposito works either. He has followed multiple passions writing, farming (land management) and family- we ask him how he does it all.

Take aways:

  • We just passed the 10th anniversary of Katrina, AmeriCorps members played a crucial roll in rebuilding New Orleans and Nic was one of those members!
  • How to Live, work and run a business with your spouse
  • Starting a business is about meeting an unmet need, addressing unmet needs is what AmeriCorps members do best
  • Books in a vending machine?
  • How do we re-connect to the process, the process of growing food or creating a book?

Check out his TEDx talk here.

Watch other interviews from our Journey to Social Entrepreneurship Summit.

Bread and Business Acumen

When Markey Culver signed up for the Peace Corps, she requested to go anywhere besides Rwanda…she was placed in Rwanda and 2 years later the reason became clear. She “accidentally” founded The Women’s Bakery.

She spent her first year as a PCV eating 1 meal a day in solidarity with the villagers where she served. Eventually, hunger inspired her to get creative with local ingredients.

Take aways:

  • Markey built a bakery that was later bulldozed- a great lesson in capacity building
  • How do you create hyper-local economies that are reliable?
  • What can Hamburger University teach us about development?

NOTE: apologies for the feedback in the background


Watch other interviews from our Journey to Social Entrepreneurship Summit.

The Reluctant Therapist

Elizabeth Barrett is a licensed marriage and family therapist who is concerned with our current approach to mental health in this country. She is also a huge advocate for the national service movement. In fact, if you are one of her students at Cal Poly and you ask for a letter of recommendation, she will most likely tell you  to come back after doing a year of service. Could national service be a solution to the overwhelming pressure, anxiety and disconnection many young people face? Listen into our conversation and check out Elizabeth’s article in the Huffington Post.