By Mari Algevis

You don’t need to start BIG. Daily small initiatives can create COLLECTIVE IMPACT.

Collective Impact is achieved through conscious collaboration with others on a common cause.

The journey begins

My story starts in Venezuela, I moved to the U.S. at the age of nineteen. I had little knowledge of what it meant to live in another country and for a looooong time I figured it out by just placing one foot in front of another. With time I had a place live, a job and was get re-enrolled in college

Learning from others and thriving

I was very fortunate to meet angels along the way who inspired, supported, mentored and advocated on my behalf on one way or another. I worked full time and went to school at the University of Miami, and in December of 2008 I graduated in Finance. About a year after that I found a job at an Investment Management Firm.

The first two to three years in finance were great, I met new people and learned a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities. I was excited and didn’t think about anything else other than reorganizing my life and finances to get out of student debt.

Need of purpose

As my responsibilities grew, so did my time commitment with the Company and, although I still loved my job a strange feeling started to sink in. My life was great on paper, and I was grateful for that, but there were some areas that started to feel empty.

Be mindful to discover what resonates with you

Around September of 2015, I came across an article in the New York Times that talked about the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious set of goals – broken down into targets – that the United Nations is seeking to reach by 2030. I remember sitting at my desk and scrolling down and learning more and more about what that meant, how many there were and how the United Nations was planning to reach them.

The more I read, the more I got reeled in. The romantic in me felt struck in a different way and right then and there, my interest in social enterprises was born.

Take Action on your goals, this is the only way to fulfill your purpose

In the following weeks I dove in to find social impact initiatives in Miami – more specifically to research ways in which I could get involved with the United Nations and contribute toward the Sustainable Goals. I found a contact to the United Nations Association chapter in Miami, reached out to the chapter’s President, and soon after I was part of the board.

My tenure in the United Nations Association chapter lasted one year (for now), and it granted me a new perspective of what it meant to be involved in Social impact causes while inspiring me to find ways to Think Globally, while Act Locally.

My impact

With this in mind, I implemented small changes that I still practice:

  • Increased the use of reusable grocery bags when shopping
  • Became a One-Car household
  • Reduced water usage before showers and while brushing our teeth or washing dishes

As humans, we sometimes think of the BIG step or BIG initiatives as ways to get started, and underestimate the BIG impact that cumulative individual changes have in the long run. And, while it is true that the Sustainable Goals will need the commitment of governments and corporations, we too play an important role in achieving them through our life choices and as consumers.

Impact is a marathon; it starts with us, it starts with me, it starts with you.