Summer is almost gone and with Fall semester just around the corner a question remains: what have I done this summer? For the most part I had no really exciting events to report, but I did have some meaningful experiences that I believe are worth even more.
This summer I completed my internship requirement for graduation. The selection process was not particularly easy; given the number of internship opportunities available to the school, choosing "the" one was kind of hard. I had to chose between staying at my current position and use it as my internship, get a new position with a corporate finance company or work with a non-profit organization. I decided to volunteer with the 9th West Farmers Market, formally known as People's Market.
Currently, the farmers market is struggling to keep their operations alive and they could not afford the expenses to contract an outside accountant and bookkeeper. I decided to continue with my current position, while working after hours with the farmers market. I am determined to do everything within my reach to help this wonderful group of people attain their goals. The 9th West Farmers Market was found more than 10 years ago, making it one of the first farmers markets available in the area. Ever since their foundation it has experienced some ups and downs, like most businesses they had been force to adapt to changing times and methods of operations. Is the lack or delay of proper adapting changes that created the crisis that the market is facing today.
So what have I done for them and why? From the get go I notice that all their finances had not been carefully followed, so a new accounting information systems was implemented to create some order among their in and out cash flows. This was a crucial step for the market since it opened the discussion on the future of the market as a non-profit in Utah based on the limited resources available to them at the moment. Additionally, I realized that the board of directors was constituted by passionate vendors who, unfortunately lack expertise on management and marketing. However, the lack of expertise is not the biggest of the issues among the board members but the inconstancy on the share vision and mission for the market. I wrote my proposal on what I believe should be the market's mission statement and values, in hopes to unify the board's efforts.
During this whole process I learned many valuable lessons that, I believe I wouldn't been able to get any where else. For example, I have never work for an organization where increasing revenue while decreasing expenses were not priority number one. My work the farmers market proved to be of great significance because success is not being measured in a dollar amount but in the quality of contribution that we can offer to our community. Another example was the opportunity to work with an organization facing dissolution; it has been an amazing learning experience since all the work that we do can literally be the difference between keep running the market or seeing it disappear. All in all it has been a great experience, and although the fate of the market still unclear, I am still determined to do as much as I can to see it successfully contribute to our community.
As result of my summer internship and the previous Delta Mu Delta Board Match event I decided to take a position in the board as the Treasurer. I hope that I can benefit the 9th West Farmers Market in any way possible. Whether the market continues to offer our community a place where local farmers and artisans can freely and securely sell their goods or the board decide it is not viable to keep the market running for future years. Even if the market's fate determines that closure is needed, I don't regret my decision to help an organization that has brought service to the Greater Salt Lake Area for so many years.
Thank for checking in, I hope you had a great summer and you are ready to start Fall semester. Make it the best you can!